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More than 150 recreational boats are expected to take part in the area’s 20th annual Blessing of the Fleet on the Occoquan River on Saturday, May 15.

Rain date is Sunday, May 16.

The Occoquan River Maritime Association is sponsoring the event in coordination with the town of Occoquan; the Fairfax, Occoquan and Prince William Yacht Clubs; the Belmont Bay, Hoffmasters, Holly Acres, Occoquan Harbour and Prince William Marinas, and with support from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Potomac Marine-Tow Boat/US and the Fairfax and Prince William public safety agencies.

The Blessing of the Fleet is a free event open to all boats in the area, drawing from a fleet of some 2,500 boats on the Occoquan River and thousands more in neighboring areas.

The 20th anniversary of the Blessing of the Fleet is dedicated to the memory of Pat Croft. Croft volunteered her time and passion to the maritime association for many years, and to honor her spirit, organizers are encouraging participants to decorate their boats for the event.

Fire boats and first responders will cruise past the town of Occoquan at about 10 a.m. and then proceed down river past the Blessing Boat, Rhumb Line, to be blessed by clergy. Boats can register to win prizes by clicking on the blue sign-up button on the ORMA Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ORMAblessing/. This event is free to all.

Spectators can view first responder boats from the town of Occoquan’s dock at Mamie Davis Park, from the shores of Occoquan Park, as well as from many restaurants and marinas along the Occoquan River.

The maritime association was established in 1999 to help business, yacht clubs and recreational boaters relating to navigation, ecology, environmental preservation and boating safety/education. In addition to coordinating the annual Blessing of the Fleet, ORMA has played a role in keeping the Occoquan River Channel navigable.

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