Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
July 2024

Sunkin’ Ship

The Billionaire industrialist Franklin Rooster III was killed at sea when the cruise ship he was on sank. Out of the 300 people that were on the ship, only 18 survived. At the reading of the will a woman burst in and announced that the will was invalid because she and Franklin were married during the cruise. After proving she was indeed one of the survivors of the cruise ship, she informed the family that they were married by the ship’s captain several hours before it struck the iceberg that sank the ship. The famous detective Max Gaetanno was sitting in the back listening to to this story and then suddenly jumped up and announced, “This woman is a fraud!” She was, in fact, a fraud, but how did Max figure it out?

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8 guesses to Sunkin’ Ship

  • RawJa

    He was the captain.

  • Great guess but not the correct answer.
    Keep trying.

  • Several hours before the ship struck the iceberg they were not yet in international water, and therefore the captain would have had no right to mary them?

  • caroline

    she didn’t have a ring or anything on her finger?

  • dude

    Very close, Braxton, but not exactly what we’re looking for.
    Keep trying.

  • She was in third class he was in first, and this was back when the classes were kept seperate on ships?

  • jay

    ship captains cannot marry them if they are not docked in a port. In other circumstances, the captain may only marry in international waters if one of the couple is in articulo mortis(about to die). Therefore the woman claiming to be married was lying about “she was married several hours before they hit the ice berg” because by that time the captain has no right to marry and if ever they were really married,,the marriage is void.:) thats what i think,,hehe

  • Wow, lots of great answers, many of them very, very close. Here is the actual scoop on ship’s captains marrying people:

    Ship’s captains are allowed to marry anybody they want to. Performing marriages, however, is a different story.

    Sea captains in the United States cannot now and have not ever been able to perform marriages at sea or anywhere else, unless they also happen to be recognized ministers or Justice of the Peace, etc. The same goes for sea captains in Britain and the Soviet Union.

    However–and this is the interesting part–this myth is so widely believed, not only among the general public but among sailors, that both the United States Navy and the British Mercantile Marine Office have taken the extraordinary step of explicitly forbidding captains to do free-lance weddings.

    Similarly, the official logbook supplied to ships’ captains by the British Mercantile Marine Office warns that shipboard marriages performed by the captain are not legal. If the ship is registered in New York state, the captain can be fined or imprisoned.

    So where did the idea arise? We can only guess. Sailors have it drummed into them that the captain (more properly known as the master) is the supreme authority on the ship, and one might easily jump to the conclusion that said authority extends to civil matters. In some jurisdictions, in fact, it does. The Soviet Union allows its masters to attest wills and draw up documents concerning births and deaths (although not to perform marriages). Furthermore, many merchant services, including those in Britain and the U.S., require masters to note marriages, births, deaths, collisions, etc., in the ship’s log. The master thus becomes the registrar of any marriages.

    Finally, we know that in days of yore ships might be at sea or at least beyond the reach of civilization for two years or more. It thus seems reasonable to suppose that a master would be empowered to officiate at a marriage rather than have some local heathen do it.

    Nonetheless–and I’ve checked out seaman’s guides going back to 1850–it does not appear that this has ever been the case. Another myth cruelly shattered.

    The first “closest” answer was Braxton, so we’re making him …
    Today’s winner!!!