Our story begins when The Natural Environment Research Council needed a name for their new £287 million research vessel. In an attempt to get the public interested in their science endeavors, they opened a poll with the hashtag #nameourship, where UK citizens could submit names and vote for the name they felt best suited for the vessel. Well, want to guess how THAT worked out?
James Hand submitted the name Boaty McBoatface, which has amassed 124,109 votes, putting the now iconic name 84,223 votes ahead of the next contender RRS Poppy Mai. The NERC closed the poll April 16th with 7,000 submissions and they are now faced with the tough task of picking the official name.
There are two distinct camps in the discussions surrounding what the NERC should do. Some believe that they should honor the poll and others are absolutely horrified that the public chose such a “stupid” name. Some argue that naming this research vessel Boaty McBoatface could lead to other ridiculous names such as “Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble” (not a bad name actually…), and that all this insanity is merely the result of a world of social media, idiots with smart phones. Jo Johnson, the science minister, crushing the McBoatface dreamers, seems to agree with the last sentiment, stating that he wants a name that “lasts longer than a social media news cycle and reflects the serious nature of the science it will be doing”. We really hate to break it to these people, but social media is not just some flighty news cycle, but is in fact how the current generation gets much of their information. It is no more of a “fad” than television in, and these people are the very ones this campaign intended to target and get interested in science!
David Attenborough has spoken out about the controversial name and thinks the NERC should pick something else. We are sure this has NOTHING to do with the fact that his name was a contender and came in 4th place with only 344 points, separating him from “Its bloody cold here” in fifth place.
No matter what name they pick, Boaty McBoatface will always be the unofficial name, according to Tom Sheldon, the Senior Press Officer at Science Media Centre. And, honestly, we agree with him! In terms of PR for the NERC, this #nameourship campaign has done wonders for them. “The entire nation have been discussing a polar research ship. And they’ve all heard of NERC. How many other scientific research councils could they name?” Would this even be a story if the controversy around the “Boaty McBoatface” hadn’t stirred up as much debate as it has?
RRS Boaty McBoatface is set to sale in 2019, and whatever name they pick, she will make a huge difference in the research capability in some of the iciest and harshest conditions here on planet earth. We can only hope these choose wisely!
Other honorable mentions:
- RRS BOATIMUS PRIME
- RRS I LIKE BIG BOATS&I CANNOT LIE
- RRS WHAT ICEBERG?
- RRS THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH
- RRS BIG METAL FLOATY THINGY-THING
- RRS ICE ICE BABY
- RRS BOATASAURUS REX
- RRS NOTTHETITANIC
- RRS CLIFFORD THE BIG RED BOAT
- RRS BIPPITYBOPPITY FLOATILYBOATILY
- RRS IM THE CAPTAIN NOW
- RRS NICOLAS CAGE
- RRS FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER
- RRS NETFLIX AND ENDURE SUB-ZERO
- RRS ICEY SMASHY-SMASH
- RRS BOATBACK MOUNTAIN
- RRS ICE TO SEE YOU
- RRS MOSTLY HARMLESS
- RRS SLIPPERY WHEN WET
- RRS IMMACRACKDATICE
- RRS DORA THE POLAR EXPLORER
And, sadly, despite being one of our favorites, this next one trailed in the voting, but it still makes OUR list!
47. RRS GNARLY NARWHAL
It will in fact, sadly be named the RRS Sir David Attenborough. They named one of the remotely operated subs Boaty McBoatface, but to us, the ship will ALWAYS be the RSS Boaty McBoatface! But, I guess either is still a better name then….