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Old 30-01-2010, 13:27   #61
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This being a free country, Magenta, ships' captains are allowed to marry anybody they want to. Performing marriages, however, is a different story. So far as I can tell, sea captains in the United States cannot now and have not ever been able to perform marriages at sea or anywhere else, unless they also happen to be recognized ministers or JPs or something. The same goes for sea captains in Britain and the Soviet Union.
However--and this is the interesting part--this myth is so widely believed, not only among the general public but among sailors, that both the United States Navy and the British Mercantile Marine Office have taken the extraordinary step of explicitly forbidding captains to do free-lance weddings. Let me quote from the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 32, Subtitle A, Chapter VI, Subchapter A, Part 700, Subpart G, Rule 716, also known as 32 CFR 700.716):
"The commanding officer shall not perform a marriage ceremony on board his ship or aircraft. He shall not permit a marriage ceremony to be performed on board when the ship or aircraft is outside the territory of the United States, except: (a) In accordance with local laws ... and (b) In the presence of a diplomatic or consular official of the United States."
Similarly, the official logbook supplied to ships' captains by the British Mercantile Marine Office warns that shipboard marriages performed by the captain are not legal. If the ship is registered in New York state, the captain can be fined or imprisoned.
So where did the idea arise? We can only guess. Sailors have it drummed into them that the captain (more properly known as the master) is the supreme authority on the ship, and one might easily jump to the conclusion that said authority extends to civil matters. In some jurisdictions, in fact, it does. The Soviet Union allows its masters to attest wills and draw up documents concerning births and deaths (although not to perform marriages). Furthermore, many merchant services, including those in Britain and the U.S., require masters to note marriages, births, deaths, collisions, etc., in the ship's log. The master thus becomes the registrar of any marriages.
Finally, we know that in days of yore ships might be at sea or at least beyond the reach of civilization for two years or more. It thus seems reasonable to suppose that a master would be empowered to officiate at a marriage rather than have some local heathen do it.
Nonetheless--and I've checked out seaman's guides going back to 1850--it does not appear that this has ever been the case. Another myth cruelly shattered. If anything further turns up, however, I'll let you know. THIS IS FROM A SITE CALLED --THE STRAIGHT DOPE---CAN SEA CAPTAINS MARRY SOMEONE AT SEA?
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Old 13-02-2012, 12:33   #62
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martinini View Post
This being a free country, Magenta, ships' captains are allowed to marry anybody they want to. Performing marriages, however, is a different story. So far as I can tell, sea captains in the United States cannot now and have not ever been able to perform marriages at sea or anywhere else, unless they also happen to be recognized ministers or JPs or something. The same goes for sea captains in Britain and the Soviet Union.
However--and this is the interesting part--this myth is so widely believed, not only among the general public but among sailors, that both the United States Navy and the British Mercantile Marine Office have taken the extraordinary step of explicitly forbidding captains to do free-lance weddings. Let me quote from the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 32, Subtitle A, Chapter VI, Subchapter A, Part 700, Subpart G, Rule 716, also known as 32 CFR 700.716):
"The commanding officer shall not perform a marriage ceremony on board his ship or aircraft. He shall not permit a marriage ceremony to be performed on board when the ship or aircraft is outside the territory of the United States, except: (a) In accordance with local laws ... and (b) In the presence of a diplomatic or consular official of the United States."
Similarly, the official logbook supplied to ships' captains by the British Mercantile Marine Office warns that shipboard marriages performed by the captain are not legal. If the ship is registered in New York state, the captain can be fined or imprisoned.
So where did the idea arise? We can only guess. Sailors have it drummed into them that the captain (more properly known as the master) is the supreme authority on the ship, and one might easily jump to the conclusion that said authority extends to civil matters. In some jurisdictions, in fact, it does. The Soviet Union allows its masters to attest wills and draw up documents concerning births and deaths (although not to perform marriages). Furthermore, many merchant services, including those in Britain and the U.S., require masters to note marriages, births, deaths, collisions, etc., in the ship's log. The master thus becomes the registrar of any marriages.
Finally, we know that in days of yore ships might be at sea or at least beyond the reach of civilization for two years or more. It thus seems reasonable to suppose that a master would be empowered to officiate at a marriage rather than have some local heathen do it.
Nonetheless--and I've checked out seaman's guides going back to 1850--it does not appear that this has ever been the case. Another myth cruelly shattered. If anything further turns up, however, I'll let you know. THIS IS FROM A SITE CALLED --THE STRAIGHT DOPE---CAN SEA CAPTAINS MARRY SOMEONE AT SEA?
Wow that means I was never really Married? Wish I knew that before I got divorced! I was marred off the coast of Jupiter Florida around 1975 by Captain Cal Marles-
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Old 13-02-2012, 13:02   #63
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard?

