Blessing of the Fleet

 In Chamber, Community, Fishing, Travel

Copyright 2017, Josh Kohanek. Courtesy of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

On Friday, June 22, 2018, at 7 p.m., for the first time in many years, Algoma will partake in the blessing of the fleet,  – an old Mediterranean fishing tradition meant to ensure a safe and bountiful fishing season.  All boaters and land observers from the Bay of Green Bay to the shores of Lake Michigan are invited to attend. The blessing, with a special safety proclamation from the Mayor of Algoma and Assembly Citation signed by Governor Walker and presented by Representative Joel Kitchens, will be preceded by a trout boil and band at Sunrise Cove Marina that will continue into the later evening.  A portion of proceeds from the trout boil will go to the Algoma Fire and Rescue.

The event was created by Troy Mattson of Kinn’s Sportfishing, who suffered epic losses to four boats during the fire that raged overnight on June 23, 2016. Mattson wants to give “recognition to the Algoma Fire and Rescue as they saved the lives of several crew members, other boaters, and all the vessels in the marina.  Many ports around the world start their fishing season with a ceremony like this and I think it is only fitting that we do this in the legendary fishing port of Algoma, WI.”

Sunrise Cove Marina, host to the event, played an important role in helping move and house boats during the fire. They are excited to give back to the Algoma community by providing the entertainment and space to the Blessing.

Mayor Wayne Schmidt also finds the ceremony fitting. “The fishing industry is an important part of the city’s economy.  Along with the sport fishing there has been an increase in pleasure boating and kayaking.  On average, 650 people die each year in boating-related accidents in the US.  It is a goal of the city to make sure that people practice safe boating habits.”

Boaters are asked to line up in the Ahnapee River starting at 6:30pm.  The ceremony will begin at 7pm on the shore of Sunrise Cove Marina, 70 Church Street, with the national anthem.  Mayor Wayne Schmidt will present the city proclamation followed by Representative Kitchens. At approximately 7:25p.m. the US Coast Guard will escort the head boat out into the water beyond the break walls.  All other boaters are asked to follow and circle around the head boat to receive the blessing from Pastor Christopher Jackson.  The blessing will be broadcast on marine band radio and arrangements are being made to make the blessing available for those on land.

Other activities at Sunrise Cove Marina include:

Live Music  5-9 p.m.

Old Fashioned Trout Boil by Andy LaFond beginning at 5p.m. until plates run out

US Coast Guard Auxillary Boat Safety Checks 6-8p.m.

US Coast Guard Auxiliary “Coastie The Tugboat” 6-7p.m.

DJ in the Tent 9-1 a.m.

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