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 planet."

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)

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