The tradition

According to old tradition, all those crossing the equator for the first time must be baptized and thus made an able-bodied seaman. After the ceremony, the «newly baptized» will receive a Crossing the Line Certificate stating his or her name, name of the ship and date. The Captain makes his confirmation by signing the certificate.

Organized Line Baptism dates as far back as the 1520’s and, apart from local varieties, you can find the ceremony described in a number navy and merchant fleets world-wide. Originally, the equatorial baptism was a kind of consecration of the Seamen's profession, and could at times be rather wild. Gradually it has evolved into a merry joke for everyone on board.

This old tradition should be kept alive and we recommend that all ships crossing the equator make an attempt at this.

The ceremony

The ceremony itself can be very simple, but many choose to put an effort in costumes and accessories to create a festive frame around the event. No matter how it is being arranged, there are some rules that apply:

  • Line Baptism should be fun for all those involved and is not to harm anyone. Respect that some may not wish to be in the game.
  • Do not overdo the "treatment" of those who are being baptized.
  • Do not use force against candidates who try to avoid participation.

To achieve a successful event, the ceremony must be planned well in advance, all roles distributed and rehearsed. A list of those to be baptized must be prepared, and all necessary props should be in place. Good food, entertainment and competitions may contribute to an extra enjoyable party afterwards.

As an aid for those who wish to initiate such an event, a simple booklet providing an introduction to the ceremony and guidance on how the event could be organized has been made.

Crossing the line certificate

The traditional certificate in English can be downloaded below. 

The certificate is also available on heavy printed paper both in Norwegian and English, and can be ordered by e-mail to Please state how many you need in which language as well as the Norwegian address they are to be forwarded to.

Please note! We only send certificates for baptism of seafarers, not the passangers on passanger ships.