Panama City Blesses The Fleet - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Panama City Blesses The Fleet

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"Oh, here they come," said Beverley Whaley as she looks off from the Panama City Marina into the Gulf. 

These waters hold a special place in Whaley's heart.

"I'm on the other side today," said Whaley, who spent 10 years in the Coast Guard Auxiliary at the naval base in Panama City Beach.

I was out in the Coast Guard boat, I was a crew member," said Whaley. "We did search and rescue, we also checked the buoys."

While these waters will always be a part of her, for some, they are the center of work and play on a daily basis.

"It's kind of the opening of the bay you know, spring," said Mayor Greg Brudnicki.

It opened with plenty of sunshine, wind for their sails, and about 60 to vessels passing by the Panama City Marina, for a blessing.

"We want calm seas for our sailors and tight lines for our fisherman," said Mayor Greg Brudnicki. 

It's become a Panama City tradition for 16 years where families, fishermen, and officials start Spring with a prayer and support

"We just bless them for a safe Summer and Spring and Fall and for the workers to be safe and to have good harvest," said Pastor Richard Connor of Parkway Presbyterian Church. 

"We have a lot of faith, we travel alot, we just feel really good that we're getting some of this great blessing from God," said Gigi Mullins, who had her boat blessed today.

The Blessing of the Fleet is the comfort and reassurance of knowing they're not on the water alone and it couldn't have been a better day to sail away into Spring.

Second Chance of Northwest Florida also hosted its traditional fish fry fundraiser at today's blessing.

The agency hopes to raise enough money to extend its three day a week program to five days.