Should I rename my boat? This is a question that plagues many ‘new to me’ boat owners. Often a boat will come with a name attached that is offensive or just plain stupid to the new owners. A couple in our club, Nate and Margaret bought ‘Island Time‘ and felt the boat needed a name more suited towards them. Thus they undertook the renaming ceremony and changed the name of the boat.
As most sailors know, Neptune has big ears and a long memory. So the very first step in re-naming your boat is to remove any and all traces of the original name. You can do this by using office white out or easier yet; cart it off the boat. Leave no stone unturned in your search for the slightest scrap of paper with a faded out penciled name on it. You’ll also want a small piece of metal with the old name on it. I like the print it yourself dog tag you can buy at bigger pet stores. Once you’re sure everything with the old name is off the boat (except the ingot, dog tag, you can proceed to remove the old name from Neptune’s memory…or ledger book. You’ll also need a bottle of champagne, doesn’t have to be top shelf but don’t use bargain basement either!
It’s important also to never bring aboard the new name until you’ve cleared the old one. Plus you have to keep the new name a secrete until the naming ceremony.
So here’s my version of de-naming:
“Oh powerful ruler of the oceans and seas, we who travel upon your great realm pay homage and ask you in your compassion to repudiate forever from your ledger and memory the name (your old name goes here) as she has ceased to dwell in your kingdom. As proof we give you this ingot (dog tag) engraved with her name to be dissolved through your powers and eternally be purged from the ocean (drop dog tag into water).
We thankfully offer these libations to you and your court.” (Here’s where you pour at least a half a bottle of champagne into the water from east to west. You and your guests can drink the rest.)
Now your boat is a nameless vessel. You can carry the old name log and stuff back aboard now. Generally the renaming ceremony is done right behind this ceremony but you can do it when ever you want. Just remember you’ll need more champagne.
So, my version of naming your boat:
“Oh powerful ruler of the oceans and seas, we who travel upon your great realm pay homage and ask you in your compassion to record forever in your ledger and memory this worthy vessel herein named (your new name goes here) guard her with your strong arm and trident assuring her of safe and swift passage throughout your kingdom.
We appreciate your kindness and in your honor we offer these libations to you and your court.” (At this point pour one bottle of champagne over the bow with the exception of one glass each for captain and mate. You both pour your glass into the water from west to east.)
Now that you’ve groveled before Neptune, you need to grovel for the four wind gods. This should assure you of fair winds and smooth seas. The gods of wind are brothers so you can do them all at the same time but need to address them by name.
“Hear us oh great rulers of the winds. Through your power our vessel will travel the wild and briny deep, we beg you to bestow on this worthy vessel (your new name) fair winds.” Now face north with a glass of champagne and toss it into the air as you say, “Boreas, ruler of the north wind, grant us permission to use your great powers in our lawful travels and spare us your frigid breath.”
New glass of champagne, face west and toss saying, “Zephyrus, ruler of the west wind, grant us permission to use your great powers in our lawful travels and spare us your wild breath.”
New glass of champagne, face east and toss saying, “Eurus, ruler of the east wind, grant us permission to use your great powers in our lawful travels and spare us your wicked breath.”
New glass of champagne, face south and toss saying, “Notus, ruler of the south wind, grant us permission to use your great powers in our lawful travels and spare us your fierce breath.”
Now place a silver coin for luck under or inside the mast and pass glasses of champagne around for all. You can now put the new name on your boat.
Re-naming your boat is a fun tradition and should give you an afternoon of great times with family and friends. I hope you’ve enjoyed my re-name your boat ceremony.
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