Memorial Service and Prayers for a Mariner

Version 1
Version 2


O Eternal Lord God, who alone spreads out the heavens and rules the raging of the seas, receive into your protection all those who go down to the sea in ships and occupy their business on the great waters. Preserve them both in body and soul, prosper their labors with good success, in all times of danger, be their defense, and bring them to the haven where they would be, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


St. Luke 8: 22-25
(The New Testament, Rheims, 1582 --

Jesus Calms the Storm

[22] And it came to pass on a certain day that he went into a little ship with his disciples, and he said to them: Let us go over to the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
[23] And when they were sailing, he slept; and there came down a storm of wind upon the lake, and they were filled, and were in danger.
[24] And they came and awaked him, saying: Master, we perish. But he arising, rebuked the wind and the rage of the water; and it ceased, and there was a calm.
[25] And he said to them: Where is your faith? Who being afraid, wondered, saying one to another: Who is this, (think you), that he commandeth both the winds and the sea, and they obey him?


The Lord is my Pilot, I shall not drift. He guides me across the dark waters. He steers me in deep channels. He keeps my log. He pilots me by the star of holiness for His name's sake. Yea, though I sail 'mid the fenders and tempests of life I shall dread no danger for He is near me. His love and care shelter me. He prepares a harbor before me in the homeland of eternity. He anoints the waves with oil, my ship rides calmly. Surely sunlight and starlight shall favor me on my voyages and I will rest in the Port of our Lord forever.




Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.


Lord be good to us, for the sea is so wide and our ship is so small. Amen.

Submited by Howard Wilson
Viking Chapter, Minnesota, American Merchant Marine Veterans

Memorial Service for a Mariner

Fellow Shipmates, Family Members of our departed Shipmate, Friends

It is our honor as fellow shipmates of____________________ to pay tribute to the service of this man to the United States of America and to the United States Merchant Marine. In addition, we honor his service to the community, his church, and to his family. We stand together this day in support of each other, as we did so many years ago in a time when sacrifice and duty to country were all we knew. We were young men together of a time long gone by.

He was a true American patriot, one who answered his nation's call for help when it was needed, as so many millions had done before. In the case of Shipmate___________, he went to sea in the ships that were to save the world for Democracy, he sailed the Liberty Fleet. He was a Merchant Seaman of World War II.

He took his oath of service as we all did, to defend and protect our country. He did this in both times of war and peace. He did this without the thanks of the country he served, and without the thanks of the men and women he supported in their time of need. He served his Nation because it needed him. This was his reward, knowing he was needed.

__________________________ was an American Merchant Marine Veteran

I was that which others did not want to be
I went where others feared to go, and did what others failed to do.
I have seen the face of terror, felt the stinging cold of fear.
I have cried, pained, and hoped - but most of all
I have lived times others would say, were best forgotten.
At least someday I will be able to say, that I was
proud of what I was, A Seaman.

We honor our Brother Shipmate ___________________ and extend our sincere sympathy to his family and friends. Regardless of what he might have told you, we know that the men of the Merchant Marine were very special, and never again will the world see such a fleet of ships that we sailed, nor a group of men such as_________________ who sailed them. His service and the thousands who served with him is an integral part of our Nation's history. This service is not yet fully recognized for its importance and contribution to the victory over oppression in World War II, but its place in history can never be taken away from us.

Please bow your heads as we offer our prayers--

Psalm 107

Some sailed over the ocean on ships, earning their living on the seas. They saw what the Lord can do, His wonderful acts on the sea. He calms the storm, and the waves become quiet, and he brought them safe to the Port they wanted. They must thank the Lord for his constant Love.

A Seaman's Prayer

Heavenly Father, creator of the seas, Bless us as we assemble for this most solemn remembrance. We give you thanks for all your servants who go to sea in ships and those who have paid the supreme sacrifice by giving their lives in the service of their nation.

The passing of over 50 years has not diminished our love and gratitude for the thousands who went to sea and never returned, and for our Brother Shipmate who has gone to meet them in your loving, eternal embrace.

