Related Resources: Crossing the Line, Plank Owner and Other Unofficial Certificates Acquired by Naval Personnel
Through the years, the wish to mark
other seagoing milestones has given birth to certificates for
all kinds of distinctions. Most of them are variations on the
shellback theme; they document, typically in salty language, passing
certain places for the first time. Some of these time-honored
traditions that have come to light include:
Crossing of the Antarctic Circle (66-32 South latitude). Also known as the "Royal Domain of the Penguin" "Frozen Stiff" or "Red Nose."
Crossing of the Arctic Circle (66-32 North latitude). Also known as the "Northern Domain of the Polar Bear" or "Blue Nose."
Crossing of the Arctic Circle (66-32 North latitude). See also "Arctic Circle," and "Northern Domain of the Polar Bear."
Anyone who had made an unscheduled parachute jump from a disabled plane. Caterpillar denotes use of a silkworm's product in parachute construction. Club members wear a gold caterpillar on civies only, the color of the caterpillar's jeweled eyes is determined by the circumstances, i.e. ruby eyes show that the wearer has survived a midair collision.
Pilots who have completed their 100th carrier landing. Also applicable to hurricane hunters who have flown through winds of 100 miles per hour or more.
Deep Dive Diploma
Presented to crew members for first dives, last dives, etc.
Decommissioning of a ship, land unit, or squadron.
Deep Dive Diploma
Issued to crew of USS Nautilus (SSN-571) during the boat's first dive.
Pilots who have completed their 200th carrier landing.
Crossing of the Equator at the Greenwich Meridian.
Members who have crossed the Antarctic Circle and are entitled to all privileges of this frozen realm of blizzards, including freezing, shivering, starving and any other privileged miseries that can possibly be bestowed.
Crossing of the 180th Meridian (International Date Line).
Crossing of the Equator at the 180th Meridian.
Pilots who ditch and have to take to a life raft. If they spend more than 24 hours on the raft, they become "Sea Squatters."
Cruising the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes.
Commemorating service in Iceland.
Traversing around Cape Horn.
Neutron Owners Certificate
Plank owner certificate issued to crew of USS Nautilus (SSN-571) on 17 Jan. 1955 at latitude 40 20' 46.
Northern Domain of the Polar Bear
Crossing the Arctic Circle (66- 32 North latitude). See also "Arctic Circle" and "Blue Nose"
Order of Magellan
Going around the World.
Order of the Ditch
Transiting the Panama Canal. See also "Panama Canal."
Order of the Nuclear Navy
Designates the bearer of this wallet-sized card as an honorary member of the USS Nautilus' ships company. It was issued to personnel outside of the crew who had "performed feats underwater" while aboard the vessel for a visit.
Order of the Rock
Transit through the Straits of Gibraltar.
Order of the Square Rigger
Service on any square rigger ship.
Transit through the Panama Canal. Also "Order of the Ditch."
Persian Gulf service
Commissioning a Ship or Shore Command Special Honorary title for those certificates requiring it.
Member who has not previously "crossed the Line" (Equator).
Realm of the Czars
Cruising the Black Sea.
Member who has crossed the Antarctic Circle (66-32 South latitude). See also "Antarctic Circle," "Frozen Stiff" and "Royal Domain of the Emperor Penquin."
Service at the Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 1, California.
Royal Domain of the Emperor Penguin
Crossing the Antarctic Circle (66-32 South latitude). Also "Antarctic Circle" "Frozen Stiff" and "Red Nose."
Royal Experiment of Guinea Pigs
at Bikini Atoll
Operation Crossroads, 1946
Royal Order of Whale Bangers
Crew members who accidentally fired at a whale, unfortunately mistaking it for a submarine.
Safari to Suez
Transiting the Suez Canal.
Member who takes to the water and spend more than 24 hours on a life raft.
Crossing the Equator. Special Gold Shellback title for crossing at the International Date Line, special Emerald Shellback title for crossing at the Greenwich Meridian.
Cruising the Caribbean.
Transit through the Suez Canal. Also "Safari to Suez."
Note: If you are a Navy veteran who has received a certificate not listed above, and would like the certificate considered for inclusion in this list, send a photocopy of the certificate with a brief explanation concerning its issuance to:
Web Site Committee
Naval Historical Center
805 Kidder Breese Street
Washington Navy Yard
Washington DC 20374-5060