How To Rename A Boat

How To Rename a Boat? Let’s Sail Into a New Name

First things first, changing a boat name should be your last harbor. The ancient maritime tradition says that the god (or goddess) of the sea shall not recognize a boat under her new name and may get angry with her. Such translates to bad luck, not necessarily but the possibility.

Thus, if the name is already lucky for the boat, the good idea is to keep it.

However, we acknowledge the need, and in this post, we discuss how to rename a boat. In short, you must remember two aspects: incline to the legal procedure, then optionally show respect to the superstitions.

You are reading this post, which means you cannot sleep with the old name of your boat. After that, you will have evaluated all metaphysical risks and dangers, the government fees will have satisfied you, and you will be steady with your decision.

Here is the comprehensive guide on how to change the name of a boat legal-wise, and avoid (or minimize) bad luck at the same time.

How To Change A Boat Name
“Just For Now” yet might stick for a little bit longer.

How to Legally Change a Boat Name

The legal change of the boat name is an existing procedure, nothing scary here. It is called Redocumentation and/or Exchange of Certificate. Again, no hardship brings, but it consumes time, and you do it with the Coast Guards.

It may take up to several months to process all the documentation you submit, so you plan your sailing activity accordingly (you may not navigate without a boat name).

First, you have to navigate to the Coast Guard website and type into the search box REDOCUMENTATION. The result will guide you further.

NOTE We do not offer direct links to the forms here, because the forms may have newer versions and revisions at any moment, then the old links become useless or obsolete. Local search on the USCG (Coast Guards) website is the best way for the case!

Basically you are going to accomplish: you cancel the old certificate and they issue a new one.

Eventually, you will reach out to the National Vessel Documentation Center pages of the Coast Guards website using this search. The appropriate forms you are looking for are there, available for download.

Note that before you send any forms to the Coast Guards, you’ll be required to pay a small fee for changing the name of the boat, oh sorry, to Exchange the Certificate of Documentation (this is how it is called officially).

The fee equals something below $100.

Then you follow the instructions! Honestly, they are militarily precise; you can hardly go the wrong way. However, give special attention that you’ll need to show both names of your boat in the Form.

When we tried, the new name went first, then the old name in parentheses followed, like this:


Fill in that Form, pay the tribute, pack all into an envelope, and send it to the Coast Guard by mail.

Then wait for their reaction. That’s it.

TIP If your ship is subject to a mortgage, you’ll also need the satisfaction of the mortgage.

TIP 2 In case you don’t have an idea for the new name, look here: How To Name a Boat?

Changing a Boat Name Without Bad Luck

You want to change the name of your boat, and you wish to minimize the bad luck, of course.

But first, we list up the last reasons why not keep the old name, just in case.

She is in the listing, and you already hate her name. Why not rethink the purchase: do you really want to buy her? Even though she is a unique opportunity indeed, may it be that bad luck has already started? May it be you haste too much, blinded. Spitting into the wind is always a self-defeating strategy, after all.

The boat name you dislike at a glance can be cool once deciphered. Try to understand it. Do research what it really stands for.

From My Experience

Once I wished to buy a steel ketch from the listing, and she seemed unique, strong, and heavy. All I wanted by the moment! The images showed how she endeavors through ice in the Drake Straight.

She was winning my heart, but the name was “Anti-Clockwise” in Norwegian. Not the best one, I thought, so it made me dig for information to understand what Norwegians mean about being anti-clockwise and how that word got composed language-wise. My findings satisfied me.

Stay philosophical, and consider psychology too. Although you already know changing the name summons bad luck, you may find it uneasy about releasing the trouble from your head completely. Sorry for saying that. However, you may perform appropriate “ceremonies” to cool down the fears, but will it be enough to turn off your fears?

Okay, your intention is yet serious, and we are telling you everything we know about how to rename avoiding future bad luck.

Maybe the most popular superstition states that you must wipe out the previous name: all its appearances from everywhere. Such includes:

  • A key chain.
  • A photo on a wall.
  • Sails.
  • Safety rings.
  • Life-vests.
  • All exterior carvings (which is also a legal requirement).
  • Any mentions in the cabin too.

Once done, the “god of the sea” will be tricked as if she is a new boat and won’t be frustrated by the two names she wears simultaneously. Although nobody knows his plan for the “new boat, ” at least he will not turn furious about the deceit.


This one seems pretty reasonable to calm the psychological worries, except that we do not know for sure if the god of sea has WiFi down there. If he loves to browse photos on social networks, where you cannot wipe out all photos containing the old name, you’re f**ed.

The vast internet cable network spreads along the ocean bed, in the Pacific, in the Atlantic, and the god of the sea may enjoy an excellent connection, he-he.

Another “recipe” offers a ridiculous parade (a mild definition) for you to perform. Like, to avoid bad luck coming from renaming your watercraft, you need to chant fabricated “pagan prayers” and talk loud to the North Wind personified. The said is only a mere part of the full/fool exhibition.

We do not reckon this one is anything serious, but we mention it as promised a “comprehensive guide” for you.

The third one offers using alcoholic drinks, simple as that! Just booze wildly aboard, celebrate your boat reborn under the new name, alcohol is an old maritime tradition after all. Hitting the bow with a bottle of champagne is optional but fun.

TIP Using a grog or bumbo recipe, a traditional pirate’s (and English navy’s) beverage, shall count as an advantage.

Honestly, the latter seems reliable to me, yet we declare no encouragement. Out of all three, this is what we do for our birthdays, our promotions, new partners, new contracts, and new property, along with another one hundred types of celebrations that we hold in life, right? The idea works.

Let heavens not end giving love,
Nor cease your sailing pleasure!
You’ve changed the Lady’s Sign abaft,
You booze a proper measure.
With less, your pride will downside,
A pump will b’ sipping bolder. 
But more — will promptly turn the tide,
So contract half seas over.

“How do you rename your boat?” (a verse by Igor)

How to Rename a Boat – Summary

The superstitions are in our heads to help us realize our fears and release them. Whether any superpowers exist, wise men say: “God is answering good men without prayers.”

So stay good, touch wood, rename your yacht the way your heart desires, and no hustle in sailing, including your decision to change the boat’s name.

And be serious about removing the old name from everywhere.

Good luck, Captain!


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igor desperatesailors

Hi, I’m Igor, Skipper of S/Y "The Hooker". A decade ago, I conquered my childhood dream: to be a sailing skipper, own a sailing yacht. Yes, it knocked dullness out of my urban life — Read more →

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