Boat Names – How Do You Choose?
Boat naming has been around for thousands of years, started when sailors named their vessels after deities and saints in the hopes of good fortune and smooth sailing. Names were chosen very carefully since the wrong name meant the difference between a safe voyage or being lost at sea.
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There are so many names to choose from and so many directions you could take. Maybe you have a favourite song, a wicked sense of humour, love puns, or simply want to go traditional and pay a tribute to your beloved. There are a few things to keep in mind, which we’ll go through below, to help make naming your boat fun and painless.
According to seafaring legends, it’s bad luck to rename a boat or to give a boat a name that begins with O. Also, boat naming is steeped in lore and whether you believe it or not, you’re probably better off not tempting fate by naming your boat something tragic like Titanic or Unsinkable. Check out some other common boating superstitions. No matter if you’re superstitious or just a stickler for tradition, you’ll want to create a name that really sticks and that you won’t have to change later.
Before you can move on to picking a name and christening your beauty, there are a few more practical things to keep in mind:
- The name should be two/ three words max. No room for a sonnet here.
- The name should be short enough to fit on the transom and still be easy to read.
- The name should be easy to communicate over the VHF radio. Marine radio etiquette includes saying the name three times, so this is particularly important. Read more about VHF etiquette.
- The name can’t be anything that might be used to ask for help on the water (i.e. Man Overboard.)
- The name shouldn’t use racist, sexist, or profane language. Keep it classy.
- If it’s something you’d be embarrassed to say over the radio (like any of these) you won’t want it to be your primary identity at the wharf or out on the water.
Ready to create your list of potential names? Take your time and consider, most of all, what fits your boat, your values and your lifestyle. After all, when you’re on the water, your boat’s name becomes your name, so you’ll want to choose wisely. Here are some basic guidelines for how to choose the perfect moniker:
- How big is the boat/yacht?
- What type of boat do you have? Sailing yacht, powerboat, wooden boat, or sleek and modern are all suited to very different types of names. If you want to use a prefix, make sure it matches the type of boat. (For example, SS actually stands for Steam Ship.)
- What is your boat’s personality? If you’ve spent a fair amount of time aboard, you’ll probably have noticed that she has her own quirks.
- What mood do you want the name to convey? Some options include names that suggest relaxation, fun, adventure, romance, or a good pun to make others chuckle.
- Do you have a favourite animal?
- What is your profession or hobby?
- Are there any songs, movies or other pop culture references that you love?
- Do you want a traditional swashbuckling-type name? There are some great ones here.
- Do you like the sound of foreign names (for instance, La Belle Vita—The Beautiful Life)
- Lastly, what name makes you smile whenever you say it? That will more than likely be the name for your vessel!
Stuck for ideas? Try this fun Boat Name Generator from Linger and Lock. You can select preferences like “I like puns” or “it’s a big boat” to help narrow down the choices even further. Here are some randomly chosen boat names to get your imagination cruising:
- Sea Breeze
- Bitter End
- Adagio (slow tempo)
- Kids Inheritance
- Knot on Call
- Sea Ya
- Midlife Crisis
Before you settle on a name, make sure that no other Canadian vessel shares this name. Use this searchable database here. You can use a different spelling for your favourite name as well, if you find your choice is already spoken for.
In keeping with tradition, you might want to christen your boat once you’ve chosen a name. This dates to ancient Greek times when Grecians wore wreaths of olive branches on their heads and drank fine wine to honour the gods. In the Middle Ages, two friars would board the boat and bless it before its maiden voyage. Essentially, this type of ceremony is meant to invoke protection of the gods and keep the men safe during long and perilous journeys. You can read more about the historical significance of christening a boat.
Gather up some friends, a bottle of something sparkly (champagne is the top choice) to drink, a branch of greens and a pre-scored bottle of wine to break on the boat. Keep the bottle in a bag to keep broken glass from falling into the water/onto your boat.
You’ll want to have your boat ready to go at the dock for a short maiden voyage after the celebration. Read a short poem, say a few words about the boat, and toast to many happy adventures. The pre-scored bottle will be broken over the bow of the boat. Aim to break the bottle over the metal rails to prevent any damage to the body of the boat.
For all your nautical needs, Van Isle Marina is the place to be. Located in beautiful Sidney, BC, we are Western Canada’s yachting experts and an exclusive authorized dealer of luxury Pursuit boats. Whether you’re looking for pre-owned, brand new, a basic sailing boat or a large motor yacht, our team of professional brokers can find the perfect boat for you. We offer extensive, fully serviced moorage and a world-class sales dock. Come on down or contact us today to get started on your next big adventure.