The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite in the Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and other navies which commemorates a sailor's first crossing of the equator. Originally the tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long rough times at sea. Sailors who have already crossed the equator are nicknamed (Trusty) Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune; those who have not are nicknamed (Slimy) Pollywogs.
Old school U.S. Navy "Crossing The Line Ceremony" unlike that of today's "kinder, gentler Navy". Witness slimy "polywogs" cross the equator for the first time and get duly initiated into the "Solemn Mysteries Of The Ancient Order Of Shellbacks" by King Neptune, Davey Jones and their Royal Staff of trusty, foul-mouthed, sheleighly-weilding Shellbacks!
Click to view image: 'Golden Shellback Certificate'
Wog Day - Crossing the Line Ceremony
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