Baptism held aboard Coast Guard Cutter Thetis

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Thetis holds a baptism aboard the cutter in Key West, Feb. 15, 2018. Two babies were baptized in the nautical ceremony that dates back to the 17th century. (US Coast Guard Photo)

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Thetis holds a baptism aboard the cutter in Key West, Feb. 15, 2018. Two babies were baptized in the nautical ceremony that dates back to the 17th century. (US Coast Guard Photo)

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, the ship’s bell of the Coast Guard Cutter Thetis was turned upside down and for two baptism ceremonies. Conor Grayson Goff and Madison Cecilia Sonnier would became the first two people to have their names engraved on the bell, as part of a nautical tradition dated back to the 17th century.

This tradition was created for children born at sea or in foreign ports, and is still carried out aboard Coast Guard and Navy ships all throughout the world.

Chief Petty Officer Dakota Goff, husband to Jessica Goff, joined the Coast Guard in August 2003, and First Class Petty Officer James Sonnier, husband to Laura Sonnier, joined the Coast Guard in September 1999. Both members, currently serve aboard the cutter Thetis and decided to have a combined baptism to celebrate the honors and traditions of this ceremony.

While it is a rare ceremony to take place on military ships, Goff’s daughter, Emmalyn, was also baptized on the Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane while he was stationed aboard the cutter. “My wife and I love being able to share our spiritual and maritime tradition as a family,” said Goff.

“I will retire before my daughter is old enough to understand that she was baptized on a Coast Guard vessel. When she is older, I want to bring her back to the ship I worked on, and show her where her name was engraved on the ship’s bell,” said Sonnier.

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