Blessing the boats at the Southwest Waterfront


By: Allison Keyes,

WASHINGTON — “This blessing is for Seize the Day,” said Rev. Adrienne Terry of Christ United Methodist Church in Southwest D.C.

The vessel’s crew grinned as she continued with the traditional prayer asking the Lord to consecrate the boat, guide her captain, keep watch over her passengers and crew and bring them to a safe return. It’s all part of the 40th anniversary of the Blessing of the Fleet.

“We ask for divine intervention for safety and safe passage,” says Darryl Madden, of the Port of Washington Yacht Club, about the beginning of the cruising season. He says 35 boats from seven different marinas lined up for the blessing, and the tradition began centuries ago in Mediterranean fishing communities.

The fireboat John H. Glenn Jr. was the first to be blessed, after putting on a display that sent water arching into the air to celebrate.

“It warms my heart,” Terry says, even though she admits to being more of a beach person than a boat person. She says the prayer creates “a divine pathway for the ships or boats to travel in safety under God’s guidance.”

Adrienne Todman is part of the close knit marina community gtherfe.

“There’s nothing more special,” Todman says, “than coming together and being hopeful and spiritual about a good season.”

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