Is a Name Change Jinxing You?

Those that are a part of the boating world tend to be rather superstitious. Thousands of years ago the process and selection of naming your boat was based on fear and superstitions. It is believed that boats were named to honor the gods and goddesses that were able to provide protection from the sea. When on the sea the sailors would call to these deities to protect them from whatever misfortune may be coming their way. In some cultures they also believed that they might anger the gods if they did not pay homage to them in this way.

Once given a name a boat develops a personality, a mind of its own, or so many people believe. There are many different opinions on the subject of renaming a boat. Legend has it that once christened the name of the boat is recorded in the “Ledger of the Deep” and known now to Poseidon and Neptune. The christened name then becomes its salvation. It is believed that by renaming a boat it will bring bad luck. There are many stories of ships that have sunk or been struck by lightening shortly after they have been renamed. According to those that believe in these traditions and superstitions, it is not only important to properly name your boat, but that you keep that name and not change it at any future point.

There are some that have created a renaming ceremony if you feel you absolutely must rename the boat. The first step in the process is actually de-naming the boat. You must remove all traces of the former name, from the log books to the engine, maintenance records to the boating accessories and of course from the boat itself. There are many different sayings that are suggested when performing the de-naming ceremony, but the important thing to include is recognition of the sea gods and that the former name is purged from the records. Most will suggest that you leave the boat without a name for at least one day. From there you can now begin the ceremony for naming your boat, most often these are the same traditions taken when first christening the boat. Once this is done you are free to bring on any items that may have the new name on it.

Many boaters are firm in their belief that a boat should not be renamed though. They believe that once a boat is named and has gone through a christening ceremony it has been enlivened. From this point on the boat should always be treated with the similar respect that a person would receive. Whatever you believe or decide to live by remember to pay your respects to the gods of the sea before each of your sea ventures!


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