Video: Annual Blessing Of The Boats Ceremony

June 8, 2016

A Bermudian tradition that dates back to the mid 1800s took place on Sunday morning [June 5], with Bishop Nicholas Dill and Reverend David Raths being rowed from St George’s to St David’s to bless boats that had gathered at Chapel of Ease Dock.

Bishop Dill was rowed across by the Bermuda Pilot Gig Club in ‘Pilot Harry Fox’ while Reverend David Raths was rowed across by members of the St George’s based TS Admiral Somers Sea Cadets in ‘Lady Stockton’.

The traditional Blessing of the Boats arises from the long established connection of the people of St David’s with the fishing and boat-pilot occupation and dates back to 1849 when the Chapel of Ease was consecrated.


There were no bridges or land links between St David’s and the rest of the Island at that time, so Bishop Field was rowed across the harbour by four sons of clergymen who volunteered for the service.

Many boats were in evidence that day as the Bishop passed through their midst waving and giving his blessing, an act which started the annual tradition.

To commemorate that occasion, and as part of the long association with the seafarers of St David’s, the Chapel of Ease holds the annual service.

Assisting in Sunday’s service was parish worker and MP Suzann Roberts-Holshouser, worship assistants Demi Wright, Dylan Holshouser and Henry Hayward, and Deputy Wardens Harold Millett and Calvin Trott. Band members of the St George’s Corps of the Salvation Army provided the music.

Boats that made their way to the Chapel of Ease Dock on Sunday were 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.”

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