If you find yourself wanting to rename your boat due to the previous owners having a severe lack of taste, it’s essential that you know the right way to go about it. Just as you would hold a boat christening ceremony for new vessels, renaming a boat has ceremonial rules to follow to ensure a lifetime of good luck on the water. In fact, renaming a boat is about as taboo as it gets when it comes to maritime superstitions. Of course, you can just brush these century-old beliefs off as fiction, but we suggest following every step precisely as instructed to avoid a lifetime of bad luck and hardship at sea.
Renaming a Boat: Legend and Superstitions
According to legend, Poseidon keeps every vessel’s name in his personal record book – the “Ledger of the Deep”. Poseidon grants safe passage throughout the seven seas to those who respect his protocols, but failing to appropriately rename your vessel is among the surest ways to witness his wrath.
The following misfortunes are just some of the ways Poseidon punishes those who do not take his fable seriously:
- Long spells of rough seas and foul weather
- Fires below deck
- Collisions at sea with natural hazards or other vessels
- Personal injury to the captain and crew
- Sinking ships
Other superstitions related to renaming a boat include:
- Naming your vessel with seven letters will bring good luck to your journeys
- Including three “A’s” in the name of your boat is good luck
- Feminine names bring good fortune and protection to the vessel
- Naming a vessel after one that has previously sunk is bad luck
- Never sail on a boat without a name – it is bad luck
- Naming a boat after a storm or natural disaster will anger Poseidon
* Sure, some of these superstitions seem strange. Still, there are plenty of sailing superstitions that are far more trivial than those listed above.
Renaming Your Boat: Step-by-Step
As explained above, the process to rename a boat must be precise to avoid a lifetime of misfortune at sea. The following steps are carefully mapped out so that you can ensure your vessel is granted safe passage by the Gods of the sea.
1. Completely Erase the Current Identity of the Vessel
To begin the re-naming process, you will first need to erase every trace of the boat’s current identity – and we mean everything. Hull logos, sails, keyrings, sail bags, ledgers, boat records – EVERYTHING. Some even go as far as removing the previous owner’s name from anything on the boat. You can paint over the exterior, use white-out for records and ledgers, and burn everything with the current name on it, just for good measure. Leave no stone unturned during this process.
* Under no circumstance are you to bring ANYTHING with the new name onto the boat until all ceremonies are complete.
2. Return the Vessel’s Name to Poseidon
After you’ve removed all traces of the vessel’s current name, it’s time to make erase it once and for all by returning it to Poseidon. You’ll need to prepare a small metal tag with the current name written in water-soluble ink.
Once you have the metal tag prepared, begin by invoking the name of Poseidon – ruler of the deep – by saying the following:
“Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, implore you in your graciousness to expunge for all time from your records and recollection the name (the vessel’s current name) which has ceased to be an entity in your kingdom. As proof thereof, we submit this ingot bearing her name to be corrupted through your powers and forever be purged from the sea”.
- Toss the metal tag from the boat’s bow and return the name to the sea. After, recite the following to complete the un-naming ritual:
“In grateful acknowledgment of your munificence and dispensation, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court.”
- Finish the un-naming by pouring some of your chosen drink overboard, from east to west. Those attending the ceremony may now consume the rest of the bottle.
3. Begin the Renaming Ceremony: Gods of the Sea
The un-naming ceremony is most often followed directly by the renaming ceremony, but you can do this separately if you wish. For the following, you will again need to recite a verse, asking permission from Poseidon to bless the new name of your vessel. You will also need more wine, champagne, or liquor to complete the ceremony.
To begin, start by saying the following:
“Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, implore you in your graciousness to take unto your records and recollection this worthy vessel hereafter and for all time known as (vessel’s new name), guarding her with your mighty arm and trident and ensuring her of safe and rapid passage throughout her journeys within your realm.
In appreciation of your munificence, dispensation, and in honor of your greatness, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court”.
- After pouring a glass for those onboard, empty the remainder of the bottle overboard from west to east as a sacrifice to Poseidon.
4. Complete the Renaming Ceremony: Gods of the Wind
The next step is to please the gods of the wind – assuring you fair winds and smooth seas during your journeys. You will need to address all four gods of the wind – one for each direction.
Begin by reciting the following:
“Oh mighty rulers of the winds, through whose power our frail vessels traverse the wild and faceless deep, we implore you to grant this worthy vessel (vessel’s new name) the benefits and pleasures of your bounty, ensuring us of your gentle ministration according to our needs.”
- While facing north, pour some of the bottle into your glass. Toss the liquid to the north as you recite the following:
“Great Boreas, exalted ruler of the north wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your frigid breath.”
- While facing west, pour some of the bottle into your glass. Toss the liquid to the west as you recite the following:
“Great Zephyrus, exalted ruler of the west wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your wild breath.”
- While facing east, pour some of the bottle into your glass. Toss the liquid to the east as you recite the following:
“Great Eurus, exalted ruler of the East Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your mighty breath.”
- While facing south, pour some of the bottle into your glass. Toss the liquid to the south as you recite the following:
“Great Notus, exalted ruler of the South Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your scalding breath.”
5. Final Considerations
Once the ceremony is complete, you may bring aboard items and official documents that hold your vessel’s new name. This is also an appropriate time to have the new name painted on the hull. If you insist on having the name painted before the ceremony, it’s crucial not to reveal the name before completing the ritual.
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