The Internet Wants to Name the UK’s New £200 Million Polar Research Ship, RRS Boaty McBoatface

boaty mcboatface research ship
Is this the future RRS BOATY MCBOATFACE?

Once launched in 2019, it will be one of the most sophisticated polar research vessels ever built. A $300 million state-of-the-art newbuild capable of carrying out the most advanced floating research in the farthest ends of the earth, anticipated to propel the UK to the forefront of ocean research for years to come, and, if the internet gets its way, it will be named RRS Boaty McBoatface.

That’s right. The internet is voting to name the UK’s newest and most advanced polar research ship Boaty McBoatface.

It all started last Thursday when the UK National Environment Research Council and Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson announced the online #NameOurShip contest to help name the UK’s next polar research ship to be built at the world famous Cammell Laird shipyard in the North West of England.

“Can you imagine one of the world’s biggest research labs traveling to the Antarctic with your suggested name proudly emblazoned on the side?” asked Johnson.

In NERC’s statement announcing the contest, the organization explained:

 Operating in one of the world’s most challenging global environments – our polar regions – 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.

But what NERC and Johnson did not anticipate is that the internet would take the idea and have a little bit of fun with it. By Sunday morning, #BoatyMcBoatface was trending on Twitter, causing the NERC “Name Our Ship” website to crash with the sudden viral traffic that the organization was obviously not prepared for. 

According to NERC’s website on Monday, RRS BOATY MCBOATFACE was leading the field with nearly 30,000 upvotes, by far the most popular among 3,500-plus entries submitted in the contest. Other top contenders include RSS IT’S BLOODY COLD HERE, USAIN BOAT, ICE ICE BABY, WHAT ICEBERG, NOTTHETITANIC, I’M THE CAPTAIN NOW and BOAT MARLEY AND THE WHALERS, just to name a few. 

As for the final name of the ship, that will ultimately be decided by NERC – no matter how many votes the crowd favorite gets. But we can hope, can’t we?

The #NameOurShip contest closes April 16.