De=naming your boat is an intriguing proposition. Maybe you bought the vessel from someone else, and the boat’s name just doesn’t fit your (or the boat’s) personality.
Or, perhaps the name has worn out its welcome, and it’s simply time to change it. Learn how to take your boat through the de-naming process, and view a modernized de-naming ceremony that should work for boats of all types and sizes.
Banish the Boat’s Existing Name
To begin de-naming your boat, remove everything that carries the vessel’s “old” name. If you painted the name on the transom or topsides, remove it while being careful not to damage the hull.
Repeat the process with the dinghy, outboard motor, and paddles/oars. If you have a Lifesling or other throwable device, or cockpit cushions, you must eradicate the existing boat name from all of them.
Next, gather boat papers, logbooks, or charts bearing the old boat name. Search the cabin for decorative cushions, plates, serving ware, and accent pieces with the existing name.
Remove all of these items from the boat immediately. If you can’t get the existing boat name off an item without causing damage, view this as a great opportunity to buy a new “fill in the blank” item (or two). Most importantly, don’t bring items with the “new” boat name onto the boat before you complete the de-naming ceremony.
Hold a Modern De-naming Ceremony
Finding de-naming ceremony text will be a challenge. In fact, “Good Old Boat” author John Vigor conducted an exhaustive search, and came up empty-handed.
However, he learned that a traditional ceremony contains five separate steps that must be completed in order. As Vigor is a resourceful sailor and a no-nonsense guy, he dispensed with the extensive language and created the shorter Vigor’s de-naming ceremony.
To summarize, you first thank the gods of the wind and the sea for protecting the vessel during her past travels. Next, you ask that the boat’s old name be stricken from the gods’ records. Next, you ask for the same protections under the vessel’s new name.
Finally, you seal the pact by pouring a libation (e.g. a bottle of reasonably expensive champagne) on the boat’s bow. To mark the occasion with a toast, buy a second bottle of champagne for yourself and any guests.
Prepare for the Re-naming Ceremony
Finally, prepare for the separate renaming ceremony, which requires specific text and two more bottles of champagne. You set your timetable for this event, which can occur shortly after the de-naming event or within a few days’ duration.
After you’ve officially renamed your vessel, she’ll have a distinctive name that matches her (or your) personality. To celebrate the occasion, consider registering your boat’s name with Boat Name Registry (or BNR).
As a BNR member, we’ll protect your boat name in your home port, and no other boat will be allowed to register that identical name. You’ll receive several additional benefits as well. To learn more, and register your boat name with BNR, click here.