Boat Renaming Ceremony

Doing it the right way staves off the possibility of bad luck  (I don't remember where I found this, so sorry if I don't give the original Author Credit)

Superstition still plays a significant role in boaters’ lives. The sea, hardly changed in all the eons since its creation, is still a source of mystery and wonderment. Half of the Earth’s surface is covered by abyssal seas where light never penetrates, but where life nevertheless exists—sometimes in outlandish forms—in conditions of unimaginable pressure and Stygian darkness. Little wonder, then, that frail human beings plying the interface between the unruly atmosphere and the fearsome oceans should seek help by performing certain rituals known to their ancestors, and turning to their ancient gods for protection.One superstition still widely held concerns the renaming of a boat, which, in the United States at least, is held to be unlucky. The answer is to hold a denaming ceremony before you rename your boat. You can make up your own ceremony, or you are welcome to use this one, which has been used with every appearance of success. It is now widely distributed on the Internet, but it is repeated here for your convenience.

Before you hold the denaming ceremony, you must remove all physical traces of the boat’s old name. Take the logbook ashore, along with any other charts, books, or papers that bear the old name. Be ruthless: sand away the old name from the lifebuoys, transom, topsides, dinghy, and oars; painting over is not good enough. We’re dealing with gods here, you understand, not mere mortals. If the old name is carved or etched, try to remove it. At the very minimum, fill it with putty and paint over it. And don’t place the new name anywhere on the boat before the denaming ceremony is completed—that’s just tempting fate.You can read the ceremony with flair on the foredeck before a gathering of distinguished guests or, if you find this whole business embarrassing and go along with it only because you’re scared of what might happen if you don’t, you can skulk down below and mumble it in solitude. But the words must be spoken.

The last part of the ceremony, the libation, should be performed at the bow. Use good champagne and spray all of it on the bow—do not presume to save some for yourself. The gods despise cheapskates; buy another bottle for your own consumption.Here is Vigor’s Famous Inter-denominational Denaming Ceremony:“In the name of all who have sailed aboard this ship in the past, and in the name of all who may sail aboard her in the future, we invoke the ancient gods of the wind and the sea to favor us with their blessings today.“Mighty Neptune, king of all that moves in or on the waves;“And mighty Aeolus, guardian of the winds and all that blows before them:“We offer you our thanks for the protection you have afforded this vessel in the past. We voice our gratitude that she has always found shelter from tempest and storm, and found safe harbor.“Now, wherefore, we submit this supplication, that the name whereby this vessel has hitherto been known, ‘[———],’ be struck and removed from your records.“Further, we ask that when she is again presented for blessing with a new name, she shall be recognized and accorded once again the selfsame privileges she previously enjoyed.“In return for which, we rededicate this vessel to your domain in the full knowledge that she shall be subject, as always, to the immutable laws of the gods of the wind and the sea.“In consequence whereof, and in good faith, we seal this pact with libation offered according to the hallowed ritual of the sea.”There.

Now you are free to christen your boat with a new name. It doesn’t pay to be too quick, though. Most of us like to wait at least 24 hours to give any lingering demons time to pack their duffel bags and clear out.


  1. Chuck been devouring your post, great stuff, thanks. We recently purchased a Marine Trader that has been on the hard for a few years. The forward fresh water tank had leaked, the result is the plywood under the tank and the V-berth cabin sole has all but rotted away. Any thoughts on how to lift the teak and holly sole to be able to r/r the rotten plywood?


  2. Bob, Our forward floor needed some repair but it was minor. We posted some of that here, and I don't know how much it will help. Our teak is what looks like 6 X 6 teak parquet, but it is actually only all of those tiny strips glued down over a sheet of fiberglass cloth laid over the plywood. The teak in the damaged area of our floor actually came up very easily with just a wide flat putty knife. The trick is "mapping" all of the pieces so they go back in the same place. The plywood does go under the built in cabinets so I don't see removing it and replacing it without the cabinets coming out. The good news is that ours are screwed to wooded strips and removing the screws lets you pull out the cabinets, at least on Beach House. You might be able to just replace parts of the plywood if the surrounding edges are sound. You can just cut out the bad parts, screw and epoxy wood strips under the edges where you cut it out, screw and epoxy new plywood in and put a layer of fiberglass cloth over everything to strengthen it. Then glue all of your teak pieces back in place. I don't know if this helps, but good luck, it sounds like a lot of work. Chuck


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