Removing an Old Name

Removing an Old Name Jul 28, 2020

Traditionally, renaming any boat is considered to be very unlucky. However, if you must do it, there is a procedure and de-naming ceremony, followed of course, by a re-naming ceremony.

The legend goes that each vessel is known personally to Poseidon, or Neptune, the God of the Sea.  Each boat name appears in the Ledger of the Deep. Therefore, before we simply rename a boat, the first thing we must do is to purge the name from the Ledger of the Deep and from Poseidon’s memory.  According to, here are the 5 preparatory steps required, before the ceremony:

  1. You must prepare the vessel: you must remove all physical traces of the boat’s old name.
  2. Take the old log book ashore, along with any other papers that bear the old name.
  3. Check for offending books and charts with the name inscribed.
  4. Sand away the old name from the lifeboats, transom, top-side, and oars. Yes, sand it away or replace. Painting over is not good enough. King Neptune can see through the paint.
  5. If the old name is carved or etched, remove it dig it out and fill it sand it and then paint over.

Then perform the De-naming Ceremony, one version of which appears below, that should be spoken aloud from the deck:

I bid hail !! Aeolus and Poseidon !
And seek your benefaction upon this vessel,
May the name she carried before, be gone as the winds of yore,
Having served the former master with honour.
I now, with deep respect, petition you royal beings,
To prepare this vessel to receive new hailing and her next voyages, your kindnesses.

DO NOT put the new name anywhere on the boat before the de-naming ceremony is carried out. (That’s just tempting fate.) It is said that you must wait one full day (24 hours) to allow the name purge from the Ledger of the Deep. So to get it completed in a single weekend, start the process on Saturday morning, and do the renaming ceremony (see next issue) on Sunday morning.

Want to see the name of your boat here? Just email me ( ) a photo of the transom of your boat and a short (150 word) story of how you choose the name. 

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