Kick off a safe summer with the blessing of the fleet

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published May 31, 2017

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — While Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer, boaters at the Jefferson Yacht Club celebrate the first weekend in June with a blessing.

The 59th annual Blessing of the Fleet is set to begin at 10 a.m. June 3 at WaterMark Bar and Grille, 24420 Jefferson Ave. The annual tradition is open to the public, according to JYC Fleet Captain David Kidd.

“It celebrates the kickoff of boating season and celebrates our great lake, Lake St. Clair,” he told City Council members May 15. 

This is the second year that WaterMark has hosted the event, which lasts for about two hours, he said. 

Former Fleet Captain Kathy Nucci said that the event will include music from bagpipers and the Grosse Pointe Lakeshore Chorus, as well as a welcoming address by Kidd and a prayer from the Rev. James Commyn, of St. Lucy Catholic Church.

“It’s so important to us because of all the boaters on Lake St. Clair,” Nucci said. “We just like to kick it off with a celebration of fun and safety.”

The JYC, which has around 200 members, also takes time to remember those members who died during the previous year with the chiming of the bells.

“It’s really important to us to be the handshake and the greeting to the boaters of Lake St. Clair,” she said. 

After the official blessing, Nucci said, members go back to the JYC for a smaller ceremony for members only. Both ceremonies are important to get the summer boating season started right, Nucci said. 

“It’s a time to bless the boats and their captains and their passengers, and then we salute, also, the Coast Guard, the Sheriff’s Department Marine Division and, just to keep everybody safe — land, sea and air.”

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