Every spring, on Palm Sunday, St. Augustine Yacht Club sponsors a Blessing of the Fleet, complete with a processional through the Plaza de la Constitucion by the papal leadership of the Cathedral Basilica, the Knights of Columbus, and St. Augustine's own Royal Family. The processional concludes on the waterfront at the fuel dock of the St. Augustine Municipal Marina where the Bishop stands on a raised platform, sprinkling holy water on any vessel that makes its way past the dock in a procession of boats.
Blessing of the Fleet - Palm Sunday, April 2, 2023
Personal vessels and commercial craft are invited to participate in the ancient and traditional Blessing of the Fleet on Matanzas Bay in St. Augustine, FL.
The festive tradition has its roots in the hopes of those who went to sea for a bountiful shrimp season when St. Augustine’s harbor was filled with fleets of commercial trawlers. Today the tradition continues as those who fish, both commercially and for sport, seek blessings on their vessels for an abundant catch and all those who take to the waterways who seek safety upon the water and a safe return home.
May the peace and blessing of the Almighty God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit descend upon these ships and upon all who shall be in them and remain forever.
(Offered by the Clergy of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine.)
Rules of Procedure
All boats must be powered.
Boats will assemble in organized groups no later than 12:00 p.m. (Noon) in the Matanzas River south of the Bridge of Lions. Boats not affiliated with clubs or organizations should join a group of boats, anchor and wait for radio instructions.
Boats equipped with a marine VHF radio will monitor Channel 68 and wait for instructions. There must be no transmissions on this channel except in the case of an emergency. Boats without radios will stand by boats so equipped to receive verbal information from those skippers.
The Blessing of the Fleet will be led by an official vessel followed by (a) trawlers and commercial fishing craft, (b) all other craft.
Boat speed should be set to maintain a close and safe distance from other boats.
Boats will proceed north toward the Municipal Marina, directly abreast the end of the fuel dock where the blessing will occur, then make a turn to starboard to avoid the breakwater dock and pass by the Bridge of Lions No wake rules must be observed during the pass by the Municipal Marina.
After passing by the Bridge of Lions, boats will turn to starboard again and continue south. No boat is permitted to go north or through the Bridge of Lions until the completion of the entire ceremony.
FWC traffic control boats will be in the area and will assist if requested.
This is a solemn occasion, so please:
Avoid loud engine noise, music, raised voices or unseemly conduct.
Beverage containers must be out of sight and trash must not be thrown into the water.
While passing the Municipal Marina and receiving the Blessing, men should remove hats and all on board should wear shirts or suitable coverings.
For additional information please call
St. Augustine Yacht Club
442 Ocean Vista Avenue, St. Augustine, Florida 32080
St. Augustine Yacht Club, Inc. 442 Ocean Vista Avenue St. Augustine, FL 32080