Blessed on the water for 60 years

Tina Harbuck

Blessing upon blessing was offered up Thursday afternoon at the 60th annual Blessing of the Fleet as more than 140 vessels paraded through Destin harbor as members of the local clergy spoke words of blessing over the boats, captains, crews and families.

“Favor them in their health … and every passenger that boards this boat. Be blessed, God is with you,” said Pastor Barry Carpenter of Destin United Methodist Church.

“Thank you for all the blessings that these boats have provided. Give them safety as they head out and safety as they bring back God’s bounty,” Father Mike Hesse of Immanuel Anglican Church spoke over one of the boats.

But this was the theme that followed throughout the afternoon as charter boats, pontoons, sailboats, Coast Guard and more passed by the barge where the clergy were gathered to speak a word of blessing over them.

Prior to the actual blessing of the boats, more than a 100 folks gathered under the tent at Fishing Fleet Marina for a worship service led by Immanuel Anglican Church and the Rev. Caleb Miller.

Miller recognized Capt. William Frank Davis and Dale Allen who have served as the Commodore’s for the Blessing of the Fleet for the past 45 years.

And as always, a testimonial was given by one of the local fishermen.

Capt. T.J. George of the High Cotton gave testimony of how he had been wrapped up in what he wasn’t getting and self pity.

“I was so consumed with myself,” George said.

But then he told of how he felt broken and alone and made up his mind to see what God wanted from him.

“Although I thought at the beginning of the journey all I had was God … then I realized all in needed is God.”

Following George’s testimony, Miller spoke on the ascension of Jesus, the “Cosmic King.”

“He is the Cosmic King of a kingdom that will never be destroyed,” Miller said.

He challenged the people to be prepared by believing, living in obedience, to seek his purpose and live as kingdom people.

“We celebrated the ascension because Jesus is the Cosmic King,” he said.

After a few songs, members of the local clergy spoke blessings over individual captains and families as they so desired.

Then they processed down to the docks for the blessing of the boats.

Following the blessing a feast and fellowship took place under the tent.