55th Annual Blessing of the Fleet
23 Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters;
24 They have seen the works of the LORD,
And His wonders in the deep.
25 For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
Which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths;
Their soul melted away in their misery.
27 They reeled and staggered like a drunken man,
And were at their wits' end.
28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
And He brought them out of their distresses.
29 He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they were quiet,
So He guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His loving-kindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
32 Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people,
And praise Him at the seat of the elders.
Inspired by similar festivals in in other East Coast fishing fleets, a group of Stonington fishermen organized the town's first Blessing of the Fleet. Through the years, the Blessing has been a constant in the lives of Stonington fishermen and their families: a time of remembrance, spirituality, celebration, and optimism.
Over the years, the Blessing has prospered due to the hard work of the fishermen and their families, St. Mary Church, town residents, and local businesses. Many people have worked long hours to ensure that the tradition of the Blessing continues in Stonington.
In the 1980's, a memorial was placed at the town dock in remembrance of local fishermen who have lost their lives at sea. This memorial serves as a constant reminder of friends and loved ones who never came home and the perils of a life at sea.
This page will continue to be updated with history and photographs.
In the meantime, we encourage you access the Stonington Fishing Oral History Project at Mystic Seaport's G.W. Blunt White Library and the associated book Fishing Out of Stonington, by Fred Calabretta, Glenn Gordinier, and John Jensen. Fishing Out of Stonington is available at the Mystic Seaport Store.