28 years ago, a small but powerful cadre of shrimpers’ spouses hosted the first Blessing of the Fleet at the Charleston Cruise Terminal. It was a day to ask the Heavens for smooth waters, safe travels and a bountiful harvest for the shrimpers who count on the Lowcountry waters for their livelihoods. While the Blessing has moved to Mount Pleasant, and grown larger each year, the message is the same: Keep our fishermen and fisherwomen safe. This past weekend, our coastal town whose heritage and rich history dates back to the early settlers, celebrated the 28th Annual Blessing of the Fleet. There was live music, local craft vendors, and weather perfect for relaxing on a blanket. The Blessing itself, was deep and soulful.
As each of the fourteen shrimping boats glided across the water under the Cooper River Bridge, the pastor gave a unique and spirited blessing wishing them a safe oceanic harvest and healthy season. Religious, spiritual or neither, the crowd of attendees stood respectfully silently for each passing prayer.
As the passengers of each boat waved to the supporters up above, we heard stories of third and fourth generation families hitting the water at 4 AM and putting their bodies on the line to ensure this noble profession stays a part of the Lowcountry.
The ceremony paid tribute to those that have dedicated most of their lives to bringing us some of the best seafood this area has to offer.
It pays homage to dedication, hard work and the American Dream. This feeling of patriotism for America and the community of Charleston was visible with each flag hovering high above the fishing ships.
Charleston is about tradition and celebration. It makes us who we are.
The Blessing celebrates Charleston’s resistance to being outsourced and reminds us all how we became such a special city, dedicated to preserving our culture.
To all the noble fisherman and shrimpers who provide us with a bounty of sea faring pleasure, thank you.