The Fort Myers Beach Yacht Club has been observing a day of remembrance for those brave soldiers who have died protecting the United States during military service for many years now.
On Monday, May 28, local yacht club members will again take to the Gulf to pay respect to all who were lost at sea.
The "Memorial Day Service at Sea Ceremony" will occur on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico at green-lighted buoy #3, approximately two miles south of the northern tip of Fort Myers Beach bearing 220 degrees. It is the club's 19th consecutive year organizing the event.
"We're hoping to instill a sense of pride in the defense of our country and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to our country. We want to keep the memory alive of what people have given for our freedom," said Beach Yacht Club member Chris Christensen.
Boats are asked to rendezvous in front of the Bowditch Point Park docks in Estero Bay before the 10:30 a.m. departure. They will be led to buoy #3, where the service will begin. VHF channel 72 will be used for coordination for those who want to listen in.
The memorial service will feature a special tribute through a reading. After the reading, flowers will be placed upon the Gulf waters by participants from all boats, during which taps will be sounded over the VHF radio, followed by a moment of silent prayer, according to Christensen.
"We are looking for people to pay respect for those who have gone before us to make this country a great place to live and to pay respect to departed friends and family," he said.
Clubs, organizations and individuals interested in participating are welcome but should call Yacht Club Commodore Pete Oiderma at 463-6240 or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for logistical coordination and possible last minute itinerary changes.
Those wishing to participate in the flowers ritual will need to provide their own vessel and flowers. For environmental reasons, Beach yacht club members stress that no plastic or other non-biodegradable flowers or materials be involved.
"We have a lot of veterans in our yacht club who are involved in our community. We respect the patriots of our country," said Christensen. "We are not just a club partying all the time. We care a great deal about our country."
If inclement weather creates rough seas, the event will still go on but closer to shore.
'That's why if anyone wants to join, it's important to call Commodore Pete in advance," said Christensen.
A luncheon will follow at 11:30 a.m. at Parrot Key Restaurant at Salty Sam's Marina on San Carlos Island.
The Fort Myers Beach Yacht Club was formed in 1953 and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization for the purpose of promoting safe, enjoyable boating and good fellowship. This community-oriented club with more than 130 members and 60 boats maintains a very active schedule of year-round activities. Meetings are held once a month normally at the American Legion Post on San Carlos Island. Because the club does not have the expense of maintaining their own waterfront facility, dues are only $100 per year per couple.