Del Rey Yacht Club opens boating season with parade in Marina del Rey

By Kamala Kirk

Courtesy of Del Rey Yacht Club member Joan Godfrey

To celebrate the opening of boating season, Del Rey Yacht Club (DRYC) held a parade on March 13 that was compliant with Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 protocols.

“We are thrilled that 97 boats dressed for the celebration, this not only shows our members’ Corinthian spirit, but their readiness to hit the seas,” said Janet Bubar Rich, DRYC rear commodore.

Club members dressed their boats with flags for the celebration and 32 of them paraded through each Marina del Rey basin and the main channel. The parade was joined by Los Angeles County Fire Boat 110, the Los Angeles County Sheriff boat and the Los Angeles County Lifeguard boat.

“The Opening Day of boating season dates back to the 4th of July in 1895 when the Elliott Bay Yacht Club in the Pacific Northwest set out to have festivities that would culminate in a naval parade, much like the Opening Day boat parade we enjoyed here in the marina,” said Michael Rosenfeld, DRYC vice commodore.

As members paraded their boats, club members Joan Godfrey and Margie Woods took photos that were incorporated into a virtual Opening Day ceremony for members on March 14.

More than 300 club members participated in the ceremony via Zoom. The stream included videos of the club’s raising of the U.S. flag, its time-honored tradition of firing its cannon, and culminating with the raising of the DRYC burgee to signify the official opening of the boating season.

The music-filled celebration threaded photos from previous Opening Days, and several members, in addition to the club’s current commodores and directors, spoke at the Zoom ceremony. To prevent gatherings on club grounds, this year’s events did not include dignitaries from other yacht clubs or community guests.

“Being able to celebrate our Opening Day in a nontraditional manner shows our members that the boating spirit is very much alive and ready to enjoy,” said DRYC Commodore Bernie Glasser. “We look forward to having a traditional Opening Day ceremony next year when we will invite other yacht clubs and guests to join us and share in one another’s enthusiasm for boating. We’ll hopefully be talking about masts, not masks!”