Blessing Of The Fleet Honors Chatham's Fishing Community

By: Kat Szmit

Topics: Commercial fishing and shellfishing , Chatham , Environment

Jed Zimmerman takes a chill in the icy waters of a unique boat while he floats in a child-sized safety suit and gets a handshake from Mark Liska.

CHATHAM Though commercial fishing has changed a great deal since the days of Chatham's forefathers, it's still a profession fraught with unpredictability. Safety precautions help ensure the well-being of a boat and all on board, and every blessing helps, which is why a supportive crowd eagerly ventured to the fish pier Saturday for the annual Women of Fishing Families' Blessing of the Fleet.

The Women were easy to spot beneath the Memorial Day Weekend sunshine. Most were clad in bright pink boots and T-shirts bearing the WOFF logo as they stood quietly behind Rev. Brian W. McGurk of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church while he offered prayers for the men and women of the sea and their sturdy vessels.

Further well wishes were lifted through song into the wind as the Women took greenery in hand, and with McGurk shook consecrated water onto each of the boats along the dock, including that of the US Coast Guard. A wreath woven with shells and seaweed was placed in the waters of the harbor.

The wishes of children were read aloud, their sentiments on the minds of all present: “Good luck. I hope you catch some fish.” “Don't crash into sharks.” “Watch out for stormy weather.” “Look for the lighthouse.” “Come back soon.”