‘Boaty McBoatface’ Is What Happens When You Ask the Internet to Name Your Ship

March 21, 2016, 6:56 PM UTC
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Sometimes, the Internet is just plain fun.

Over the weekend, the U.K.’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) launched a poll to name its newest polar research vessel. The good news is that engagement in the poll has been exceedingly high—so high that the site hosting the poll has crashed. The even better news is that the winning name is Boaty McBoatface.


The name was suggested by communications manager James Hand, who said he chose it because “it’s an absolutely brilliant name,” according to British TV news site ITV. Hand has since said he will not be backing the name he put forward and is instead voting for RSS David Attenborough to be the new name.

But the name Boaty McBoatface is going full steam ahead, with or without Hand. The name already has its own Twitter handle, and is trending on the social network. Some brands have decided to have a laugh of their own, with snack company Graze creating a (fictional) “Snacky McSnackbox” in its honor.


So will the $288 million ship be called the RRS Boaty McBoatface if it ends up winning in the poll? Not necessarily. The NERC had the foresight to call the submissions “suggestions.”

“The storm that’s been created—it’s got legs of its own,” Hand told the BBC. Pun intended?

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