O Father, grant his family today, and in the days hereafter, peace and comfort in the glory of his service to his fellow man, and in the knowledge he sails with you, O Lord, our maker and protector.

The Last Watch

It is told in the Bible that once the Lord was in the fishermen's boat and a great storm came upon them, and the fishermen feared they would drown. The Lord said to them, have faith in Me. And thus it was they had the faith to survive. This same situation was and is repeated each day at sea.

No man has ever served at sea without knowing that each day could be his last and no one would even know where at sea he lay. No man served a day at sea without the knowledge that the ship he sailed might not survive to sail another day. But no man at sea let these fears overcome him. He knew his shipmates were beside him to help stand the watch, to plot the course, and to be the family and support we all need to meet and survive another day. They were his shipmates.

As each day ended, men at sea counted their blessings of a day well done, and to mark the end of their watch, they would toll the bell, the eternal mark of the passing of time at sea.

We honor our Shipmate ___________________as we toll the bell to mark the end of his final watch.

Well done _________________, well done. It was a great voyage, and you served your watch. We are proud to have served with you as part of the United States Merchant Marine.

You have completed your final watch, now rest in peace.

Submitted by Mark Gleeson, Mon Valley chapter AMMV and Bill Jopes, Cactus Mariners chapter AMMV; USMMA '43

Seamen's Prayers

Eternal Father, (Navy Hymn - First Verse and Mariners Verse)

Psalm 23, Mariner's Version, Captain J. Rogers

Psalm 23, Nautical Version

Psalm 107

The Seaman’s Prayer (Stella Maris)

A Prayer

Prayer from a Merchantman at Sea

A Seaman's Prayer, Wayne E. Walters


Eternal Father

(Navy Hymn - First Verse and Mariners Verse)

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep,
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea!

Lord, stand beside all those who sail
Our merchant ships in storm and gale,
In peace and war their watch they keep
On every sea, on thy vast deep.
Be with them, Lord, by night and day,
For Merchant Mariners we pray.


Psalm 23, Mariner's Version

Captain J. Rogers

The Lord is my Pilot;
I shall not drift.
He leadeth me across the dark waters
and steereth me in the deep channels.

He keepeth my Log
and guideth me by the star of holiness
for His Name's sake.

Yea, though I sail amid
the thunders and tempests of life,
I shall dread no danger,
For Thou art with me;

Thy love and Thy care, they shelter me.
Thou preparest a harbor before me
in the homeland of eternity;

Thou anointest the waves with oil,
and my ship rideth calmly,

Surely sunlight and starlight
shall favor me all the days of my voyaging,
and I will rest in the port of my Lord forever.

Source: The Mast, September 1948

Psalm 23, Nautical Version

The Lord is my Pilot, my ship is well stored.
He steereth me into the harbors of abundance
and guides my feet to the broad straight streets of port cities.

Yea, though the tempest rages
I shall not be afraid
for He knoweth the ways of the sea
and the strength of each ship launched upon the ocean of life.
His compass and His steering wheel are true.
He followeth the star which lights the way to the shores of immortal life.

My voyage has led me amongst pirates at sea
and buccaneers ashore,
but my ship and its captain have survived perils on land and on sea.
I have faith that favorable winds and calm seas will be our lot
so long as the voyage lasts, and that
I shall meet the Supreme Port Captain in the harbor of life eternal.

Source: American Seamen, Vol. V, Nos. 3 & 4, Summer-Fall 1945


Psalm 107

They that go down to the sea in ships,
that do business in great waters;
These see the works of the Lord,
and his wonders in the deep.
For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind,
which lifteth up the waves thereof
They mount up to the heaven,
they go down again to the depths;
their soul is melted because of trouble.
They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
and are at their wit's end.
Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble,
and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
He maketh the storm a calm,
so that the waves thereof are still.
Then are they glad because they be quiet;
so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness,
and for all his wonderful works to the children of men!

