Details of inlet celebration boat parade, fleet blessing announced



A boat parade and blessing of the fleet, a tradition dating back centuries in the Mediterranean, will be the highlight of the celebration on Saturday, May 8, observing the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Fort Pierce Inlet.

A centennial celebration committee headed by Charles Hayek of Fort Pierce this week announced details of the boat parade and fleet blessing.

Three U.S. Coast Guard vessels will escort boats participating in the parade and blessing. Boaters are asked to assemble at the turning basin— the area where the Fort Pierce Inlet and Indian River Lagoon meet — at 11 a.m. and follow the lead Coast Guard vessel for an 11:30 a.m. parade starting time. Parade officials will use VHF Channel 82 to keep in contact with boaters throughout the parade.

Boaters who wish to participate in the parade and blessing may do so by clicking here.

Non-boaters can view the parade from the causeway or from Museum Park under the Peter P. Cobb Bridge, where a barbecue will be held afterwards.

After assembling in the turning basin, the parade will head east through the inlet, making a U-turn approximately at Manatee Island Bar & Grill. Vessels heading west back up the inlet will then be blessed by the Rev. Canon Brust, rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Fort Pierce, and his wife, the Rev. Cynthia Brust, also an Episcopal priest, both of whom will be aboard a Coast Guard vessel. Captains are asked to give their boat name on VHF just before approaching the blessing boat so that vessel names can be announced over the radio.

Small crafts such as kayaks, canoes and jet skis are asked to beach their vessels near the ramp at Causeway Park and will receive a blessing by the Rev. Yves Geffrard, pastor of Notre Dame Catholic Church in Fort Pierce.

Fleet blessings originated in Mediterranean fishing communities in Southern Europe, with the blessing from a local priest meant to ensure a safe and bountiful season.

Also this week, the centennial committee announced that Roy Summerlin would be the grand marshal of the boat parade.

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