Back in 2017, a research vessel from the UK was getting ready for its maiden scientific voyage. But the British government had a relatively “modern” idea to help them name the ship: they’re going to let the internet name it. And if you’re a new boat owner looking for the best boat name ideas, try to steer away from this method.
Related: Best Boating Apps Every Boater Can Swear By
Needless to say, it didn’t exactly pan out the way they hoped. The vote came in, and the internet has spoken: the ship shall be named, according to them, “Boaty McBoatFace”. Yeah, nope. Not the best method for sourcing boat name ideas, but hey, it shouldn’t stop you from finding a name for your vessel!
So here we are: here’s what you need to know about finding a name for your boat.
Boat Name Ideas: The Basics Of Prefixes
Let’s start with something a little more obvious. You know those boat names with letter prefixes? Examples are like: SS Lancaster, USS Missouri, or FV Lickety Split. If there’s one thing you should know, those letter prefixes have a meaning, and you can only use specific ones for specific types of watercraft.
For instance, SS means sailing ship. So you can’t obviously use an SS prefix if your boat doesn’t have sails, because registering that is nonsensical. Next up, USS. It stands for United States Ship, and you can only use it if your vessel is commissioned by the United States Navy. Any usage outside of that jurisdiction is strictly prohibited.
As for privately owned leisure boats, you’re not technically required to put a prefix in front of your boat’s name. The only time it will be required is if it’s a military or commercial vessel, like a Navy destroyer or a fishing ship.
Here is a quick list of the most common prefixes and their meanings:
- Lifeboat – LB
- Cable Ship – CS
- Fishing Vessel – FV
- Nuclear Ship – NS
- Gas Turbine Ship – GTS
- Motor Tanker – MT
- Platform Supply Vessel – PSV
- Training Ship – TS
- Motor Vessel/Motor Ship – MV/MS
- Royal Mail Ship – RMS
- Motor Yacht – MY
- Research Vessel – RV
- Sailing Vessel – SV
TLDR: The letter prefix mainly depends on what type of vessel you have. But if you’re a private boat owner, you don’t really need to bother adding one.
Short answer: you can literally name your boat anyway you want. In fact, you can pick out the silliest name you can think of (outside something that’s commonly considered explicit), and run away with it. But it’s important to note as well that the name you pick should make at least a little bit of sense with regards to your boat.
Say, if you have a speedboat or something else that can go really fast, why not try a name like Wave Dancer or Flash? Or if it’s a relatively sizable vessel like a yacht, go for something majestic like Pearl Of The Seven Seas or Her Majesty? Or why not just name your boat after yourself or someone you hold dear, like your sports hero or your spouse?
There are so many possible name combinations you can think of. And at the end of the day, it all depends on you what to name your boat because it’s yours!
Is Renaming Your Boat A Bad Idea?
Sailors can sometimes be a very superstitious lot. If you are one of those, then you might think that it’s bad luck to rename your boat. This isn’t all bogus, since it has some roots in history.
Back in the old days, boats and ships had names and reputations at the ports they frequent. Locals will trust a boat’s crew if they prove themselves enough at port, and will link this trust to the vessel’s name. If a boat is renamed for whatever reason, even if it docked at a previously friendly port, it will be met with suspicion because it doesn’t have the same reputation that its old name had.
Of course, in modern times this is a rare occurrence. What happens nowadays is that you might get to buy a used boat for cheap, and it has a weird name that you really don’t like. For that, you can perform a simple renaming ceremony by doing these:
- Remove everything on the vessel that bears its old name. Literally check everything from chains to life preservers, and most especially the paperwork.
- Notify the Coast Guard and other proper authorities of the name change. Be sure to provide proper documentation!
- Make a speech and inform anything and everything, even the sea gods, that the boat’s name has been changed. Afterwards, splash champagne across the hull and on the deck if you can. You can also try smashing a bottle of champagne on the vessel, but you don’t really need to.
Related: Do You Need a License to Drive a Boat?
Whatever you decide to name your boat at the end of the day, it’s your decision to make. Just don’t forget to make sure that it can withstand nature’s fury enough to create a reputation bound to its name though! You can start to make a secondhand boat more durable by starting simple: install new boat windows! We at Peninsula Glass can help you out with that.