Ship naming and launching

Ship naming ceremony is held at the shipyard when a new ship is ready to sail out after undergoing the required sea trials. Once the construction of a ship is completed, the ship owner is notified of the completion and a particular date is fixed for its naming ceremony. On the day of ceremony, the owner arrives at the shipyard with family members, friends, and business partners with a pre-decided name. Ship naming and launching procedures are arranged to provide a ship hull with her identity.

Ship naming ceremony at Korean Shipyard

History of Ship Naming and Launching

Traditionally, the ship naming and launching ceremony had a meaning where it had brought good fortune and safety to the new ship, its crew, and passengers. The tradition of ship naming ceremony dates back to thousands of years. There are evidences of Babylonian celebrating ship launching in the 3rd millennium BC, and Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians calling on their gods to protect ships before starting voyages. Ships launching of the Vikings were marked by the spilling of blood during the Viking age between 8th and 11th centurie AD.  During the medieval age, wine was offered as a substitute for the earlier blood sacrifice to mark the opening ceremony of the ships. The traditions continue to be similar even today with the only exception of women christening ships nowadays. Earlier, the ceremony was mainly performed by religious men or officials.

Launch of the Friedland on 4 March 1840

Ship Naming and Launching Procedures

On the day of ship naming and launching, the new ship is tastefully decorated with flags and long rolls of ribbons. Thereafter, a woman is asked to cut the ribbon, and smash a bottle of champagne against the ship’s bow. As the champagne bottle collides with the bow of the ship, the drums are hit hard and a band of musicians start playing music. 

Ship launching ceremony

The launching of the new ship involves sliding the ship into the water from an inclined slipway. The most popular and widely accepted ship launching method is the end-on lunch. In this launch method, the new ship is allowed to slide into the water with its stern entering the water first.  After the naming ceremony, the owner needs to register the name of the ship with the designated authorities, normally a classification society.

Ship launching ceremony
Side ship launch
Stern ship launch

Funny ship launching


Ship launch vent wrong