Keys Marine Service hosts service at Stock Island Marina Village

Since the late ’80s, commercial fisherman Adam Disson has spent July waking up early prepping his traps making sure all the loose ends are ready for Monday, Aug. 1, the first day traps can get wet for the lobster season opener on Saturday, Aug. 6.

“It really helps involve the community,” said Disson of the annual Blessing of the Fleet, hosted by Keys Marine Service and Supply at Stock Island Marina Village’s fuel docks. “The commercial fleets are very important to this community and have been around since before tourism was the main economic driver. This is a great way to get the family involved.”

Disson brings his family and grandchildren to the blessing each year, he said during his preparations to ready the largest commercial boat in the Key West fleet featuring a 2-foot-high question mark and the name Second Destiny. “The luck part doesn’t hurt either,” he said.

Father John Baker of St. Mary Star of the Sea oversees the blessing dockside and will usually have the Sisters and visiting priests to the event. He has also been involved for the past six years.

“They used to do the blessing a long time ago out at Mallory Square, usually of the shrimp boats,” said Leticia Powell of Keys Marine Services. Her and her husband Steven saw the need to bring it back for any boat that wants to swing by Saturday morning. “The more the merrier.”

Father Baker spends about one to two minutes per boat spreading good wishes on the boat and the family for the upcoming season. “After being blessed, a lot of the boats will stay in the harbor and watch the others get blessed, too,” said Powell.

Twenty-five boats are signed up.

“This shines such positive light on our fishing community,” said Disson, “the family side of it.”

Keys Marine Service and Supply is hosting the blessing of the commercial fleet on Saturday, July 30 at 10 a.m. at Stock Island Marina Village’s Fuel Dock Pier. Pleasure boats and any captains are also welcome to be blessed. To sign up, call Keys Marine Services at 305-295-0101. Powell will be calling boats from VHF Channel 72 that morning. The public is invited to attend.

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