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-   -   Ship's captains can perform weddings (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=44197)

snopes 04 April 2009 06:02 PM

Ship's captains can perform weddings
 
Comment: Is it true that ship's captains can perform weddings?

snopes 04 April 2009 06:03 PM

Weddings, yes; marriages, no.

lyra_silvertongue 04 April 2009 06:22 PM

This was used as a plot device in the season of Gilmore Girls I'm watching right now. I was wondering if it was a possibility.

snopes 04 April 2009 06:34 PM

Quote:

Weddings on cruise ships are NOT performed at sea. They are performed onboard the ship while it is docked. Also, many people mistakenly believe such weddings are performed by the ship's captain. They are not. It is necessary to have a clergyperson or other official from that port city perform the service. Guests who wish to attend the wedding, but not the cruise, are allowed to board the ship for the ceremony and reception before it sets sail.
                   

Avril 04 April 2009 08:07 PM

What is that quoting?

Beejtronic 04 April 2009 10:38 PM

My sister got married on a cruise ship, and it is law that you have to be married at a port. (This worked out well, since it allowed people who couldn't afford the cruise to still attend the wedding.) I can't remember who performed the wedding, but I think it was just a justice of the peace or something.

jimmy101_again 05 April 2009 05:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beejtronic (Post 921800)
My sister got married on a cruise ship, and it is law that you have to be married at a port.

Whose law? If the ship is in international waters who has jurisdiction? The country the ship is flagged under?

I would think that the reason the captain of a cruise ship can't perform a marriage is bcause the owners of the ship forbid it. Much easier for the owners to do that then to worry about the legality of a marriage.

I wonder though if cruise lines (or private ships) have ever considered having their captain(s) get a "mail order" preachers license. I believe that that is pretty much all that is necisary to legally perform marriages in the US.

Heck, they could even register the ship in Nevada. :lol:

Eddylizard 05 April 2009 06:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimmy101_again (Post 922217)
Whose law? If the ship is in international waters who has jurisdiction? The country the ship is flagged under?

Presumably whoever's law would refuse to recognise the marriage as valid when the couple get home.

Alchemy 05 April 2009 09:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimmy101_again (Post 922217)
If the ship is in international waters who has jurisdiction? The country the ship is flagged under?

Yes. And if the marriage is legal in that country, US law will accept it so long as certain criteria are met and the paperwork is filed with the relevant US consulate.

Apparently US law has no provision for marriage on US-flagged ships; marriage is a State matter and marriages performed outside US territories have to be performed under local law. So no marriages on US-flagged ships in international waters, within US consulates, etc.

Apparently Bermuda allows marriage at sea, though the officiant (who might or might not be the captain of the vessel) needs to be licensed.

snopes 06 April 2009 03:57 AM

I can't even think of a valid reason *why* ship captain's would have been authorized to perform marriages (or be perceived to have that ability, true or not). Military and merchant ships had (save for extraordinary circumstances) exclusively males crews; the only women likely be aboard such ships were officer's wives or paid companionship, none of whom would be in the market for a wedding-at-sea. Couples *might* occasionally marry on passenger ships or liners at sea, but most of those typically carried at least one clergyman of their own.

Troberg 06 April 2009 07:53 AM

This all depends on which nation you want to recognize the marriage.

In Sweden, you have whatever ceremony you want, on a ship or a private ceremony in a canoe. However, the actual official recognition comes when you file it at the tax office with two witnesses. Everything else is just fluff, from a legal perspective.

Churches (of various religions) are able to do it as well, but I think they've finally are about to remove that power from them, iirc mainly due to their resistance to same sex marriages.

Flagg 06 April 2009 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lyra_silvertongue (Post 921695)
This was used as a plot device in the season of Gilmore Girls I'm watching right now. I was wondering if it was a possibility.

I'm pretty sure it was done on Gilligan's Island as well. IIRC the Skipper performed a ceremony in the lagoon on a raft or something when the Howells found out the person who married them was not licensed.

Arriah 06 April 2009 04:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flagg (Post 922821)
I'm pretty sure it was done on Gilligan's Island as well. IIRC the Skipper performed a ceremony in the lagoon on a raft or something when the Howells found out the person who married them was not licensed.

It is amazing how much personally relevant news that little coconut radio managed to get isn't it?

snopes 06 April 2009 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flagg (Post 922821)
I'm pretty sure it was done on Gilligan's Island as well. IIRC the Skipper performed a ceremony in the lagoon on a raft or something when the Howells found out the person who married them was not licensed.

Unfortunately, the Professor didn't carry out the required blood tests, so that marriage wasn't valid either.

Black Belt and Socks 08 April 2009 12:29 AM

Quote:

I can't even think of a valid reason *why* ship captain's would have been authorized to perform marriages (or be perceived to have that ability, true or not).
I always thought it was a case of a passenger ship in peril, and a couple on board wanting to get married if the ship were to sink. Then they could spend eternity together.

And as an aside, anyone can perform a marriage ceremony in Arkansas. All you need is permission of the quorum court in the county where the ceremony is to be performed. Our youngest socklet is to be married at the end of May, and he chose my best friend (and the best man at our wedding) to "solemnize" the proceedings.

BB "wasn't this in Gai-Jin?" &S

Eddylizard 08 April 2009 12:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Black Belt and Socks (Post 924390)
I always thought it was a case of a passenger ship in peril, and a couple on board wanting to get married if the ship were to sink. Then they could spend eternity together.

Er Captain, I know we've lost all engines, the radio's dead, we're taking in water, the ship's listing 30 degrees to port, the Bosun's died of a heart attack and the ship's galley has run out of strawberries, so we do appreciate you may be just a little tiny bit busy right now, but Melissa and I were wondering if you wouldn't be a darling and just spare a few minutes to do us the teensiest favour. :lol:

rangerdog 08 April 2009 05:42 PM

My sister is a Bank Vice President in Florida. She needed to become a Notery Public. In Florida a Notery can legally perform marriages.

jimmy101_again 08 April 2009 07:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by katdixo (Post 924822)
Nonetheless, according to The Straight Dope, there is no evidence that US, British, or Soviet captains were ever able to perform marriages. There are regulations that specifically forbid it.

How many cruise ship are registered to those three countries? Aren't most cruise ships (and big ships in general) registered in some small country with lax regulations and/or taxes?

A quick google says all Royal Caribbean's ships are registered in the Bahamas. Does Bahamian law forbid captains from performing marriages?

snopes 08 April 2009 07:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimmy101_again (Post 925217)
How many cruise ship are registered to those three countries? Aren't most cruise ships (and big ships in general) registered in some small country with lax regulations and/or taxes?

In the case of cruise ships it's likely that some captains may have obtained whatever credentials they need in order to perform marriages, but they don't necessarily have that ability solely by virtue of being ship's captains.

Troberg 09 April 2009 06:16 AM

Perhaps it's time to have a real captain and a "show captain"? The real captain handles the ship, the rest does stuff for the tourists, such as marriages.

Much like many monarchies today work. We have a parliament and a prime minister who has the real power, and a king/queen to keep the tourists happy.


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