Hey, keep that stuff quiet - in the olden days we had been doing instant "layover" marriages to willing but reticent sweet young things who don't know those rules you cite.
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Old 13-02-2012, 13:32   #64
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard?

Fun read, this thread. My wife and I were married on the beach in front of a beautiful house (Madrona House on Madrona Point, Eastsound) on Orcas Island, with our just refinished classic 44' wooden Porpoise anchored just off the beach in the background. Immediately after the ceremony I rowed her to our boat for the honeymoon in her wedding dress. Good times! I learned that a $10k Vera Wang wedding dress with a train and sea water don't mix! I have some awesome pics of this perfect event, including the huge flag our sailing friends made us which said "Just Hitched" with some fancy ropework on it. Ah, so long ago....
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Old 13-02-2012, 13:47   #65
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard?

Used to occasionally skipper wedding charters. We always had a properly licensed priest or public official aboard to perform the ceremony.
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Old 13-02-2012, 13:51   #66
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard?

Connie and I were married at sea, on our old ketch, by my brother who is still a JP. it was in California waters and we got our wedding lic. in Humboldt Co. Calif. 27 yrs ago LOL Bob and Connie
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Old 13-02-2012, 14:13   #67
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard?

Does it matter who officiates? The license is what's legally binding, right?
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Old 13-02-2012, 15:14   #68
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard?

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Connie and I were married at sea, on our old ketch, by my brother who is still a JP. it was in California waters and we got our wedding lic. in Humboldt Co. Calif. 27 yrs ago LOL Bob and Connie
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Old 13-02-2012, 15:23   #69
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard?

Although a few are married on a boat, I suspect a boat has been involved in more divorces
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Old 13-02-2012, 17:49   #70
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard?

round here, nothing is legal until you sign the official civil register, witnessed etc. A captain can't marry you.

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Old 13-02-2012, 17:58   #71
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard?

"Does it matter who officiates? The license is what's legally binding, right?" Right.

Not a myth. My ex wife and I were marrried aboard a schooner in Seattle by the ship's captain. Witnesses signed and that's all you need to file the license. Oh... and it cost me a lot of money when we divorced!
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Old 13-02-2012, 18:22   #72
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard?

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"Does it matter who officiates? The license is what's legally binding, right?" Right.

Not a myth. My ex wife and I were marrried aboard a schooner in Seattle by the ship's captain. Witnesses signed and that's all you need to file the license. Oh... and it cost me a lot of money when we divorced!
Correct , but it doesn't require a captain , any witness would do. The key bit is filing the license.
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Old 13-02-2012, 18:52   #73
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard?

I got married on Captain Fred's boat in Alabama near Gulf Shores. He was a Unity church ordained minister. We were in Alabama waters so the license was legal…damn it! Captain Fred and his boat is still around. The wife 'aint..as they say in Alabama.
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Old 29-02-2012, 06:12   #74
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Re: Has Anyone Ever Married Aboard ?

We got married aboard the "Gulfstream" 70 S&S yawl built in '34 while in Long Beach, Calif. The minister was a real character - he was about 80 years old, 6'6", skinny as a rail, fire & brimstone, white collar Lutheran and to top it off, his name was Shelby Light! (no joke!)
What a party! We had the boom swung out and my new wife decided to go swimming in her wedding dress! The next thing we know - everybody jumped in! I dont know what happened next but I remember waking up in the back of my buddy's pickup - on the way to Mexico, pulling an old airstream trailer. The girls were in the trailer trying to cook a chicken while we went bouncing down one of the worst roads in Baha! Danny & I were drinking beer as fast as we could laughing our asses off everytime we hit a bump. We finally stopped for a piss call and the girls were having a bawl! The trailer was a mess - junk all over the floor, dust & dirt everywhere! But the chicken was cooked!!
We finally got down to our place in Puertocitos, got settled and rigged up the Hobbie Cats. Honeymooned for a month! What a bawl! 30 years ago and were still having a bawl. The "Gulfstream" is now the "Alsumar"again and lives the good life in San Diego. Love that old boat!
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