Naming your new boat is great fun and a rite of passage, but you do have to put some consideration into it to do it properly. As you know, it’s extremely bad luck to change a boat’s name without an elaborate ceremony to keep you safe. So, it’s best to choose a name that you know you’ll be happy with for the life of the boat.
The best boat names provide some insight into who you are as a person. To help with your selection process, here’s a few Dos and Don’ts to follow.
Match the name to your day-to-day style. If you’re constantly cracking jokes, a funny boat name is appropriate. If you’re professional and a bit reserved, a sophisticated boat name is in order.
Call unwanted attention to yourself. Names like “Knotty Buoys” or “Sotally Tober” may seem like a good idea at the time, but you’re pretty much asking for the police to ask how much you’ve had to drink today.
Draw inspiration from culture and history. Many people find a genuine connection with historical figures, literature, movies, and pop culture. They leave famous quotes at the end of their Emails and get tattoos of their favourite characters. So why not extend the practice to naming your boat?
A mythological name like “Amphitrite” is perfect for the history buff while “Breaking Bass” or “404: Fish Not Found” are great options for boaters who are constantly current.
Avoid cliches and being too common. There are plenty of great boat names if you take the time to get creative, and no need to share too much. It’s a pretty sad moment when - after putting effort, time, and money getting the name stenciled onto your boat - you pull into the boat launch and see 3 other names just like yours.
Stick to tradition. The majority of the world’s languages assign gender to words. The sea and boats both happen to be feminine, and it’s still a classy move to give your boat a female name. The custom, when giving a female name, is to name your boat after someone who inspires you. Your wife, daughter, mother, or other family member always results in pride. Alternatively, feel comfortable choosing an historical figure, a mentor, a leader of industry, or any other person who embodies what your boat means to you.
Avoid choosing a name that only you’ll understand. It’s perfectly okay - encouraged actually - to make it personal but taking it too far is the equivalent of an inside joke that isn’t shared with anyone. You’ll laugh, but everyone else will be confused. Sooner or later you’ll be disappointed.
Drawing your boat's name from your professional is a popular method for choosing a great name. A naturopathic doctor would do well with something like "Vitamin Sea" or "High Cs" if you're in the music profession. However, if you're a pharmacist "Drug Money" may not be the safest choice.
Don't be gross. Sexual innuendos are - at best - funny for about 45 seconds. Names like "Nauti Lust" and "Seaduced" almost always result in a painful cringe. Avoid this, please.
The entire practice of naming your boat humanizes it. Giving it a personality develops a deeper level of care. You’ll want to spend more time with it and you’ll take better care of it. While you’re following our advice remember that a) puns are amazing and b) sit with your choice for awhile. This name is going to stick with you and your boat for years. Taking a few days or weeks to digest if you’ve picked the perfect name for your boat will either reinforce your decision or help you avoid an unhappy mistake.
Once you’ve chosen your boat’s name, the next traditional step is to bless it for good luck.
Break The Bottle
People have blessing their ships since ancient civilization. Ceremonies like animal sacrifices, pray, splash with holy water, and a variety of others were practices to gain favour from the gods and protect the vessel.
As reformation hit Great Britain the practice of prayer was removed, but the superstition remained. Nobles and Royals would instead join the crew and sip from “the standing cup”. Whatever remained in the cup would be poured over the bow for good luck. This is where today’s tradition of breaking a bottle of champaign across the bow stems from. But, the reason we use Champaign is unknown. Perhaps it’s because of its symbolism for power and elegance, or maybe just because it’s delicious.
Yours in Boating,