After a year of the pandemic prohibiting in-person memorial services, the Newport boating community will gather on the water to parade around Newport Harbor as a tribute to those lost in 2020 and 2021.

The Newport Memorial Boat Parade will circumnavigate Newport Harbor on Sunday, June 6, starting at 5:30 p.m. The parade will pay tribute to members of the community who passed away in 2020 and 2021.

Brad Read, Sail Newport’s executive director was inspired to create the memorial boat parade because of the loss of opportunities to gather due to pandemic restrictions.

“We’ve lost so many people over the past year who had an enormous impact on all aspects of our community, the boat parade will be a meaningful tribute and an opportunity for all of us to spend time together to remember our loved colleagues, friends and family members,” says Brad Read, Sail Newport executive director.

Over ninety vessels have registered to participate in Sunday’s parade while flying their “Dress Ship” flags to honor loved ones, colleagues, and community members who have passed.

According to a press release from Sail Newport, the line-up includes a wide variety of boats, including small fishing boats, recreational family powerboats and sailboats,  beautifully restored vintage powerboats sailboats, commercial tour vessels, and several of the storied 12 Metre yachts.  

The largest boat in the parade is the 91′ double-masted gaff schooner “Tree of Life.” Also, the majestic 200′ giant square-rigged Oliver Hazard Perry will be on station at a tall ship mooring as a salute to passing vessels. 

Oldport Marine’s Amazing Grace, the 65′ tour boat, will have a Hibernian bagpiper on the bow to lead the parade. 

The parade of power and sailboats will gather between Rose and Goat Islands and parade in a clockwise direction, starting in the Goat Island area. The boat parade will then navigate clockwise around Newport Harbor and end off of Fort Adams State Park. 

Sail Newport says that registration is closed for boats because the parade reached its maximum goal.  Spectators can watch the parade from points surrounding the waterfront in Newport Harbor. Spectators are reminded to adhere to state and city guidelines for COVID safety.

AM 1540 WADK will broadcast coverage of the parade starting at 5:30 pm.

For more information on this event, visit sailnewport.org

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).