Boaty McBoatface leads online vote to name £200m research vessel

When NERC opened up suggestions to name their new ship, little could they have predicted what the frontrunner would be

Rebecca Flood
Sunday 20 March 2016 14:55 GMT
RSS Boaty McBoatface? The as-yet-unnamed vessel
RSS Boaty McBoatface? The as-yet-unnamed vessel

The official name of a new multi-million pound research vessel could be the RRS Boaty McBoatface after the internet was asked for its ideas.

When the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) opened up suggestions to name their new ship, little could they have predicted what the frontrunner would be.

Steaming ahead of its rivals, RRS Boaty McBoatface is outstripping the likes of Endeavour, Henry Worsley, David Attenborough, Falcon and many more offerings.

Some other tongue-in-cheek submissions include It’s bloody cold here, Usain Bolt, Ice Ice Baby and Notthetitanic.

The £200 million polar research vessel, which will be operational in 2019, is set to sail the waters of Antarctica and the Arctic carrying a team of 90 scientists and support staff.

In a statement NERC said: “Tonne-for-tonne, the ship - together with NERC's existing two blue water research ships - will provide the UK with the most advanced floating research fleet in the world and will help put the UK at the forefront of ocean research for years to come.”

James Hand on Boaty McBoatface

NERC was looking for a name to reflect the ship's prowess in the oceans, symbolising the pioneering work they will undertake.

When thinking of submissions, they advised: “We're looking for an inspirational name that exemplifies the work it will do.

“The ship could be named after a local historical figure, movement, or landmark - or a famous polar explorer or scientist.

“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 naturally Boaty McBoatyface, suggested by communications manager James Hand – who later tweeted an apology for his input – is the most popular choice.

The competition to name the 128 metre long royal research ship was launched a month ago, with the deadline for voting on April 16.

Due to overwhelming interest the website has periodically crashed due to unusually high volumes of traffic, presumably from fans of Boaty McBoatface.

Lord West on Boaty McBoatface

A twitter account has even been set up under the handle, encouraging people to get on board with the name.

But despite its fame – allegedly picking up more than 15,000 votes - there is no guarantee the name will grace the side of the ship.

Anchored in the terms and conditions, the website states ‘the final name will be selected by NERC.’

It is almost as if someone thought ahead of what could happen when you have an online public vote.

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