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Sailors Superstition

Updated: May 15, 2021

Lots of people, including sailors are superstitious. Many know not to change a boats name, and we’ve all heard “Red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning”. There are also some unusual ones - people with flat feet or red hair were considered bad omens, as were women on board, (unless they were naked, which was then said to calm the sea!).

Lose your hat overboard and the trip would be a long one, and bananas would cause a ship to disappear, (worrying for ships with cargoes of bananas).

Don’t leave port on a Friday, be careful not to “whistle up” too much wind and NEVER kill an Albatross.

Some superstitions are similar on land and at sea - cats are said to bring good luck, (needed to get a cat to sea in the first place!) but turn a loaf of bread upside down and your luck will turn.

Alongside superstitions, there are often lucky charms - many sailors have a pig tattooed on their feet to prevent drowning and guide them ashore.

Strange as these seem, there’s something reassuring about certain rituals – perhaps you have your own you’d like to share with us?


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