Never Let The Internet Name Your Boat…Or Anything Else

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The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is learning this lesson the hard way.

There you are, a prestigious scientific organization, about to launch one of the world’s most advanced polat research vessels valued at over £200 million ($289 million US) and you have decided, as a means of gaining the attention of the public, to have an online contest to name the vessel. Naturally, this being the Internet, it’s all gone horribly wrong in a manner one might expect of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

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 what name is winning this contest with over 15,000 votes?

Boaty McBoatyface

Communications manager James Hand suggested the name…and has since apologized for his input. Boaty McBoatyface is crushing competing names such as…

  • It’s bloody cold here
  • Usain Bolt
  • Ice Ice Baby
  • Notthetitanic

There were even a few submissions which actually fit the criteria laid out by NERC.

  • Endeavour
  • Henry Worsley
  • David Attenborough
  • Falcon

Fortunately, for the organization, they covered their asses in the terms and conditions of the contest, where they cleverly inserted “the final name will be selected by NERC.”

So let this be a lesson to anyone thinking that titles can be left to the online world. The Internet is very much like a child: It’s full of endless potential but should only be given limited, clearly defined options.

-Tristan Pinnock, Blast Oceanography Correspondent

Tristan's just this guy, ya know?