For over 60 years, Newport’s Blessing of the Fleet has observed custom of asking for prayers that fishermen be protected at see, that their fish catch is bountiful, and that families can have peace of mind back home on dry land.
The Blessing, Saturday, March 21st, is open to any to ask blessings on their fishing vessel, charter vessel, pleasure craft, or research vessel.
The Survival Suit Races are at the Newport Tradewinds dock below Mo’s Annex at 9:30AM.
At 11:45 AM the fishermen, their wives and friends board their vessels and get in line all up and down Yaquina Bay.
At 1PM The Blessing of the Fleet begins with a fly-over of a Coast Guard Helicopter. The vessels move westward toward the Yaquina Bay Bridge where a priest/minister will perform a blessing on each passing boat.
At 3PM The Highliner competition begins at Port Dock 7 as fishermen, and a few fisherwomen, race the clock (and the bell) at untying crab pots, tying knots, fixing torn nets, shoveling ice, tossing a life ring and then running for the bell to ring it.
The days events also include a Memorial Service at the Fishermen’s Memorial Sanctuary at Yaquina Bay State Park. This service is meant to offer support and encouragement to the families and community while remembering Lincoln County fishermen lost at sea. Participants are encouraged to bring a flower to add to a communal bouquet in remembrance of their friend or loved one.
The fishing and pleasure boat parade will get underway at 12:45 PM, from the area near the Port’s International Terminal.
Anyone wishing to participate can pick up a vessel registration form at Schiewe Marine or Englund Marine Supply stores on Newports bayfront. All registrations need to be returned to Schiewes or Englunds by 11:00 AM, the morning of the event.