Sailing vessels have been referred to as female and given feminine names for centuries.
But officials at the Scottish Maritime Museum are introducing a “gender neutral interpretation” of ships.
Director David Mann said the museum, in Irvine, Ayrshire, has been forced into the move by vandals.
The words ‘she’ and ‘her’ on a sign explaining the history of one of the museums vessels were scratched out by an offended vandal last week.
Mr Mann said it is the second time this year vandals have targeted the “very expensive” signs.
He said they are now looking to phase in the use of new gender neutral signs adding that they ‘recognise the changes in society’.
Mr Mann said: “The Scottish Maritime Museum is a charity, which works hard to preserve our country’s maritime heritage for everyone to enjoy.
“For the second time this year, the museum has been targeted by a vandal, who has destroyed one of the interpretation signs which follow the universally adopted and centuries old maritime tradition of referring to vessels as female.
“Like other maritime museums and institutions, we recognise the changes in society and are committed to introducing gender neutral interpretation.
“As a small charity, however, we are doing this in a phased way so that we are not taking our limited funds away from important preservation activity, introducing gender neutral signs when new interpretation is required.”
The museum holds an important nationally recognised collection of historic vessels, artefacts and the largest collection of shipbuilding tools and machinery in the country Last week the museum took to social media saying: “Second time in a year our signs referring to vessels as she/her have been vandalised.
“We are a charity and our signs are very expensive.
“We can’t afford to replace all signs but new signs are gender neutral. Get in touch, we would love to discuss it.”
Outraged social media users commented on the post saying political correctness had gone too far.
One said: “People are so ignorant, they want to be respected but don’t respect in return.
“This isn’t how it works you don’t get to erase history and like it or not ships have always been referred to as she.”
Another said: “Political correctness is getting out of hand, the few are trying to bully the majority, there is room in this world for everyone.
“This damage does not do there cause any good at all.”
And another added: “The the work of a maladjusted moron, all vessels are “she” amazingly no vessel has ever been recorded as possessing either set of genitalia either.”