Changing the Name of Your Boat

Many people like to change the name of their boats when they first acquire them. It may come as a surprise to learn that there are a lot of age-old superstitions surrounding this. Fisherman may be the first to have come up with some of these, as their catch is often precluded by how they pleased their gods. They would not launch a boat on a Friday, as it was considered bad luck. This still holds with many serious boaters and fisherman today. Another one is not to name your boat after your wife. Your mother, your daughter, your grrandmother would be fine, but wives, it is said, come and go. The same could be said for husbands, of course, although boats tend to generally be thought of as female. Now and then, however, I have lettered boats with men’s names. Hopefully they were named after a father, son or grandfather.

Another superstition about changing the name of your boat I’ve heard is that if you do change the name of your boat, it is best to do it when the boat is not in the water. This is easy enough, as most of the time a new boat will be hauled out and inspected before the purchase. This is often the perfect time to letter the boat, when accessibility is easy and the boat is up in the air.
boat name change
Of course, you may choose to avoid these superstitions altogether and name your boat the same as your wife, launch it on a Friday and have the lettering done when it’s in the water.

These boat name change superstitions go way back to a time when getting around this world was done by way of the sea. The sea is a powerful and often finnicky mistress. There are voyages that go without incident, and others that are ridden with trouble. There are still cultures that pander to superstition, and individuals within every society may be found that step lightly where these issues arise. Mother Nature has no rhyme or reason to her; we are all victims of her antics now and again. Personally, I find no harm in adhering to some of the rules. We are not talking about pagan rituals, with sacrifices and candlelight seances at midnight. I see no problem with launching on a Saturday instead of a Friday, and naming a boat after a favorite pet, and changing the name of the boat while it’s up in the air. Why stir up trouble?

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