Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Idiot Box is in the background and if my ears

 are working there is a young couple in love that are looking for a ship's captain to marry them.

For what it's worth, they can save a few bucks by getting a subway conductor in Hoboken, New Jersey to marry them. The end result is the same. It's an invalid marriage.

I don't know where the rumor get started but it has been going around for years that ship's captains can marry people. I think what really gave it some creedence is when the movie The African Queen came out and Bogey's character married Katherine Hepburn's character just before they were supposed to be hanged.

I have a master's license that says, 'To U.S. Merchant Marine Officer' on it and have been asked if I can marry people. I tell them I can in certain instances but it has nothing to do with being a licensed captain. It's because I also am an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. 

Naval regulations clearly specify that the captain of a US Naval vessel not only can't marry people, but can't even permit anyone to get married on a US Naval vessel. 

Of course, that has never stopped Hollyweird from reinforcing the old rumor every time they run into a snag of some sort in the plot. This happened on The Love Boat quite a bit. A lot of Grade B celebs tied the knot in a ceremony performed by Captain Stubing. I suppose this also helped clinch the rumor.

Even Star Trek's Captain James T. Kirk of the Star Ship Enterprise performed a marriage back in one episode that aired back in 1966. That's not my all-time favorite, though. On Married with Children, Al Bundy arranged for a drunken, nasty old unshaven tugboat skipper to perform a wedding ceremony over a two-way radio.

Personally I don't really think that being married by a ship's captain is romantic. I suppose that is because as a career seaman I have long ago seen through all of that 'romance of the sea' business. 

Of course, in the movies you see a ship's captain in a crisp, natty uniform but that is also more Hollywood. About the only time you see a merchant ship's captain in uniform any time is when he's actually conducting ship's business with shoreside people. While underway the captain wears what he wants, generally something comfortable. Cut-offs and flip flops are not unheard of.

Chances of finding one of those snappy blue uniforms on a merchie are not really all that good unless it's a cruise liner. Then again, I suppose that nobody is really interested in getting married on a tanker full of crude coming out of Kuwait by an unshaved guy in cut-offs and flip flops. If you are going that route, you may just as well get married in the break room of an oil refinery.

I can actually picture that. Some couple telling people that "We couldn't find a ship's captain to marry us on a ship so we got married in the break room of the local  Texaco refinery by a justice of the peace."

I can here the ceremony now. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here at the I.M.T.T tank terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey to unite this couple in holy wedlock..."

Actually I really was married on a boat. My wife and I tied the know on a rental pontoon boat on Lake Arthur by a local minister but let's not let the facts get in the way of a good story.

The next person that asks is going to be told we were married by a train conductor while we were on the way to Scranton, Pennsylvania. Or maybe by a cab driver in Hackensack, New Jersey.
And why not? Train conductors and cab drivers have just about as much authority to marry someone as a sea captain does.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

1 comment:

  1. Navy appears to have dropped that rule

    Some courts uphold sea marriages, though perhaps more because of the affirmation of vows

    Since government shouldn't be in the marriage business in the first place (I think you have even expressed this here before) have at it and "damn the torpedoes! "