Blessing of the Fleet sees procession of boats in Hatteras Harbor

Published 5:08 pm Friday, September 24, 2021

Late Saturday afternoon, Sept. 18, 2021, the majestic fleet of Hatteras village motored into Hatteras Harbor for the 2021 Blessing of the Fleet.

The harbor’s water sparkled with sunshine. Colorful charter boats with distinctive flared bows, a pair of commercial fishing boats and a skiff or two barely disturbed the water. The procession numbered 25 with the U.S. Coast Guard’s 47-footer at the end making the 26th vessel arriving for the blessing.

Ferrying Rev. Toni Wood, pastor for the Hatteras Charge of the United Methodist Church, was the Albatross captained by Ernie Foster.

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For scripture, Wood chose the story of Jesus calming “a great storm of wind” with waves beating into the boat. Jesus was sleeping. He awoke “and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

Wood then sang the hymn for the day “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me.” The lyrics asked Jesus to “pilot me over life’s tempestuous sea” and offers testimony that “chart and compass come from thee” and that “boisterous waves obey thy will.”

In her remarks, Wood said that on that day “Jesus was the Lord High Admiral.” She urged the captains and crew to “steer by His chart.” She said, “by faith, we will raise our anchor.” She offered a prayer.

Following her remarks, Wood read the name of a dozen watermen who passed over the bar in 2020 and through Sept. 18, 2021. Those watermen named include Paul Foster, Wayne Basnett, Ervin Lee O’Neal, Victor Balance, Carl Clever, Billy Midgett, Irvin Midgett, Ricky Scarborough, Ikey O’Neal, Brock Tillett, Lonnie Willis and Bob Eakes.

Before the ceremony, children Anne Mitchell Snead, Hazel Scott and George Scott delivered a fall wreath to the Albatross and into the outstretched hands of Teddy Harmon.

Capt. Ernie Foster maneuvered the Albatross to head out to sea for floating the wreath upon the waters in memory of the named watermen.

The ceremony was broadcast over Channel 1 on marine radio.

The 2021 Blessing of the Fleet was one of three events associated with this scaled down version of Day at the Docks. A “Seafood under the Stars” dinner was scheduled for Friday night and the Fishy 5K was run early Saturday morning.

Day at the Docks was started to celebrate the Spirit of Hatteras after Hurricane Isabel recovery. On Sept. 18, 2003, that hurricane ripped a channel between Frisco and Hatteras village.