How to host a Boat Renaming Ceremony

What is a boat renaming ceremony?

Basically it’s a celebration of your new-to-you boat! On a more detailed level, It’s a time honored tradition to appease the Sea God, Poseidon. Different from a boat christening, the renaming ceremony signifies getting rid of the “old” or current name and bestowing your vessel with the new name you have chosen. There’s lots of different versions of renaming ceremonies out there so we gathered what we liked from a few and made it our own!

Things you’ll need:

  • Metal tag with a water-soluble ink marker to write on it with
  • Multiple Bottles of champagne (we used 4 and had one left over)
  • Champagne flutes
  • Friends/family/witnesses
  • “Master of Ceremonies” to read the quotes and perform the ceremonial champagne tossing
  • Bunting to cover up the new name if it’s already on the boat
  • Photographer to capture the event (optional but really fun to have!)

Things to do before the ceremony:

  • Take off, remove, erase, or white out any sign of the old/current name on your boat. This includes removing accessory items that had the old name embroidered, sewn, stuck, or written onto it. If it’s something that will come in handy and is needed, try to find a creative way to cover up the name.
  • Leave all items with the new name off the boat until the ceremony is complete.
  • Write the old/current name with water-soluble ink on a metal tag.
  • Gather all ceremonial items and have them staged and ready.
  • If you already have a new name and logo lettering on the boat, cover it up with a nice bunting.
  • Invite friends, family members, or cruising neighbors to witness the ceremony.

Ceremony Agenda:

  • Start the ceremony by purging the old name
  • Continue with the renaming portion of the ceremony
  • Pay homage to the four wind Gods
  • Drink champagne!

Purging Ceremony:

  • The old name should be removed, erased, or whited-out
  • Make sure the “Master of Ceremonies” has the prepared metal tag in hand
  • Have champagne and flutes at the ready
  • Gather on the bow of the boat (prepare to pour champagne from East to West)
  • Start the ceremony by saying:

“Oh Poseidon, 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 old/current 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.”

Then drop or toss the prepared metal tag from the bow of the boat into the water and continue saying:

“In grateful acknowledgment of your munificence and dispensation, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court.”

Immediately pour half of the bottle of champagne into the water from East to West. Share the remainder of that bottle with your guests.

Renaming Ceremony:

  • Have a 2nd bottle of champagne and flutes at the ready
  • Prepare to pour champagne from the West to the East
  • Continue the ceremony by saying:

“Oh Poseidon, 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 new name), 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, pour most of one bottle of champagne into the water from West to East and save enough for the Captain and First Mate’s cups.

Appease the Four Wind Gods

  • Have a 3rd bottle of champagne and flutes at the ready
  • Fill the “Master of Ceremonies” cup and prepare to toss it North
  • Continue the ceremony by saying:

“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.”

Face North, raise flute and say:

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.”

Fling the champagne contents to the North, refill flute.

Facing West, raise flute 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.”

Fling the champagne contents to the West, refill flute

Facing East, raise flute and say:

“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.”

Fling the champagne contents to the East, refill flute

Facing South, raise flute and say:

“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.”

Fling the champagne contents to the South

Congratulations! At this time, any champagne remaining can be shared and used to continue the celebration! Now you can remove any buntings or coverings over the new name and bring on board any items bearing the new name. Here’s to many adventures on your newly named vessel!

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