Naming a Boat!

Naming a boat can be fun and bring out your creativity, and what about re-naming a second hand boat; let’s look at what to consider!   

Don’t make a hasty decision when naming a boat that you could regret latter make it a name you can be proud of, easy to pronounce … something that speaks to you!  Think of a favorite location, what type of boat you have and the pleasure and adventure it will bring you!

A sail boat I adored was called ‘Levitation’, and that’s exactly what it did it levitated me into a place of pleasure and adventure; it was well named by a previous owner!  

Boaties I have known have named their vessels after a loved one, a pet or the lyrics of a song.  A Real Estate agent and auctioneer friend named his boat ‘No Reserve’.  I sailed to Tonga on a boat called ‘Wondering Willie’ (what was he thinking when naming a boat) and funnily he did have a lot of girls running in the opposite direction to him!

What should you consider; Naming a Boat?

First think of safety!

Make the name easy to pronounce and relay in times of an emergency, your life could potentially depend on this.  You don’t want a name that can be misinterpreted or hard to pronounce when calling it out on the emergency radio

Complicated spellings can also cause confusion, consider this when naming a boat, especially when you are using the phonetic alphabet to call the Coastguard in a crisis.

Think the feminine touch!

Boats are traditionally ‘she’s’ but you don’t have to go overboard with this.  A lot of boats bear a women’s name, maybe something personal to the skipper.  Too cute doesn’t generally work either. 

Avoiding Cliché’s  

Some names are very common and you see them repeatedly over different boats.  When naming a boat think outside the square and look for something original, something personal and unique to your boat! 

Some of the sail boats I have known have been called ‘Hard On’ (the wind of course), ‘Cool Running,’ ‘Keel Over,’ ‘Ocean Runner’ and ‘Ocean Spirit,’ ‘Wind Dancer and ‘Wind Breaker’ to name a few.  See the link below to get an alphabetical list of names.

                    Re-Naming a Boat!

But what about if you have bought a boat and you hate even saying the name with a vengeance ….. It is so awful and inappropriate it sticks in your throat when asked??  I am in that situation right now!  I am aboard ‘Jolly Roger’ …. Ugg hate the name!!  So how do I go about changing it? 

Nautical folklore is heavily wrapped up in superstitions!   One of the most famous superstitions is that if you re-name your boat it will anger the Gods of the sea, and will curse the boat with bad luck forever. 

What if you are in my situation and a previous owner has given your boat an absolutely cringe-worthy name?  Are you stuck with it?

Mythology says you can rename a boat without being cursed with bad luck as long as you undergo a special re-naming ceremony! 

Superstition says renaming a boat is tantamount to defying the deities. According to myth, every vessel's name is recorded in the Ledger of the Deep, which is Poseidon's (the Greek god of the sea) personal record book. To actually change a boat's name, you must purge its original name from the ledger.

Pour the champagne overboard to appease Neptune while splashing some on the boat hull. An alternative is to smash a bottle of champagne on the boat hull, so Neptune and the boat both get their appropriate portions. 

Then, while you're surrounded by family and friends, christen your boat as if it was the first time. This process is fraught with danger and tradition, and getting it right is a serious business.  However, you should take the advice below with a huge pinch of (sea) salt! 

Here is a basic summary for you to follow;

·         Remove all traces of the old name. Obviously, only do this once you have formally changed the registration but do not bring anything on board with the new name until this is done.

·         Perform a ritual ceremony!  See below.

·         Offer a sacrifice - champagne is the norm but a tot of rum, wine red or white might suffice, don’t forget to have enough for you and your freinds.

·         Attach the new name as soon as possible.

Neptune’s purging Ceremony 

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 (here insert the old name of your vessel) 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. (At this point, the prepared metal tag is dropped from the bow of the boat into the sea.) 

In grateful acknowledgment of your munificence and dispensation, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court. (Pour at least half of the bottle of Champagne into the sea from East to West. The remainder may be passed among your guests.

Neptune’s renaming Ceremony

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 (Insert your boat’s new name) the benefits and pleasures of your bounty, ensuring us of your gentle ministration according to our needs. 

(Facing north, pour a generous libation of Champagne into a Champagne flute and fling to the North as you intone:) Great Boreas, exalted ruler of the North Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your frigid breath. 

(Facing west, pour the same amount of Champagne and fling to the West while intoning:)  Great Zephyrus, exalted ruler of the West Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your wild breath.

(Facing east, repeat and fling to the East.) Great Eurus, exalted ruler of the East Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your mighty breath. 

(Facing south, repeat, flinging to the South.) Great Notus, exalted ruler of the South Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your scalding breath.

Oh! Neptune, you spirit God of waters great and small, on this vessel, by your grace, allow these sons and daughters all, to pass from port of hailing to their port of call, and on these sailing subjects make your gentle blessings fall.

“You who cause the seas to rage or lie in sweet repose, please list to we mariners here, your servants of the flows. This ship, the captain, the crew and all those who love the wind and seas – will follow where thee goes.”

Is this Re-Naming Ceremony Necessary! 

It’s entirely up to you what you do when naming a boat or re-naming it!  Do people actually carry out this ceremony?  An absolute yes!  Tongue in cheek or for a bit of fun I’m going to do it as many have before me! 

Richard Branson re-named his yacht Lady Barbaretta to Necker Belle with this ceremony, traditional words and some good champagne!

And take a look at the YouTube to see how others have done it!!!  If nothing else it’s a good excuse for a party!!

Boat name suggestions: Boat Names Australia  

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