The Internet Votes to Name a $283 Million Ship 'Boaty McBoatface'
When you ask for the Internet’s help, the results can be unexpected to say the least, and that is exactly what has happened in the UK with a rather straightforward naming competition. The UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), an organization which funds environmental scientific research, recently announced a #NameOurShip campaign to address the group’s latest polar research vessel. The 15,000 ton and 423-foot-long royal research ship (“RRS”) is currently under construction at Britain’s Cammell Laird Shipyard, and is estimated to set sail in 2019. All told, it’s said to cost around £200 million, or about $283 million. So what’s the name that currently leads the public online vote for this momentous ship? You just can’t make this up—RRS Boaty McBoatface, and in the lead with a commanding 54,200 votes. RELATED: Someone Turned an Old GMC into a Street-Legal "Boat Car"
The grin-worthy moniker was suggested by UK communications professional James Hand, who has become an overnight celebrity of sorts after submitting Boaty McBoatface earlier this month. He recently took to Twitter, saying “I’m terribly sorry about all of this, @NERCscience.”
He later wrote, “My apology for #BoatyMcBoatface was in the most British sense. I stand by it being a brilliant name.”
The organization had originally suggested more traditional names at the contest’s announcement, such as Endeavour, Falcon, and Shackleton, the later of which is a nod to British polar explorer Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton. However these names haven’t gained much traction amongst Internet voters.
Instead, some of the more popular oddball suggestions for the polar research vessel include the “RRS Its Bloody Cold Here”, “RRS Usain Boat”, “RRS Boatimus Prime”, and “RRS Ice Ice Baby”, among many others.
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When launched, the yet-to-be-named vessel will be the UK’s largest and most advanced of its kind, and will allow scientists to conduct research at the poles during the harsh winter months. Boaty McBoatface, if so named, can survive up to 60 days in sea ice, travel 19,000 miles non-stop, and deploy both robotic submarines, marine gliders, and airborne drones.
The #NameOurShip polls close on April 16. Time will tell if a more traditional name is chosen; until then, Boaty McBoatface continues to lead the charge.
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