marine superstition

We can certainly feel lucky being part of the Semiahmoo boating community, a like-minded, good-natured group of nautical recreators enjoying marina and marine life and everything it has to offer. So the question is, can we also be nautically superstitious? A quick look through the annals of mariner history near and far suggest that we could be. Here are just a few maritime superstitions, which ones make sense to you?

Changing your boat’s name
Not a good idea to change your boat’s name as if you didn’t already know. Not only is it a pain to get those old decals off, the expense to order new ones, and set them so they look straight. It’s very bad luck. You might try just adding a letter to the beginning or end of the name like tattoo artists do when some of their customers have second thoughts.

Hat’s off, bad luck
If a sailor loses their hat overboard while out on deck, this means the voyage will be long and hazardous. It’s been heard that some sailors have risked their lives by jumping into the water to retrieve their hats, thinking it would make the trip safer.

Walking on eggshells
Sailors use to break the shells of an egg into tiny pieces and scattered them on the decks and in the passageways. Why? To ward off witches, of course! Stepping on the egg shells would warn the ship’s crew that trouble has come aboard!

No Bananas
You’ll have to eat your Cheerios without bananas when you’re out sailing. Apparently, in the 19th century, ships carrying bananas traveling between Spain and the Caribbean were routinely lost at sea. We’ve all heard of the Bermuda triangle. This is apparently the Banana rectangle.

A short work week for superstitious sailors
Thursdays or Thor’s day, the God of Storms, so it would only follow that you’d be an idiot to go out sailing on a Thursday. You’ll also want to avoid Friday. Sailors in previous centuries would skip Friday because it was the day Christ was crucified. Not sure of the connection here, but then again, I don’t understand why some people put marshmallow on a peanut butter sandwich. Finally, reconsider Monday has the first day of your fishing week. Caine killed Abel on a Monday, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed on a Monday, and I had a root canal on a Monday

Abandon clothes!
If you ever noticed older, classic sailing ships and yachts often had a carved figure a bare-breasted woman on the bow. Interestingly, in years gone by, it was considered bad luck to have a woman on board but not so much if they were without out clothing. On top of that conundrum, Neptune, famous god of the Sea, would get irate with sailors who didn’t pay attention to their sea duties. Mindful skippers decided to put the carved naked form of a woman on the bow to distract the god, so they could get to their destination safely.

There lots more superstitions about boating: don’t hurt an albatross, keep redheads off your boat, no whistling while underway, and pay your moorage fees or you’ll sink (I just made that one up). You get the idea. There may be a lot of history in the bilges of your boats, in your anchor locker or dock box. Anything you care to share?


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Are  boaters superstitious? If history is any indication, the answer is yes! — No Comments

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