The “it” in the heading refers to a ship.. Traditionally ships have been referred to as a SHE..
One of the readers asked “why is a ship called a she“..
I am not sure if anyone knows the real reason or the origin as to why a ship is referred to as a she..
Linking a gender to inanimate objects is nothing new and has been carrying for many years.. For example
- Languages like Deutsche attaches a gender to inanimate objects
- Nature is referred to as Mother Nature
- India is referred to as Bharat Maatha (Mother India) by Indian people
In the case of a ship, many theories (cultural/spiritual, literal, romantic, familial, fun) abound though, some of which are
- A cultural/spiritual theory is that ships were referred to as a She in obeisance to a Sea Goddess
- A literal theory is that the Latin word for Ship is NAVIS and this is considered to be feminine and since many of the olden days pioneers spoke Latin, a ship was referred to as a She
- A romantic or familial theory is that in the past, the presence of women was not allowed on ships or in some cases was considered bad luck.. Therefore ship owners used to name ships after their wives, mothers, aunts etc just to be more closer to them and that tradition stuck
- Of course there is also the fun theory used by many seafarers which says
“A ship is called a she because there is always a great deal of bustle around her; there is usually a gang of men about; she has a waist and stays; it takes a lot of paint to keep her good-looking; it is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is the upkeep; she can be all decked out; it takes an experienced man to handle her correctly; and without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable. She shows her topsides, hiders her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys.”
Whatever the reason that a ship was called a she, it is a thing of the past now, at least from the side of Lloyd’s List (which is the world’s oldest maritime newspaper)..
Lloyds List took a decision some years ago to put an end to this tradition and have started referring to ships “IT” so now it doesn’t really matter whether it is a boy or a girl..
It is just an IT..
Are you Sad or Happy about this tradition of calling a ship a she coming to an end..?? Share your thoughts..