The Seaman’s Prayer (Stella Maris)

O Virgin Mother, Star of the Sea, we ask to have this watch with you today. Be with us in all dangers of soul and body in the far-off places and in the calm and heavy seas. Give us strength of body to bear manfully the hardships of the sea, a clear mind and a clean heart to rejoice in its glories

Stay, Dear Lady, in our fond thoughts in the long night watches and tiring days. Teach us to love Thy Son, Our Savior. Make us able seamen of Him Who loved the sea. Who stilled the tempest and walked on the blue waters.

O Heaven’s Watcher of the sea and skies take care of the loved ones while we are away and guide us safely home.

Imprimatur Francis J. Spellman, D.D.
Archbishop, New York
January 20, 1945
100 days Indulgence

Prayer card distributed during a Roman Catholic Mass at Sheepshead Bay in 1945. Courtesy Julien Paul


Rear Admiral Emory S. Land, War Shipping Administrator, invited the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America to cooperate in the observance of Maritime Day, and Dean Charles P. Deems of St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral of Minneapolis wrote this prayer for use in the churches and in the homes of the nation.

Eternal Father, who rulest over wind and wave, look with favor we beseech Thee upon the men of the Merchant Marine. Preserve them from the perils of storm and fog, of hidden reef, and lurking enemy. Be strong to save them in the hour of disaster, and bring them safe at last unto their desired haven.

Bless, we pray Thee, all their loved ones. Provide for the needy, heal the sick, strengthen the tempted, console the lonely, encourage the anxious, and comfort the sorrowful, that in the sweet hours of reunion no shadows may dim the brightness of their joy.

Guide and direct all who control the conditions under which they labor at sea. Enlighten and uphold all who minister to their needs ashore. Give to those who commit their possessions and their lives into their keeping a full realization of the fidelity with which this stewardship is discharged.

Above all, make the nation deeply grateful for the prosperity and protection provided by the heroism and faithfulness of those who pursue their business on great waters.

Draw near also to their partners of the sea -those who build the ships - and grant them a vision of the full meaning of their task, and a daily faithfulness worthy of that vision. Make sacred their toil and every relationship of their lives.

These things we ask in the Name of Him whose word even the winds and the waters obey,

Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: American Seamen, Vol. IV, Number 2, Spring 1944

Prayer from a Merchantman at Sea

Again the night-time of the waters is upon us. We pray against the evils of the sea and the greater evils of our enemy. Here upon the ocean we are close to God, and we pray he hears our call. We want to live. We want to sail homeward to that moment when the last harbor takes us in and once again we are safe.

Give us, Lord, the grace to sail our ships well. Give us seamanship and guts and patience against the waiting and the uncertainty that eats into us among the submarines, the mines and the vulture planes. Give us marksmanship when we man our guns. Give us skill at the wheel, in the hot bowels of the ship and in the use of the brains without which these, our ships, are only steel hulks. Ours is a heavy task, for we miss the quick and frequent lift of conflict. We wait eternally for the few seconds when your awful hand gives us to the humpbacked death below, or grants our cargoes to our friends who wait the convoy.

In this night and in the many nights to come until the ships bear lights again, give us, O God, the strength to face our fate unshaken. Amen.

Joseph Israels, II
Lieutenant, U. S. Maritime Service
Radio Officer on a Merchant Ship

Source: Soldier's and Sailors' Prayer Book New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1944

A Seaman's Prayer

by Wayne E. Walters (submitted by Keith Walters)

God bless this frail ship of mine,
tho' tiny it may be;
God bless its youthful skipper,
and those who sail with me;
Grant thy grace to all the stalwart lads
who bravely man its deck;
Come sail with us O Blessed One,
and each of us protect;
We'll sail upon the northern breeze
to roam in search of glory;
It has been and always will be,
fate will set my life story;
So when you take this sailor, Lord,
forever from the sea;
I'll sail my ship through Heaven's gate,
for a sailor I'll always be.