How to christen a boat

Written by paul cartmell Google
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How to christen a boat
The Duchess of Cambridge follows tradition and cracks Champagne over the bow of The Royal Princess at its christening ceremony. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

The christening or naming of a boat or ship is often an important factor for those who sail ships and are superstitious about the use of rituals. Following the procedure for naming a ship can be important if a boat and her crew are to have good luck as they sail the boat; rituals grew for christening a boat amongst Mediterranean civilizations around southern Europe, according to Caribbean pirates. Throughout history different fluids have been used to christen boats, including blood poured over the boat by the Vikings.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Bottles of Champagne, wine or a beverage of choice
  • Glasses
  • Boat
  • Ceremony leader
  • Other people to witness the ceremony
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Cake
  • Knife

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Purchase a cake decorated with the name of the boat to be christened. Write down the name of the boat to be christened using the paper and pencil. Determine the type of ceremony to be used to christen the boat and write down a short speech to be given by the person leading the ceremony, including the traditional lines. "I name this boat, boat name. God bless her and all who sail on her."

  2. 2

    Fill a glass for each person attending the ceremony with champagne, wine or the drink of their choice. Read the ceremony written earlier aloud as the boat builders, crew and any special guests are watching with the boat out of the water or floating at a dock. The leader of the ceremony should thank the sailors who have gone before and those who are currently serving and ask for them to protect the boat. Drink a small amount of the provided drink.

  3. 3

    Thank the Gods of the sea and ask for their protection for the boat being christened, in ancient times Neptune and Poseidon were often called upon to protect the boat and her crew. Drink another sip of the beverage of choice after the protection of the Gods is called for.

  4. 4

    Call on the sponsor of the boat, usually a woman to officially name the vessel. Read "I name this ship, boat name. God bless her and all who sail on her." Break a bottle of champagne over the bow of the boat; when launching a smaller boat pour the chosen beverage over the bow after the words are spoken. Cut the ceremonial cake in the tradition of the Royal Navy to close the ceremony, offer cake to guests at the ceremony.

  5. 5

    Launch the ship into the water following the completion of the naming ceremony as everybody again drinks from their glass of champagne. Embark on the first voyage of the vessel with those attending the ceremony usually on board.

Tips and warnings

  • By ensuring the ceremony is followed precisely the good fortune of the vessel can be insured after it is launched.
  • Alcohol is generally used to launch boats, with beer and spirits often taking the place of champagne. As the ceremony is a simple tradition for good luck a family boat can be launched with any drink favoured by the family.
  • A cake is cut and eaten as part of the ceremony favoured by the British Royal Navy.
  • As with all situations involving broken glass the use of safety glasses should be common when breaking the bottle of champagne to avoid injury.

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