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SLASPA TRIVIA- How are Ships Christened and Named?

Last week, we told you about the distress signal “Mayday” this week, we shed some light on how are ships Christened and named. Traditionally, the naming ceremony of a vessel took place in the ship yard at the time of launching and was for most companies a high ceremonial occasion. This used to happen in the days when ships were launched from inclined building ways, which was a rather dramatic process.

Now, a vessel is usually built in a drydock and simply floated out in surroundings that resemble a factory yard and a ceremonial scoop of the water which first touches the hull is taken. While Christening or Naming Ceremonies (the term used is dependent on the religion of the vessels owner) sometimes take place at shipyards, most often they are often organized to coincide with the vessel’s first visit to the initial port from which the vessel will operate out of.

The ceremony may include a blessing of the vessel by a priest and in the days when ships were named at the time of launching, a bottle of champagne was broken over the bow (the front of a ship’s hull), much like what has been portrayed in many movies and television shows. The individual naming the ship formerly called the vessel’s sponsor, is now called the Godmother. By tradition, it has been a woman and in more recent times a well-known celebrity. For instance, The Queen Mary ship name was given when the new Cunard company received the King George V’s permission to name the liner after “the greatest queen of Britain” – Mary of Teck and last year Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge – was named the Godmother of Princess Cruises vessel “Royal Princess”.

We hope you found this tidbit of information enlightening. Look out for our next issue of Portfolio next week.

For more information please call SLASPA at 457-6100 or visit