The Natural Environment Research Council, in a move that many would consider unwise, are leaving the name of their newest Royal Research Ship, which costs £200 million up to an open vote online. Comically, but perhaps far more tasteful than could be expected from such a poll, RRS Boaty McBoatface is currently the forerunner in the contest by quite a large margin. James Hand, who submitted the name suggestion simply stated in his submission that “It’s an absolutely brilliant name.”
— Natural Environment Research Council (@NERCscience) March 18, 2016
The boat in question has been in development since 2014, as part of a £200 million grant to fund a new polar research vessel to provide the UK with a world-leading research capability in Arctic and Antarctic locations. Currently still under construction in the Cammell Laird Shipyard, the vessel will measure 128 meters long and have a full displacement of around 15 thousand tons.
Suggestions for the name will be open for new submission and voting until the 16th April, which is plenty of time for a whole host of great amusing and serious names to be voted on. Some people are already trying to cash in on the success of “Boaty McBoatface” with names such as “Boaty McBoatface The Return” while others settle for references to their favorite series, such as the “Pillar of Autumn” from Halo or “Boatimus Prime” a twist on the name of the popular Transformer.
As it stands, “Boaty McBoatface” looks set to win after only 3 days of contest, but with nearly a month to go before the winner is declared, there could very easily be an upset from a trailing competitor, be it another amusing entry, or serious suggestion, like the popular “RSS David Attenborough.” If you want to weigh in on the selection, the voting site can be found here, where you can browse popular submissions or submit your own, complete with an image of the boat adorned with the name.