What’s in a name?

As is well known most boats are given names. Often the name is a reflection of the owner. Sometimes the boats have good names and some, in my opinion are just ‘corny’.  I seldom use the name that has been given mine.  I mostly refer to her as ‘my boat’ or ‘the boat’.  It’s possible this is disrespectful to her but I plan to change the name so I am trying to not get used to it and so that everyone else doesn’t get used to it. As far as I am aware it is the same name she was originally given 25 years ago.   It’s not a bad name, I like it but it isn’t ‘me’ and there are a lot of other boats with the same name.

Changing the name of a boat is a contentious issue.  There are those who say ‘just change it’ and then there are those with a little superstition suggest it should have a proper name changing ceremony to avoid bad luck.  Based on my experiences to date I think I am going to err on the side of caution and do it ceremonially.   Maybe not so much to incur the wrath of the Gods but also for a lot of the fun of it.

It seems there are a few differing guidelines for a name changing ceremony but they all seem to have a few commonalities.  Everything I have read suggests striking the old name from everything on board.  They also call on the Gods to bless all those who have sailed on her, strike the old name from Neptune’s ledger and then invoke the Gods of the four winds for fair weather.  But why do we always seem to instantly recognise Neptune the God of the Sea?  Neptune is a God to the Romans but most other cultures all have their own names for their Gods of seas and waters.

With so many Australian indigenous tribes and territories I haven’t been able to find a local name and since I live in the Pacific region and is where I plan to do the majority of my voyaging I think I will invoke a Pacific God when I do change the name.  Tangaroa is used in the Maori culture and I guess is also recognised by other Polynesian cultures.  So it sounds good to me.


At the moment ‘my boat’ sits patiently waiting in Mackay marina for me to get time off work to go back north and bring her all the way home.  Once home I will go through a ceremony and change her name.  More of that for another time…….


  1. Will there be a sacrifice to Tangaroa? Or offerings of rum and cheeses?
    And when your boat has been thusly named, will there be an official flash mob dance of sorts???:D


  2. I am right there with you on the name changing and did a lot of research on how to do it right. The ceremony where I write the old name on a piece of paper, light it on fire and send it into the water to burn out seems perfect to me to release the old and bring in the new. Cant wait for your new adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

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