By: Jon Boberg, Meagan Schuster, and Hailey Muscarella
The Edward M. Cotter Fire Boat hosted its boat blessing on Sunday June 5. We were lucky enough to be invited to come along on the boat for the blessing. The Cotter boat is the oldest fire boat in North America and was used to put fires out. It can pump up to 15,000 gallons per minute. The Cotter is no longer in use for putting out fires, but it is a historical landmark that now blesses boats on the Niagara River!
We had the pleasure to spend the day on the historic landmark, The Edward M Cotter Fireboat. We tagged along to be a part of the blessing of the boats. This was a super cool and unique experience. When we first boarded the boat we were met by the super nice and helpful volunteers. We were able to explore the ship and see all of the historical photos and documents displayed on the ship. It was a great opportunity to learn more about some of Buffalo history. It is also a part of some world history being that it is the oldest active fireboat in the entire world. There couldn’t have been a more perfect day for a day out on the water. There was a super good turn out with a ton of boats and jet skis that came to get blessed by the Cotter. It was a really cool thing to see the local community come together for a fun day on the water. If you'd like to learn more of the Cotter head over to https://www.emcotterconservancy.org/. - Jon Boberg
The Boat Blessing last Sunday that was done by the Edward M. Cotter Fireboat last sunday was a once in a lifetime opportunity for myself. Being invited onto the boat by the wonderful crew who provided us with information about the canal and the Cotter along the way to the event was an honor. It was a beautiful day to be on the water, a bright sunny day that would only leave you with a slight sunburn if you neglected to put sunscreen on, like I did. The event was truly something to see, with dozens of boats making their way under the streams of water to bless their boats to have a good boating season this year. The event was a success, and ran smoothly on Sunday afternoon. Learning about the history of the Cotter was definitely a highlight of the day. The Cotter has survived two fires on board and has been renamed multiple times. Being aboard this historical vessel, the oldest fireboat in the world, was truly an honor. - Meagan Schuster
We got on the boat around 10 am and set off to meet right near the Grand Island Bridge. The boat ride there was full of adventure, and we even got to see the locks in place. As the locks shut, the water would lower so we got back to the level outside of the locks! We all sat outside and had a wonderful time in the sun as we made our way over. The volunteers on the boat were highly informative and passionate about what they did. I got a tour of the boat and got to hear some cool stories from the volunteers! As we got to the event, boats were rolling in one after another as we were the stars of the show. Over 100 boats gathered for this event, and we all gathered inside ready from the water to start going. The horn sounded and the hoses started spewing out water fast. Boats started driving underneath the water to get blessed while the people in them cheered with joy as they went under the water. We all took videos and pictures of this event happening in real time! As the blessing ended, we started making our way back to base. The volunteers shared more stories and made hot dogs for everyone to eat. We all had a blast and would do it again. - Hailey Muscarella
Overall, this experience was one I never thought I would have. The volunteers were so welcoming and inviting to their boat and created a wonderful time for us. Seeing the boat blessing take place was something I will always remember for it was awesome to see this historical landmark in use again.