RE: Are ships captains allowed to marry people at sea?

No doubt the myth’s credibility was greatly enhanced by the famous marriage scene in John Houston’s blockbuster movie The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn, featuring a scene where the Nazi ship’s captain utters that immortal line, “I now pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution!”

Oh dear God!

What John is implying here, is that you are obviously very young and have conflated Audrey Hepburn, a great actress in her own right, with Katherine Hepburn,another very good actress.

Not to mention, that Nazi captain was politically way ahead of his time.

Kate Hepburn is a “very good actress”??? Hmpfh. You’ve undervalued her, sam.

Both Capts. James T. Kirk (“Balance of Terror”) and Jean-Luc Picard (“Data’s Day”) thought they could marry people, and that’s good enough for me, dammit!

There’s also a very satisfying shipboard wedding in Patrick O’Brian’s novel The Surgeon’s Mate. William Babbington, having been trained by Jack Aubrey himself in the duties and privileges of a ship’s master in His Majesty’s Navy, performs the ceremony after a brief reference to the regulation manual.

I’m shocked to learn that this is all–gasp–fiction. (This is only partly a joke. I thought that O’Brian researched his stuff very thoroughly. Apparently the historical novelist was more novelist than historian.)

What was the deal with the ape? “And it is offering itself to Babbington.”
I’m not sure that he is to be trusted.
Was he studying the Hindi phrasebook, “Woman, wilt thou lie with me?” and Jack took his money away went he sent him shore so that he couldn’t visit a house of ill repute?

I assume that Herr Fudd noticed that the captain wasn’t a Nazi. The film was set in 1914.

Oh, sure. Sounds like something you’d say. :smiley:

My favorite line is in the morning she says not “Mr. Allnutt”, but, “Ah…Dear, what did you say your first name was?” :slight_smile:

From the column:

But what about us who don’t already understand? Why “mostly sailboats”?

Not to mention Captain Steubing, who performed numerous marriages on “The Love Boat.”

All this proves, of course, is that the writers for that show, like millions of other people, WRONGLY believed ship captains have that power.

We don’t know what flag the Love Boat sailed under - from Cecil’s followup response:

So, in theory, the good Captain could marry folks.

I guess we need to check Liberian law!

I thought it was a Mongolian-flagged cruise ship.

My memory is suspect, but I thought most cruise ships are registered in Liberia.

Captain Stuebing is fictional, but the MS Pacific Princess was a real ship (it still is, but is now known as MS Pacific, with a new ship bearing the MS Pacific Princess name), and, during the entire Love Boat era, its port of registry was London.

I think Elendil’s Heir was joking by suggesting that a ship could be registered in a land-locked country.


Dang, Katherine Hepburn it is. And I’m old enough to know the difference.