Myths and superstitions from the world of sailing

If you are new to the world of sailing, some of the following superstitions must be strange, even ridiculous to you, but many sailors believe these until this very day, so be prepared before you get on board.


According to one of these superstitions whistling on board is forbidden, because it wakes up a storm.


It is said that changing the name of a boat brings bad luck. However, if it is still necessary, it is recommended to hold a so called de-naming ceremony. For example, you have to write the former name of the boat on a piece of paper, but it in a wooden box, burn it and throw the ashes into the sea. Only after such a ceremony it is recommended to have the renaming ceremony.


Interestingly enough, red heads on board could also mean bad luck. The only way to avoid it is if you talk to them, before they could talk to you. (It means a little difficulty if you are a red head yourself.)


This must be one of the weirdest superstitions: it is bad luck to bring banana on board. Some believe they will not catch fish on their way, or what is worse, they could even get lost. The origin of this could be the fact that bananas can spoil easily, so ships with bananas on board had to sail quicker which could cause unwanted trouble. Some say that it is because deadly spiders could hide among the bananas. Anyway, we wouldn’t risk…


Women being on board could distract sailors, for which the jealous sea would take revenge. However, the situation is different with naked women, the sight of which calms the sea –maybe this is the reason why so many ships were decorated with a half-naked woman on the bow of the ship. We are wondering though, how a naked woman couldn’t distract a sailor…


Okay, this is a weird one too, because you rarely would hunt for albatrosses when you enjoy your holidays, but it is still good to know that harming them means really bad luck, because it is believed that they carry the souls of dead sailors. However, seeing one means good luck.

  • HAIR

Have you ever wondered why sailors always were so hairy? It is not laziness. There’s one superstition which stated that if you cut nails or hair on board, it also means bad luck.

+1. CATS

Just to mention something from the positive myths as well, having a cat on board always means good luck, especially if the cat walks on board on its own. Cats kill rodents which saved the wood of a ship and also prevented many diseases.

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