Nautical Traditions

Pleasure boating, frequently called yachting, is over 300 years old, and in that time sailors have developed many traditions, ceremonies and courtesies that add enjoyment in many ways. No one has to adhere to them to operate a boat competently, but they make the sport more meaningful and enjoyable.

Traditional Ceremonies

Boat Christening – Each year on the day prior to Opening Day, HYC conducts a boat christening to welcome new boats into the club’s fleet. Boats to be christened are usually lined up at the guest dock, and the christening party (chaplain and officers) visits the boats in turn. The chaplain blesses the boat and the officers welcome the new boat and its owner. Owners typically serve light snacks and beverages. An appropriate plaque is presented to the owner during Opening Day ceremonies. It is recommended that boats fly appropriate flags, especially “dress ship”.Opening Day – In parts of the country where the boating season is short and boats are hauled out for the winter, the beginning of the new season each spring is cause for celebration. Here in Texas, where we use our boats all year, it is simply a reason for a big party! This is a very big event in the club’s calendar. A band plays, officers, past commodores and dignitaries are introduced, awards are presented and other ceremonies are conducted. The ceremonies are followed by a champagne reception. All HYC members are invited to participate.

Change of Watch – Shortly after the HYC annual meeting, a Change of Watch ceremony is held to swear in newly elected officers and trustees are duly sworn in and relieve the previous year’s group of command.

Commodore’s Ball – Each year in January the Commodore’s Ball gala dinner-dance is held to honor the outgoing commodore and introduce the new commodore. The officers, trustees and past commodores are recognized at this formal occasion.

Memorial Service and Burial at Sea – Traditional ceremonies have developed over the years for these solemn events. The HYC chaplain is available to conduct these services.