As the song goes, “Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today!“
While conducting our usual research for Florida dive charters, we came across the notes below and were reminded about… bananas. Or the lack thereof on dive boats. You may remember from your certification dive training… or your first time on a dive charter… no bananas! Why? Bad luck. Apparently, boat captains are a superstitious bunch. Seriously so in some cases. Meaning they can get quite upset. Here’s an example of an instruction set we just came across. Note the nice, scientific style preamble, only to descend into all-caps superstition.
It’s not just diving boats but also fishing boats. Boats in general. And it’s not just bananas. Women are also bad luck, obviously, as are suitcases. Of course captains aren’t so stupid as to effect their bottom line by denying their women folks’ dollars.
There are many theories about bananas on boats and the myths that abound from times of old. Personally I blame Jaques Cousteau from Ye Olde Banana-lung. Here are a couple of scientific banana facts: Bananas cause boats to sink, they cause bad weather, they scare away fish, they cause mechanical problems, fires, and they attract spiders. Sounds biblical. Like the ten plagues of Egypt.
Here’s a stunning example of one fishing boat charter which proudly declares: “Whether or not you are superstitious, its a little hard not to believe the rumors that bananas are bad luck on board a boat [Really?]. We are not taking the chance with this happening to us, so We DO NOT Allow Bananas onboard ANY of our Fishing Boats/Trips.”
How embarrassing. Wow. Is it a good idea to step foot on this charter? Not me. If they are relying on luck (instead of good seamanship, a radio & coastguard certification) to save the day, you won’t get me anywhere close to their supernatural decks.
Or how about this one:
In 2001 The New York Times quoted Rick Etzel of Montauk, New York, captain of The Breakaway, as saying: “Fishermen believe bananas are bad luck. Something about a shipload of bananas that carried some weird bacteria which killed everyone on board. Maybe fictitious, but some people take the banana thing very seriously. A few years back, a guy on one of my charters showed up wearing a Banana Republic T-shirt. Another guy in the group went up to him with a knife and slashed the logo.”
Spoiler alert: This crap started in the 1700’s. It’s now 2023. Time to grow up folks. If you’re more into superstition than dive science, then I don’t trust your boat judgement or safety protocols – or scuba training. I want to learn about science, not superstition.
Here are the facts: Bananas are a great form of carbohydrate. They’re great for keeping hunger at bay and stabilizing blood sugar levels while diving. They can boost digestion and contribute to a healthier heart due to fiber and antioxidant content. They may also support weight loss because they’re low in calories, nutrient dense, and filling.
- Bananas are respectable sources of vitamin C.
- Manganese in bananas is good for your skin.
- Potassium in bananas is good for your heart health and blood pressure.
- Bananas can aid digestion and help beat gastrointestinal issues.
- Bananas give you energy – minus the fats and cholesterol.
So here’s to more bananas on dive boats. Bring your Banana Boat Sunscreen, your Banana Republic gear and banana shaped dildos. If you’re teased, suck it up and realize you’re dealing with a Neantherthal mind set. If you’re seriously harassed (and I’ve seen it happen) get off the boat, get your money back and report the operator. Meanwhile, look at this brave lad. It’s not me, just a photo I found on google of an intrepid fisherman. I know what you’re thinking. Tiny fish. Clearly the bananas’ fault. I get that. I mean… it is tiny.