Myths, old sayings, and folklore play a role in our daily lives. In fact, so many of these myths or sayings are so ingrained in our daily speech that we often don’t think to stop and consider their origins, meaning, or whether or not they’re true. The boating community is no exception with strange sayings and myths that may seem commonplace. Let’s dive into some of the most popular boating myths and superstitions and get to the bottom of their meaning.
Never bring a banana on board
This one strikes as one of the oddest expressions, but a closer into its origins of trade between Spain and the Caribbean provides some explanation. In this time, many ships carrying bananas did not make it to their destination, leading to today’s general omen for bad luck while on the water. While the bananas probably weren’t responsible, it’s best to keep them ashore. Plus, there are much better snacks for the boat.
No whistling on board
For the happy-go-lucky boater, this one poses a real challenge. When whistling on a vessel, one is said to be challenging mother nature — a fight no boat will win.
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.
Perhaps the most popular saying in the boating world, this one actually has some truth to it. A red sky at sunset typically indicates high pressure and stable conditions while a red sky at sunrise often indicates a high-pressure system passing, which means a low-pressure system and potential storms are around the corner.
More propeller blades means faster boats
While more blades on your propeller will help stabilize your boat and reduce vibration, they won’t help you increase your acceleration or top speed. You’ll have to look to the engine for that.
Don’t let the gas tank get less than half full
While it’s good advice if you’re being cautious, there is no truth to the myth that your fuel system will pick up contaminants from the bottom of your fuel tank. Fuel is always drawn from the bottom of the fuel tank, no matter how full it is, so this myth doesn’t ring true.