The “Royal Order of Pilot Fish” is an independent organization in District 14 formed to confer honor on a USPS member who has performed extraordinary work on behalf of the squadron and USPS. The appearance of Neptune Rex and Davey Jones to induct candidates into the Order is a feature of the Founder’s Day Celebration.
Requirements for acceptance to the order are stringent including offices held, merit marks earned, faithful and noteworthy service over a number of years and current activity. Selection is strictly objective and limited to persons who are unquestionably most deserving each year. It is a single honor conferred only upon those who have contributed outstandingly beyond the call of duty or responsibility of office. Not every squadron has a nominee each year, nor is every proposal approved by the Court of Dolphins.
The Pilot Fish was founded in jest on 2 May 1945 by Leighton T. Bohl at a Narragansett Bay Power Squadron’s Change of Watch, as an organization whose members would be available, when called upon, to assist the commander or the squadron in any way possible.
At first, Pilot Fish was a very informal and loosely knit group, but continued to grow in stature and number of members until it became a feature of the squadron’s annual meeting. It was formally organized and a constitution adopted on 4 January 1950 at a meeting held at the Rhode Island Yacht Club.
Membership increased and many became charter members of other squadrons in the rapidly expanding district. On 12 June 1962 at a meeting of the Attleboro Power Squadron, it was reorganized and the name changed to the ‘Royal Order of the Pilot Fish’, a completely autonomous group within District 14.
The Order has two principal officers: ‘King Neptune’ presently George Cambra of Taunton River and ‘Davey Jones’, at the moment W. Lee Blackburn also of Taunton River. These two officers and three committees (Court of Dolphins, Shellbacks and Audit Committee) are elected at the annual meeting of the Order early in November.
Candidates for membership are first proposed by local squadron Pilot Fish and submitted to the Court of Dolphins for consideration. If approved by this body, the nominee is inducted with appropriate ceremony. The identities of candidates is treated with strictest confidence and not revealed until summoned by Davey Jones to appear before King Neptune.
Members may be identified by a distinctive gold and navy blue pin worn on their jacket lapel. Also, members may display a beautiful blue and white Pilot Fish burgee with a gold 50th anniversary border on their boat or in their den.
During the past years, over 300 members have been accepted as Pilot Fish. Because of deaths and resignations from USPS, the present mailing list totals approximately 110 active members.
For more information contact: George Cambra at (508) 822-4387 or
W. Lee Blackburn at (508) 947-2119 email: LCLoonPond@aol.com.