At the beginning of each season, the Occoquan River Maritime Association (ORMA) hosts the Blessing of the Fleet. The Blessing of the Fleet is a centuries-old tradition where receiving a blessing from the local Clergy was meant to ensure a safe and bountiful season. Hey, maybe your boat won’t sink, right?
If that isn’t enough, you can also win all kinds of prizes for registering and decorating your boat, including $500 in boat fuel, and other cool prizes. Here’s everything you need to know (ripped straight-ish from ORMA’s facebook page) in order to participate this year and win some goodness:
On May 20, 2023, first responder boats will pass Belmont Bay Harbor Marina at approximately 10am, heading upriver, toward the Town of Occoquan. At approximately 11am, first responder boats will turn around near the Occoquan Town Dock and begin heading back downriver, toward Belmont Bay Harbor Marina. The fire boat will lead the group, spraying a spectacular Water Salute for all to enjoy!
Interested spectators can view first responder boats from land at Town of Occoquan’s dock at Mamie Davis Park, from the shores of Occoquan Park, as well as many restaurants/marinas along the Occoquan River.
All registered and non-registered boats wishing to be blessed can SLOWLY pass the ORMA blessing boat docked at Belmont Bay Harbor Marina fuel dock during the event hours. You can radio the spotter boat on channel 78 to announce your arrival. If you are coming from upriver on the Occoquan, you simply pass the spotter and blessing boats, and you will get your blessing straight from his holiness, Tim Bauckman!
Here’s a short video showing you how to enter the lineup:
Fairfax and Prince William County First Responders, Representatives from the Town of Occoquan and Counties of Prince William and Fairfax, and VA State dignitaries will be on hand at a private event to give their well wishes to boaters as they pass the Blessing boat.
To be eligible for prizes, boats must be registered for the event through the SIGN IN button on the ORMA Facebook page before midnight on May 19, 2023 AND participation must be validated by ORMA as having passed the blessing boat during the event hours. One registration per boat. NOTE: By registering for the event, you agree to allow ORMA to post your name, boat name and/or images of your boat on public social media outlets.
Initial Prize Drawing
All eligible registrants have an opportunity to win various prizes, regardless of whether or not they are decorated. One prize per boat. Prizes are subject to change. Prize winners will be notified by the ORMA President via phone.
Prizes for Decorated Boats
Eligible registrants have a second opportunity to win boat fuel gift cards from Prince William Marina, Belmont Bay Harbor Marina, Occoquan Harbor Marina, and Hoffmaster’s Marina by obtaining votes as described in the Decorated Boat Voting Process. Boat decorations may be any theme; flags, pirates, parrots, etc., but remember, the more creative you are, the better your chances are of winning a prize.
After the event is concluded, a voting page will be created with a picture and the name of each eligible decorated boat. The voting page will be posted within 7-10 days after the event is completed and will stay open for 7 days. Eligible registration will be notified via email when the voting page is open. It is up to each participating boat owner to encourage people to visit the page and vote for their boat.
Boats with the top 5 highest number of votes will be awarded the top 5 prizes, respectively. Final details regarding the voting process, guidelines and details will be posted when the voting page is officially opened.
The final list of prizes and prize winner names will be posted on the ORMA Facebook page. Additional prizes may be added – check back for more details!
Click HERE to register!
Update: In case you missed the event, here’s a short video!