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You have done it, you’ve found the boat of your dreams.  The one that you know is connected to you and will be a part of your life for many years to come.

You have registered, licensed, and insured your pride and joy.  Purchased all the safety equipment, life jackets, and everything else you feel is needed and are ready to load up and set out for your first voyage.

DON’T DO IT.  You must first take care of the deities.

If you love the name the previous owner gave the boat and intend to keep it once you have completed your safety checklist, have your safety equipment, made sure your life jackets are on and fitting good, off you go.

BUT, if that is not the case – and you intend to change the name of the boat – do not THINK of going any further until you have “denamed” and then “renamed” your vessel.  You may consider this superstition, and it is.

Know this; superstition has been a part of the sea for as long as men have been finding ways to be seafaring.  To prevent the despair and misery which has been believed for centuries would surely fall down upon the crew and owners who have changed the names of their vessels, perform the following ceremonies.  Why take the chance, AND pass up the opportunity for fun and tradition.  Okay, keeping with the script: Do Not Tempt the God’s of the Seas.

First you must remove all evidence of the original name: log books, engine and maintenance records, maps, even life rings must be removed from the boat and transoms re-painted.  If the previous owner put the name on the boat itself with vinyl lettering use turpentine or something like it to remove the letters.  There should be NOTHING on board with the name – and I mean NOTHING, including on the boat herself.  Remember, we are not tempting the God’s here, so be thorough.

Assuming you have the new name picked out and are thrilled with it, purchase three bottles of Champagne.  It does not have to be the most expensive brand you can find, but since you will be sharing it with the God’s be sure you like it, too.

Now that you have removed all evidence of that other name and before you bring on board anything with the new name the ceremony must take place.  It may seem a bit long and wordy – it is – but well worth it.  Make sure some of your land-loving friends are on hand to take pictures – that will be well worth it, too.

Now, you must call for Poseidon (or Neptune) as he keeps records of all boats and knows them personally.  You are going to request him to remove the previous name from his books.

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 (say the previous 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. (At this point, drop the metal tag 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 shared with your friends.)

Now, your boat is officially “unnamed” in the eyes of Poseidon. Some people choose to wait 24 hours; I think while you have his attention, go on and rename the boat.  Make sure you have the other bottles near-by, as there are a few deities expecting a little nip of the bubbly, as well.

Again to Poseidon,

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 (say the new name of your vessel), 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. (At this point, one bottle of Champagne, keeping out one glass for the master and one glass for the mate are poured into the sea from West to East.)

You are not finished just yet; now speak to the Wind God’s to make sure the vessel will be protected in high winds.  Keep in mind the God’s of Winds are brothers and though you can do it all at once, you must speak their names each separately to appease them.

Here we go:

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

(Facing north, pour a generous amount of Champagne into a Champagne flute and fling to the North as you speak) 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.

(Facing west, pour the same amount of Champagne and fling to the West and say ) 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.

(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 endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your mighty breath.

(Facing south, repeat and fling 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 endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your scalding breath.

The remaining Champagne can be consumed as the celebration continues.  Do not display the newly painted transom with the new name until AFTER the ceremony.  At this time you can also begin to bring on board all the new items with the new name on them.

I cannot say enough how important it is to remove EVERY item with the previous name before doing anything, while preparing for the ceremony.  If not, and you find one small thing – a floating key ring perhaps – you will have to perform the ceremony in its entirety all over again.  And, as it does make for great pictures, a wonderful feel of tradition, and a good time, it does take away from the time you could be enjoying your new boat on the water.

So, be safe, be smart, wear those life jackets at all times, be insured, and know you now have the blessings of Poseidon.

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One Response to Keep Poseidon appeased: Renaming ceremony

  1. Bob says:

    For an old boat, but new to me, I prefer the previous name for the boat as opposed to the current name. What the ceremonial way of bringing back that previous name ?

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