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How to Christen Your New Boat

First of all, make certain that you invite everyone to the christening who is important to the boat. That should include your kids, the family pet, gramma and grampa, and if you think you can con Uncle Harry into buying some bait once in a while, invite him too. Distribute plastic champagne glasses to all the attendees. If you give them glass glasses, somebody is bound to drop one, and then you have to interrupt the ceremony to sweep it up. It's not good to interrupt the ceremony. 

Someone with a strong voice, preferably who can impersonate Richard Burton, begins by saying: 

"For thousands of years, we have gone to sea. We have crafted vessels to carry us and we have called them by name. These ships will nurture and care for us through perilous seas, and so we affectionately call them "she." To them we toast, and ask to celebrate (the name of your boat)." Then everybody raises their plastic glass filled with champagne or your favorite non-alcoholic beverage and shouts, "TO THE SAILORS OF OLD…TO (the name of your boat)." Everybody takes a sip. 

Lord Burton continues. "The moods of the sea are many, from tranquil to violent. We ask that this ship be given the strength to carry on. The keel is strong and she keeps out the pressures of the sea." Again the glasses are raised, and the assemblage shouts, "TO THE SEA...TO THE SAILORS OF OLD...TO THE SEA!" Everybody takes another sip. 

Continue. "Today we come to name this lady (name of your boat), and send her to sea to be cared for, and to care for the (name of your family) family. We ask the sailors of old and the mood of God that is the sea to accept (your boat's name) as her name, to help her through her passages, and allow her to return with her crew safely. " Again, with the raising of the glasses, "TO THE SEA...TO THE SAILORS BEFORE US...TO (the name of your boat)." A last, long sip by all.

Now pour champagne over the bow to appease King Neptune, and lay a branch of green leaves on the deck to ensure safe returns. (Breaking the bottle across her prow is optional for a recreational vessel, and should be done only if all safety precautions have been taken, and after the bottle has been properly scored for a clean break.) 

What in the world does all this have to do with boating safety? Well, I guess it all depends on how superstitious you are. And there's no endeavor that carries with it more superstition than that of going off to sea.


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