Superstitious Sailors

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Ever heard the phrase “as superstitious as a sailor”? Me either, as it doesn’t exist. HOWEVER, sailors are a superstitious bunch and this week we bring you some of their most interesting apprehensions. 

NO Bananas. 

In the 1700’s when a number of vessels seemingly disappeared, the common denominator appeared to be the humble banana. From this point on, bananas were seen to be bad luck on a vessel. (Not great news for our container Members who carry this fruit quite a lot). 

NO Women. 

How very sexist indeed but it seems us women were too much of a distraction for the seafarers and therefore bad luck. Although interestingly, naked women were seen as good luck due to their sea calming powers!

No Whistling. 

Seafarers obviously have some almighty pipes on them, as whistling was banned for fear that they would “whistle up a storm”. 

Black Cats. 

Finally the black cats have been cut some slack and are actually seen as good luck on board a ship. It is thought that the cats’ presence kept them safe (probably due to their love for the mice that destroyed ropes etc more than the colour of their fur). 

Red Sunrise. 

We’ve all heard the phrase red sky at night, shepherds delight but it seems that red sky in the morning is a sailors warning. You wake up to a red sky, you better be prepared because the day is going to be a dangerous one. 

Sea Friend or Foe. 

If a shark is following your ship then I’m sorry but call your family because death is inevitable. Unless of course followed by a friendly dolphin who will bring some good luck your way. 

Name Change. 

It is thought that once a vessel is named and christened, it takes on its own persona. Changing the name is therefore a big no no but if you absolutely MUST – ensure you have a de-naming ceremony. (This mostly consists of consulting Poseidon for his approval so as not to invoke his wrath). 

Not an exhaustive list of superstitions by any means but certainly an insight. Do you know of any we have missed? Get in touch via Twitter and let us know. 

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About the Author:

Superstitious Sailors

Claims Executive

Laura joined the company in 2012 and was employed in the European Regional Service Team for two years where she provided administrative support to all three Syndicates. In 2014 Laura joined London Syndicate 2 as a Trainee Claims Executive and has since been promoted from her trainee status. Laura is currently dealing with the German membership and is studying for her P&I Qualification.


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