Passport

It’s ‘Very British’ to Name a Multimillion-Dollar Research Vessel Boaty McBoatface

A contest to name a multimillion-dollar shipping vessel means that names like Boaty McBoatface are suddenly being taken seriously.

GettyImages-83580697 (1)

Last month, Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council opened a poll allowing Brits to vote on the name of a multi-million dollar research vessel that will be deployed to the Arctic and Antarctica in 2019.

“We’re looking for an inspirational name that exemplifies the work it will do,” the council said in a statement announcing the contest. “We would like the name to be inspirational and about environmental and polar science, to help us tell everyone about the amazing work the ship does.”

So that naturally inspired James Hand, a former BBC Radio Jersey presenter, to submit his simple suggestion: “Boaty McBoatface.”

Now, that absolutely insane name for a boat might actually win. Voters have until April 16 to participate in the contest, and by Monday afternoon Boaty McBoatface was leading by some 27,000 votes. Other suggestions included “Ice Ice Baby” and “It’s Bloody Cold Out Here,” but the popularity of Boaty McBoatface has been so extreme that the website has crashed multiple times in the past few days.

Hand took to Twitter Sunday to apologize for ever suggesting such a ridiculous name.

But he defended it in an interview on his old radio station, adding that the fact it’s winning is a “very British thing.”

“It’s a brilliant name and actually when you submit them you have to submit a reason, and I actually put ‘it’s a brilliant name,’ which I stand by,” he said.

Photo credit: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

Siobhán O’Grady is a freelance journalist working across sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked as a staff writer at Foreign Policy. @siobhan_ogrady

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola