The Internet sucks at naming boats
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) just did a very foolish thing.
The British based research group was looking for a little bit of advice on what to name its £200 million (roughly $288 million) polar research vessel. The ship will be NERC’s third, further solidifying the organization’s reputation for controlling the most advanced floating research fleet in the world.
To help with the naming, the NERC turned to the Internet. What could possibly go wrong?
RSS Boaty McBoatface. That’s what could go wrong.
The voting won’t be complete until April 16, but the clear leader at this point by a wide margin is “RSS Boaty McBoatface.” It’s not even close.
The name actually originated from NERC’s community manager, James Hand, who foolishly suggested the name in a tweet. He was joking, the Internet was not, so now the most advanced polar research vessel in the world may be named Boaty McBoatface.
This is why you don’t ask the Internet for advice.
To be fair, it could be much worse. While the NERC would no doubt prefer one of the other choices like Endeavour, Henry Worsley, David Attenborough, or Falcon, it could also end up with Usain Bolt, Ice Ice Baby, or Notthetitanic.
Ideally, the NERC was looking for a name it hoped would reflect the ship’s power and prowess.
“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,” It said prior to accepting submissions.
“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 far more than 15,000 people have voted for Boaty McBoatface. The website has even crashed due to the interest, and now that the story is getting a little publicity, things are probably about to snowball.
Of course, the NERC can, and probably will elect to go with another name, maybe the second runner up or something else altogether. It isn’t legally bound by the results of the poll.
But if the NERC has a sense of honor, one day soon the polar seas will be greeted by the majestic and powerful RSS Boaty McBoatface. Make it so, Internet. Make it so.