Fair Winds and Following Seas

Fair Winds and Following Seas

ODBC marks opening of boating season.

The Old Dominion Boat Club, a waterfront institution in Alexandria since 1880, celebrated the start of the boating season with its annual flag raising ceremony May 21 along the Potomac River. 

ODBC Commodore Chris Marino presided over the celebration at the foot of the club’s mast, where the U.S., Virginia, and City of Alexandria flags were hoisted along with the organization’s signature burgee.

“A beautiful afternoon at the Old Dominion Boat Club to participate in their annual flag-raising ceremony,” posted Mayor Justin Wilson on social media after raising the City of Alexandria flag. “Celebrating generations on our waterfront and the start of the boating season!”

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Ceremonial Honor Guard opened the ceremony followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Keith Harmon and invocation by Rev. Robert Monagle. “Fair Winds and Following Seas” was the nautical blessing for safety during the boating season.

In addition to Wilson, dignitaries in attendance included Vice Mayor Amy Jackson and City Manager Jim Parajon.

Now celebrating its 143rd year, the organization was formed with a mission of “the promotion of charitable, community service, athletic, water-related activities and fellowship among its members.” With more than 1,000 members, it is the second largest Boat Club in the state of Virginia.

The ODBC flag raising is a longstanding tradition in which the organization publicly shows its appreciation for “our city, our state and our country.”

The Old Dominion Boat Club Foundation was established to carry out the philanthropic goals of the ODBC and has provided support to: the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria, Alexandria Crew Boosters, Campagna Center, Marine Toys for Tots, Alexandria Seaport Foundation, Alexandria Sportsman’s Club, Potomac Conservancy, Potomac Riverkeepers Network. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Sea Scout Ship 818.

Joining Wilson in the ceremony were past Commodore and U.S. Army veteran Doug Wood, who raised the U.S. flag, past president and life member Harry Harrington, who raised the Virginia flag, and ODBC president Steve Forehand, who raised the ODBC burgee.

As each flag was run up the mast, former commodore Tom Whalen fired the club’s signaling cannon. Just offshore, the Alexandria fire boat Vigilant sent plumes of water skyward in a water demonstration marking the event.