It has been a time-honoured practice, and a common tradition of
the sea, that as men and women cross the equator for the 1st time,
they honour King Neptune as ruler of all the oceans on earth.
This practice from days of old, is carried out for seamen on
merchant ships and also crew and passengers on ocean liners. The
ritual is as follows.
A seaman who has crossed the equator line on many occasions
dresses as King Neptune with a crown on his head and flowing
blue and white robes, representing the ocean, on his back. He
holds a 3-prong triton. Old hands form a double line to King
Neptune through which those people crossing the equator for the
first time, pass. Each is escorted by an old hand. Each kneels and
sincerely pays homage and respect to him as ruler, custodian and
guardian of the ocean deep. Each person is anointed with the
prayer. "Until the sea gives up its dead you shall faithfully serve
and honour the memory of these lost souls. My followers
maintain traditions of the Ocean Sea laid down in centuries past.
For they in future will carry out what we do today. Honour, love
and respect all creatures in the sea as well as humans on this
Each new arrival crossing the equator is baptised and induced as a
follower of King Neptune. New arrivals swear this oath. "I shall
faithfully serve him and lost souls within the deep, respect and
honour and pay homage to the dead, resting there within this great
ocean of ours on earth. "
After all have been baptised a major feast is held as a mark of
respect. Each seaman and passenger is issued a Certificate stating
he or she has crossed the great equator and now is a follower of
King Neptune, Ruler and Keeper of all the earth's oceans.
Courtesy of Bill Warton - Ex Merchant Marine (1948-1970)