When in seas do as the sailors do

A brief guide to peculiar boat names that you may find when visiting harbours.

Today, more than ever, we can access a multitude of information at the speed of a click, yet we find out little on how to name (or rename) a boat. It may be because the seafaring traditions have been handed down orally and little, or at all, in writing and that we often act according to the customs or superstitions whispered in the ear. The fact is that few shipowners honor the rules on how to choose the name of their boat, as if to say to do not take life too seriously and we had fun finding out some pretty original examples to share with you.

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Uaglio' #nomidibarche

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“Uagliò” is a typical friendly Neapolitan interjection to say “good guy” or more generally “boy”.

But going back to the seafaring traditions, what are the rules or customs to respect?
Like cars, boats are a means of transport, but unlike the formers, they have a “proper” name to be identified in the multitude of boats and in the case of VHF radio communications. If harbors are full of Maria, Luisa and Anna, dedicated to wives, daughters, lovers and female shipowners, it’s great to prefer short names, but it’s even better if with a strong character. In fact, a short name not only simplifies the relative positioning in the stern without making use of creative graphic solutions necessary in the opposite case, but it also simplifies the printing on the crew’s uniform.

And if you are wondering about examples of names with a strong character, we suggest you think about constellations (Andromeda, Cassiopea or Cassiopeia, if you prefer the Latin variant, …) or Greek mythological figures (Ulysses, Calypso, …).
Alternatively, you can leave wide room for the imagination, as the owners of the following boats actually did:

Front: this clause means “I tell you then” as you don’t know yet and you still need time to think about the name of the boat.

Back: “Pensavo peggio” means “I thought it would be worse” said when you expect something to be worse.
“Je sò pazz” is another typical Neapolitan interjection meaning “I’m crazy!
Universal exclamation, no translation is needed!

If instead you are superstitious and want to avoid running into small, big mishaps, it is preferable not to rename your boat keeping the original name. In fact, there are many rumors about this with no happy-endings, but if you really do not want to give up, there are some effective antidotes like for example to put a gold coin under the mast or make sure that the shipowner spends time on board with a prostitute!
Luckily, there are still some fervent traditionalists firmly anchored in traditions! :

“Mortadea” is a feminine noun used in Veneto (northern Italian region) meaning one of the typical Italian cold cuts bologna or mortadella.

Adapting a famous quote by Hermann Hesse, all of this to basically say that:

“Every superior humor begins with the renunciation of the shipowner to take his boat too seriously”!

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