Good Luck Superstition

Common Superstitions For Good Fortune

Is there such a thing as good luck superstition that really works?

It depends on who you ask of course. Whether we actually believe it or not we mostly figure that it can't hurt and actually do some of these things. Crazy? Possibly, but you just might find that you have adopted some of the following superstitious behaviors yourself. I mean, it can't hurt - right?

Many superstitions began at sea. In an environment over which they had very little control, sailors of old believed that performing certain actions could bring them safely home from the sea.

Here's a collection of common superstitions that sailors of old believed brought good luck to a voyage.

Common Superstitions of Old Time Mariners

  • Smash a bottle against the hull of the boat before beginning a voyage to ensure a safe return. Make sure it breaks! If it doesn't, it could bring bad luck

  • An old Good Luck Superstition includes stepping aboard using the right foot first to start the journey off on the right foot.

  • Having a black cat aboard brings a sailor safely home from sea.

  • Wearing an earring ensures that a sailor won't drown. It's been learned since that life-jackets are more efficient. I'd get both ... just in case

  • A naked woman on board calms the sea and ensures smooth sailing.

  • Tattoos provide protection for sailors.

  • A child born on the ship brings good luck to all aboard.

  • Toss an old pair of shoes overboard as you depart on a journey and good luck follows you on the voyage.

  • The caul of the head of a newborn baby is protection against drowning and will bring the owner good luck. (again, with the life-jacket)

  • Neptune likes rum and the offer of a shot overboard ensures his protection for the duration of the journey. We share whatever we're drinking with Neptune when we're beginning a voyage. He seems to like tequila and wine too.

  • Swallows seen while at sea are a happy sign.
  • Good luck abounds when dolphins are seen swimming with the ship goes an ancient Good Luck Superstition.

  • A gecko living on board is viewed as good luck. They eat bugs too.

  • Placing a silver coin beneath the mast (heads up) ensures the vessel has successful commissions.
    Pacific Jade (our boat) had a Canadian silver dollar under the mizzen mast when we un-stepped it for repairs. We made sure the coin was there when the mast went back in.
  • Pouring wine on deck prior to departure on a long journey pleases the gods and ensures a safe voyage. (It doesn't do much for the decks though)
  • To avoid dying by shipwreck a sailor can carry the feather of a wren that was slain on New Year's Day.
  • To keep storms away secure a horseshoe to the mast.
  • A gift of a pair of scissors should be brought aboard.

They Were Scared ... And For Good Reason

On the other side of the coin are things or events to be avoided lest they put the crew in peril. Many old tars would go to considerable effort to avoid these salty situations that might bring bad luck.

Sometimes voyages lasted for years and many sailors and boats never returned from their journey.

Going to sea was scary stuff and superstition gave the sailors a sense of control over their circumstance. Anything that might have occurred just prior to a successful voyage could become a good omen.

On The Water

vacation lists compass

Top of page

Home > Sailing vacation lists > Good luck superstition