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Whistling, Clapping, And Other Beliefs About Weather

Sailors have long held beliefs about the weather, and some of their superstitions have persisted to this day.

Here are some of the most common ones:

Whistling Aboard a Boat

Sailors commonly believed that whistling aboard a boat would bring bad weather. They thought that whistling challenged the wind and caused it to increase, which could bring in a storm. Singing on a boat may also have been forbidden for the same reason. However, if sailors were stuck on windless waters, they may have whistled in hopes of coaxing a breeze to blow them onward.

Clapping On Board

Some seafarers also believed that clapping on board would bring thunder. This belief may have come from the idea that thunder was the sound of the gods clapping their hands. To avoid bringing thunderstorms, sailors may have refrained from clapping on board.

Throwing Stones into the Ocean

Another superstition was that throwing stones into the ocean would cause storms with large ocean swells. Sailors may have believed that disturbing the water in this way angered the sea gods, who would then lash out with storms.

Bringing an Umbrella onto a Ship

Mariners were also wary of bringing an umbrella onto a ship. Because umbrellas are used in bad weather, it was seen as tempting fate to bring one on board. Instead, sailors may have relied on waterproof clothing and other protective gear.

Nailing a Horseshoe to the Ship’s Mast

To protect against storms and other misfortunes, sailors sometimes nailed a horseshoe to the ship’s mast. This superstition may have originated from the belief that horseshoes were lucky and could ward off evil spirits.

In conclusion, sailors had many superstitions about the weather and the sea. Some of these beliefs may seem strange to us today, but they were taken very seriously by sailors in the past.

The Truth About Women, Sirens, And Mermaids At Sea

Sailors have long held beliefs about women and mythical creatures at sea. Here are some of the most famous superstitions:

Bringing Women Aboard a Boat

One of the oldest and most well-known superstitions was that bringing women aboard a boat was bad luck. Sailors believed that women would distract them from their duties and arouse their passions, causing jealousy among crew members. This distraction was said to anger the ocean and cause bad weather or other revenge from the sea gods. However, this nautical superstition has been debunked, and women can now serve in the Navy and on fishing vessels without fear of bad luck.

Sirens and Mermaids

Early sailors attributed strange sounds they heard at sea to sirens and mermaids. Sirens, mythical creatures that are half-woman and half-bird, were fabled to lure sailors to their deaths by singing sweet songs that drew them into treacherous waters. Mermaids, half-woman and half-fish, were also blamed for the same deceptive songs. While these creatures are now recognized as mythical, they continue to fascinate and inspire stories.

Naked Women and Female Figureheads

Ironically, naked women were believed to calm the sea rather than agitate it. Many ship figureheads depict women with bare breasts for this reason. Sailors believed that the watchful eyes of the female figureheads guided the ship to safety. The ship itself was also referred to as “she,” because it acted as a protective mother that sheltered the sailors from an angry sea.

In conclusion, sailors’ superstitions about women and mythical creatures at sea have captured our imaginations for centuries. While some of these beliefs have been debunked, they continue to inspire stories and legends.

The Redhead Superstition:

Why sailors avoided people with red hair

Did you know that people with red hair were believed to be unlucky by sailors? Here’s what you need to know about this nautical superstition:

Redheads and Ships

Redheads were not welcome aboard ships and were avoided by sailors before beginning a journey. If a sailor met a red-headed person before boarding a ship, the sailor had to speak to the redhead before the redhead spoke to them. This would mitigate the bad luck of encountering a redhead before setting sail.

The Truth About Redheads and Luck

While it’s true that redheads were once thought to be unlucky, this superstition has been debunked. In fact, people with red hair are just as lucky as anyone else. So if you’re a redhead, don’t worry about any bad luck when boarding a ship or beginning a journey.

In conclusion, sailors’ superstitions about people with red hair have been around for centuries. However, there’s no truth to this belief, and redheads can rest assured that they’re just as lucky as anyone else.

Nautical Superstitions:

Words Sailors Avoided at Sea

Did you know that sailors had their own set of taboo words? Here are some words that seafarers avoided because they were believed to bring bad luck:


Saying the word “drown” while on a boat was believed to summon the event itself.

Good Luck and Goodbye

“Good luck” and “goodbye” were also forbidden, and it was unlucky for sailors’ wives to wave goodbye or call after their husbands once they left the house for a sea journey.

Words Pertaining to Land

Other words pertaining to land brought bad luck if mentioned while at sea, such as pigs, foxes, rabbits, and church.

Swearing While Fishing

Swearing while fishing was also seen as bad luck.

The Truth About Nautical Superstitions

While these superstitions may seem strange to us today, they were taken seriously by sailors in the past. In fact, many seafarers believed that breaking these taboos could bring disaster upon the ship and its crew.

In conclusion, sailors had their own set of taboo words that were believed to bring bad luck at sea. While these beliefs may seem outdated now, they were taken seriously by seafarers in the past.

Never Rename A Ship

According to seafaring superstition, once a ship is named and christened, changing its name is considered bad luck. Sailors believed that boats took on a life of their own once they were named, and renaming a ship was seen as an attempt to deceive the gods of the sea. Legend has it that every ship’s name was recorded in the “Leger of the Deep,” and changing the name without notifying Neptune, the God of the Sea, would result in his wrath.

Apart from the supernatural beliefs, early trading ships developed a reputation at ports based on their names. Changing a ship’s name could cause issues for the captain and crew while traveling and trading.

