At the River Styx, the ferryman waits at the gates of the underworld, making sure those who pass have silver coins to pay their toll to Hades' kingdom.
The Greek legend dates back to the days of Homer and Odysseus, but modern-day sailors know better than to mess with ancient maritime tradition or superstition.
Before the Spirit of South Carolina's crew erected a 97-foot-long main mast into the ship's 150-ton frame Wednesday, the daughter of the ship's director placed a silver coin under the mast to protect sailors for generations to come.
"It protects the ship," Brad Van Liew explained to his 5-year-old daughter, Tate. "It's like a blessing."
"Ohhhhh," she said and nodded.
Tate leaned over the ship's floor and placed the coin that dates back to 1879. As she recited an ode of protection, led by Captain Tony Arrow, she likely did not realize the significance of her role. But Van Liew, director of the S.C. Maritime Foundation, decided that because his two children had contributed significantly to the project by sharing their parents, they deserved the honor. Wyatt, 2, will place a South Carolina quarter under the foremast today, if all goes according to plan. [...]