Is it really bad luck to rename a boat?

Most people have heard that renaming a boat is bad luck.  Apparently, this results from failing to properly advise Neptune (god the sea, AKA Poseidon) and the deities that rule the elements. Fortunately, there are some tried and true steps to notify the powers that be and keep things right with the universe.


Compilation of images of Neşko prior to being renamed Arkadaslik.

Compilation of images of “Neşko” prior being renamed “Arkadaslik”.

January 2015

In a few weeks, Neşko will begin a significant transformation – including a change in legal ownership, registry and name. There are agencies that take care of mountains of paperwork required by the government to document these changes. Fortunately, all I have to do is provide some information, pay the fees, wait a few weeks, paint the new name on the side of the boat and VOILA – done!


Compilation of photos of Turkish gulet Neşko before being renamed Arkadaslik.

Every time I tell someone that I’m planning to change Neşko’s name, they regale me with horror stories. Tales of ill-fated boats whose unsuspecting owners  faced disaster after disaster. Well-maintained boats developed terminal engine problems. Firmly anchored boats drifted into rocks and sank. Small boats developed big leaks. And big boats tipped over in perfectly calm seas. Yikes – changing the boat’s name might be a bigger issue than I first thought!

Thanks to the Internet, I learned that renaming a boat CAN be bad luck. Apparently, this comes as a result of failing to properly advise Neptune (god the sea, AKA Poseidon) and the deities that rule the elements. And, the penalties appear to be much more severe than fines assessed by any governmental authorities.

We followed all the recommended steps for renaming a boat when transforming Nesko to Arkadaslik

We followed all the recommended steps for renaming a boat when transforming Neşko to Arkadaslik.

Fortunately, the Internet also outlines several ceremonies that can be followed to ensure the Ledger of the Deep is updated correctly, thereby avoiding such potential disasters:

  • To begin, purge everything with the old name from the boat. EVERYTHING. Life buoys, dinghy, log books, charts, everything. All traces of the old name must be completely removed. EVERYTHING!
  • Next, write the old name on something that will sink. (There was some confusion here – some references suggested using water soluble ink, and others insisted on using insoluble ink.  For safety, I did one of each.) Drop the item into the sea while asking Neptune to remove the boat’s old name from his records. This is usually done in front of witnesses, and usually involves some sort of libation which must be shared generously with Neptune!
  • A day (or more) later, you can hold the boat naming ceremony. (I assume the one-day delay allows for Neptune and his administrative staff to complete their paperwork.) This ceremony is the “big one” we’ve all seen on TV. Everyone in their finest outfits, a bottle of champagne smashed on the hull. There are speeches, invocations to Neptune and the winds, clapping, and sometimes the Queen of England and other assorted royalty are in attendance. Of course, it also involves libations, for guests and gods alike. The internet warns again, don’t be stingy with the drinks – be sure to share with Neptune!
  • Items with the boat’s new name can only be brought onboard AFTER the boat naming ceremony is complete. And nothing with the boat’s old name are ever brought back on board. EVER!
Compilation of Nesko pictures

Except for the electronic images in this article, there’s nothing left with the name “Nesko” onboard the boat!


June 2017

We diligently followed all the steps and had a pretty major celebration in early May 2015. when we relaunched “Arkadaslik” and safely cruised to Rhodes with nine wonderful guests for our inaugural journey on the newly named boat.  We’ve had a few onboard hiccups since then, but, for the most part, the boat formerly known as Neşko has kept us safe and sound.  I think it’s fair to say “we’re believers”!


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