King Neptune Crossing the Line

In the next couple weeks we are most likely crossing the equator and I’m going to be King Neptune for the first time. What was your experience like crossing the line and do you have any advice? I have a lot of Young Polliwogs eager to become Shellbacks.

Our ceremony will most likely include a talent show, nasty breakfast, fire hoses, tunnel with old food slops with dead fish, meeting the kings court, ending in a swim call weather depending. There also might be a bull horn involved and a BBQ afterwards.

I’m also seeking a pdf certificate to print out for crew and passengers. Something like this:

I found a website with “templates,” however they don’t seem to be adaptable.

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I found the ceremony to be very rare on merchant vessels. I did participate in one back in 79. It was NOT my first crossing (by a longshot). I was but a lowly engine cadet at the time, albeit on my 5th different ship. The Captain and CE insisted that myself and the Deck Cadet participate and we had little choice. There were some other participants, too. It was largely to stroke the Captain’s ego and put a show on for the 12 passengers. I have my shellback certificate somewhere. . . .

This ceremony took place on the Shell tanker Kermia. I sailed on her for two years and 2 month without leave. Those were the days…


That’s me receiving the certificate as proof that I crossed the equator.


The certificate.

Notice the engineer in spotless white coveralls. That’s the advantage of sailing on a turbine ship…


Wow these are great pictures, thanks for sharing.

I remember an early morning beat down on the flight deck along the lines of what you’d experience at boot camp except they threw eggs at us. Some of the things you mentioned sounded familiar. Good times.