Panama City-- People and boats of all ages and faiths lined up Saturday to receive a little divine protection for their journeys on the water.
The annual “Blessing of the Fleet” took place Saturday morning at the Panama City marina.
Music played in the background as several ministers of different faiths administered the blessings. NewsChannel 7's Neysa Wilkins had the privilege of singing the national anthem this year.
About 50 sailboats, fishing boats, and even work boats and emergency vessels lined up for a few drops of the holy water.
Religious representatives prayed for safe passage of all the vessels in the marina through next year and commemorated those lost at sea in the past year with a lying of the wreath ceremony.
"It's just basically a celebration of boating season and the opening of boating season on the bay. We try to make it a festive event and get everybody in the spirit and get ready for summer," said Marina Director, Bill Lloyd.
The event began in Panama City in 1997 but the tradition of blessing a boat dates back to southern European fishing communities when the blessing from the local priest was to ensure a safe and bountiful season.