However, if a ship must be renamed, a de-naming ceremony is necessary before christening the boat again. This ceremony typically involves burning a piece of paper with the original name of the ship, placing the ashes in a box, and throwing them into the sea while the tide is going out. If the ceremony is performed away from the shore, the ashes can be thrown in a river to float downstream or in a lake during a full moon.

The de-naming ceremony may also involve removing all traces of the old name, including logbooks, paperwork, and the writing on the hull. Only after this official ceremony can the ship be christened again with its new name, and this is believed to ward off any potential bad luck.

Never Kill The Albatross

To avoid bad luck, sailors believed it was unlucky to kill an albatross. As depicted in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” a ship and its crew faced numerous misfortunes after a crew member shot a friendly albatross that had visited the boat. Many Seabirds are believed to carry the souls of deceased sailors, so killing one was considered a bad omen, while seeing one was considered a good sign.

Never, Ever, Ever, Bring A Banana On A Boat.

Why are Bananas Bad Luck on a boat, is an unusual nautical superstition that began in the 1700’s that is still persistent today. When trade ships sailing from the Caribbean & Spain started to disappear, legend has it that only the curved yellow fruits would be found floating amongst the wreckage. Seafarers believed the bananas had caused the ship to sink. Which leads to many rumors back at dock and throughout the seas.

What About Fishing Boats?

Fisherman also believe Bananas are bad luck, as well as blame them for not catching fish, mechanical issues, or even bad weather. One reason could be that Bananas are naturally sweet and sticky, and they also release ethylene gas which some believe that acts as a natural fish repellent.

Along with Bananas on board the boats being fish repellent they also have been said to cause mechanical issues on well-maintained vessels. Some have said they had the bait well quit on them and killed all their bat before they even began fishing, some have also said they arrive at the first spot, drop anchor and then the boat won’t start back up. Any of us who’ve experienced boat trouble knows the unique feeling of helplessness of drifting in the wind on a boat with a dead motor, hoping someone comes by and tows you back to the ramp.

Call it what you want, but many report going out on a gorgeous day, with no rain or storms in the forecast, only to be chased back to shore by thunderous clouds, pouring rain and worst… Lightning! If you’ve ever been in a FL storm, but when you are the tallest thing on the water and lightning starts to strike the water next to you and you are blinded by the light (no pun intended) is never a fun time.

So, we are not taking the chance with this happening to us, so We DO NOT Allow Bananas onboard ANY of our Fishing Boats/Trips

Here Are A Few More Reasons Why Bananas
May Be Bad Luck

#1 – Spiders

Spiders were a problem for early merchants trading bananas in the 1600 & 1700s. Ships of all sizes would pull up to the dock and load crates of bananas on board their ships, unaware that these banana spiders had gotten inside.

Not all spiders were banana spiders but most are invasive and would stow away and would end up on board the ship, sometimes even lay eggs that would later hatch… with some of the crew getting bit and spending days at sea, with no knowledge of a cure or sometimes without an experienced medical professional, just Buckeye Bill with a sword and a flintlock pistol, the crew would die and then arrive at port with part of the crew dead or extremely sick, it is easy to see why people say bananas on a ship are bud luck. Thankfully due to the advances in medical technology we now do have the knowledge and resources to properly identify, cure, and care for spider bites.

#2 – Ethene Gas

Some sailors back in the 1700’s believed the bananas were bad luck because they would store hundreds of them in the same cargo hold as the rest of their rations and they would spoil. Sometimes it would leave them with little to no food for their journey, occasionally it would take longer due to storms, huge waves, or getting lost. But how did this happen?

Bananas make other fruit ripen because they release a gas called ethene (formerly ethylene), and cause other fruits to ripen faster by breaking down the cell walls and converts the starches into sugars which removes the natural acids.

Some other fruits and vegetables also give off ethene gas includes: apples, melons, apricots, tomatoes, avocados, peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, and figs.

#3 – Fires

As mentioned above about the Ethene Gases causing fruits and vegetables to ripen faster, which also speeds up the fermenting process… Sailors and merchants exploring new lands had no clue about about these new foods that they had never seen before. They would take hundreds of them and store them in their holds.

Unknowingly, not only did the bananas and other fruits and vegetables would spoil and stink as they started to ferment, they would also produce an alcohol that would combust and cause devastating fires that would cause the wooden ships to be engulfed in flames. With no fire suppression systems, running water, or even the coast guard to help aid these sailors, they would ultimately be sent to Davy Jones Locker

If they were lucky enough to escape the fire, they would find themselves in a raft, no where close to land, drifting, with no food just waiting to be found by another ship taking the same route. Hoping the weather didn’t turn for the worse. Thus furthering the belief that bananas are bad luck on boats.

#4 – Banana Flotsams

Besides all the things previously mentioned above, Another fact to strengthen the Bad Luck Banana myth, would be after these ships wrecked due to fires, storms, uncharted reefs, sandbars or islands, other ships would discover these wreckage by the debris and… you guessed it bananas.

As many do not know, Bananas float. Try it for yourself if you don’t think its true. With no distress signals, radios, or even coast guards, these ships would wreck and had no one to tell that the ship was going down. So they would find the wreck and all the floating bananas would only make the myth more true by the time it got back to dock.


Whether or not you are superstitious, its a little hard not to believe the rumors that bananas are bad luck on board a boat.

Given the amount of stories and rumors spread and the amount that is well documented in naval history, fisher people worldwide are convinced that bananas on board the fishing boat is bad luck but they will be the first ones to blame everyone and thing else besides their knowledge on how to catch fish.

But we whatever you may call it, we do not allow bananas on board our fishing vessels here at Kraken Charters