A Bermudian tradition that dates back to the mid 1800s took place this morning [June 9], with Reverend David Raths being rowed from St George’s to St David’s to bless boats that had gathered.
The “Blessing of the Boats” arises from the long established connection of the people of St David’s Island with the fishing and boat-pilot occupations and goes back to the time of the consecration of the Chapel of Ease in 1849.
The service was held at the Chapel of Ease Dock, with Rev David Raths being rowed across by members of the St George’s based TS Admiral Somers Sea Cadets.
Boats made their way to the dock, and each boat in attendance was blessed and received a Certificate of Blessing saying, “Bless o lord this vessel and all who sail in her; may she be a trustworthy and safe servant.”
In the 1800s there were no bridges or land links between St David’s and the rest of Bermuda, so the Bishop was rowed across the harbour by four sons of clergymen who volunteered for the service.
Many boats were present that day as the Bishop passed through their midst waving and giving his blessing, an act which started the tradition that continues to this day.
To commemorate that occasion and as part of the long association with the seafarers of St David’s, Chapel of Ease holds this annual “Blessing of the Boats” service.
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