A Casual (But Proper) Boat Christening

 

As soon as we found our boat, Brian and I started thinking of new names. After giving it tons of thought, we decided on The Catalina Wine Mixer.

I know. It’s perfect :)

Renaming a vessel is a little controversial in the boating community. Some say it’s bad luck. Others say it’ll anger the sea gods. But, after doing a little research, we found that a simple boat christening (or re-naming) ceremony should help us to avoid the pitfalls of a name change. So that’s just what we did.

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After going through the proper channels (re-registering with the DMV and Coast Guard), removing all traces of the old name, and adding new decals, we started planning our re-naming ceremony. And I was surprised by how fun and meaningful it ended up being! The best part was having so many of our best friends there. It felt like a real milestone. And knowing that our favorite people cared enough to join us (in person and spirit) meant the world. Love you guys!

Here’s how to execute a casual (but totally proper) boat christening.

1) Gather the Ceremonial Supplies

First, you’ll need a bottle of champagne to break on the bow. This will serve to “wash away” all traces of the previous boat name. Head over to West Marine to pick up a bottle designed for this exact purpose! It’s already scored and comes enclosed in a bag so you won’t drop any glass in the water. Plus, it’s filled with sudsy water (not champagne) so you aren’t wasting the good stuff.

Next, you’ll need some wine to sacrifice to the sea gods. If you’re planning to take your friends out for a cruise after the ceremony, I imagine you’d already have plenty onboard.

Finally, track down a leafy green branch to lay across the bow. This symbolizes a safe return. It also looks pretty!

2) Say a Few Words

Welcome your guests, thank them for joining you, and give a quick explanation of the ceremony.

3) Speak to the Gods

Call upon the sea gods and thank them for keeping your boat safe under her previous name. Then, request that the gods erase all records of that name. Ask that they bless your boat under her new name and grant her safe passage on all future voyages.

4) Sacrifice (a Little Bit of) Wine

Seal your request with a small sacrifice of wine. It should be poured into the water from east to west. Be sure to save plenty for your guests, too!

 Sacrificing wine to the sea gods. And also King Triton.

Sacrificing wine to the sea gods. And also King Triton.

5) Break the Champagne Bottle

As you break the bottle of champagne on the bow (or anchor) of your boat, say, “I christen thee The Catalina Wine Mixer!”

 Breaking the bottle was really fun. I'm looking for an excuse to do it again.

Breaking the bottle was really fun. I'm looking for an excuse to do it again.

6) Toast with Your Guests

Time to celebrate! Share a quick toast with your guests and then get everyone onboard for your boat's first cruise under her new name.

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7) Embark on the Maiden Voyage

Enjoy a safe trip out to sea (or in our case, out to the bay) with your friends, knowing that the sea gods are smiling down upon your newly re-named boat.

 Cruising down the channel aboard the freshly christened Catalina Wine Mixer.

Cruising down the channel aboard the freshly christened Catalina Wine Mixer.

Christening our boat with her new, beautiful name was surprisingly sweet, and we had an awesome time with our friends. I’ll always cherish my memories (and the pictures - thanks, Mark and Sam!) from that day.

 You're never too young to become a sailor :)

You're never too young to become a sailor :)

 These two in their little life jackets were the best part of the day :)

These two in their little life jackets were the best part of the day :)

Fun fact: Our boat has now cruised under three different names. When we bought her, she was called The Lady’s Choice. But, her first owner called her The Sea Lizard, which I think is a totally badass name.