‘And all who sail in her. . . .’
Story by Stephen J. Thorne
There was a bit of a row across the pond recently after the Scottish Maritime Museum decided to adopt gender-neutral signage for its vessels.
Museum director David Mann told The Guardian newspaper the decision to drop “she” for “it” when referencing ships was made after two signs were vandalized, presumably by folks opposed to the feminization of inanimate objects, a practice also applied to man’s other favourite toys: planes, trains and automobiles.
“The debate around gender and ships is wide-ranging, pitting tradition against the modern world,” Mann said. “But I think that we have to move with the times.”
Not so, the Royal Navy, which said it has no plans to abandon its longstanding tradition of referring to its ships as “she.”
Nor does the Royal Canadian Navy which, like its sister service across the pond, has no formal policy on the matter to abandon—only tradition, with which it intends to stick, said one officer, “until we are told otherwise.”