Maritime Superstitions
and Customs

It is unlucky to start a cruise on Friday.
This is the day Christ was crucified on.


Never start a voyage on the first Monday in April.
This is the day that Cain slew Able.


Don't start a voyage on the second Monday in August.
This is the day sondom & gommrrah was destroyed.


Starting a cruise on Dec. 31 is bad.
This is the day Judas Iscariat hanged himself.


Black traveling bags are bad luck for a seaman.


Avoid people with red hair when going to the ship to begin a journey.
Red heads bring bad luck to a ship, which can be averted if you speak to the red-head before they speak to you.


Avoid Flat-footed people when beginning a trip.
They, like red heads, are bad luck. The danger can be avoided by speaking to them before they speak to you.


A stolen piece of wood mortised into the keel will make a ship sail faster.


A silver coin placed under the masthead ensures a successful voyage.


Disaster will follow if you step onto a boat with your Left Foot first.


Pouring wine on the deck will bring good luck on a long voyage.
A libation to the gods.


Throwing stones into the sea will cause great waves and storms.


A stone thrown over a vessel that is putting out to sea ensures she will never return.


Flowers are unlucky onboard a ship.
They could later be used to make a funural wreath for the dead.


Priests are not lucky to have on a ship.
They dress in black and perform funural services.


Women on board a ship make the sea angery.


A naked woman on board will calm the sea.
This is the reason for naked figureheads


Don't look back once your ship has left port as this can bring bad luck.


A dog seen near fishing tackle is bad luck.


Black cats are considered good luck and will bring a sailor home from the sea.


Swallows seen at sea are a good sign.


Sighting a curlew at sea is considered bad luck.


A comorant sighted at sea is bad luck.


Dolphin swimming with the ship are a sign of good luck.
Killing one will bring bad luck.


It is unlucky to kill an albatross.


It is unlucky to kill a gull.
They contain the souls of sailors lost at sea.


Handing a flag thru the rungs of a ladder is bad luck.


Looseing a mop or bucket overboard is a sign of bad luck.


Repairing a flag on the quarterdeck will bring bad luck.


Turning over a hatch will cause the hold to fill with seawater.


Cutting your hair or nails at sea is bad luck.
These were used as offerings to Proserpina, and Neptune will become jealous if these offerings are made while in his kingdom.


Church Bells heard at sea mean someone on the ship will die.


St. Elmo's Fire around a sailors head means he will die within a day.


When the clothes of a dead sailor are worn by another sailor during the same voyage, misfortune will befall the entire ship.


If the rim of a glass rings stop it quickly or there will be a shipwreck.


Never say the word Drowned at sea.


The caul of the head of a new-born child is protection against drowning and will bring the owner good luck.


The feather of a wren slain on New Years Day, will protect a sailor from dying by shipwreck.


A ships bell will always ring when it is wrecked.


A shark following the ship is a sign of inevitable death.
Sharks were believed to be able to sense those near death.


A sailor who died from violence or being lost at sea was said to go to "Davy Jone's Locker".


A sailor with over 50 years of service was said to go to "Fiddler's Green" when he died.



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