Are you planning on buying a boat or already own a vessel and can’t find a befitting name?
This article provides tips and tricks to help you choose a unique boat name so it stands out in the dock.
But first, can you give your boat the same name as other watercrafts? Let’s find out.
Can more boats have the same name?
Yes, several boats can use the same name because watercrafts are identified by hull number. In the U.S., UK, and many other countries, several boats can use the same name even if they are the same model. However, the rules defer in some countries.
Here’s everything you need to know.
In most places, there are no regulations prohibiting boaters from giving their vessels the same name as other boats.
In the U.S., boats must have unique hull ID numbers.
A glance through an online boat name database such as Boats.com will show that there are names popular among boaters of all ages.
In Australia, boat names must be unique because you require it for the registration process.
It is fine to choose a common name which many people can remember. But this increases the chances of confusion when you meet your boat’s namesake on the airwaves.
What’s in a Boat’s Name?
Considering that boats hold a huge sentimental value in their owners’ lives, you want to give deep thought to your vessel’s name.
Like a dog, a boat’s name reveals a lot about the owner’s personality, challenges, aspirations, love life, and general life outlook.
A boat can take any name but you want yours to evoke good memories.
The best boat names are not only memorable, but they deliver a positive impression about the owner and applause from the Coast Guard and other boats on the radio.
To help you choose the best name for your boat, here are 11 tips to keep handy when name hunting for your prized vessel.
Choosing a Unique Name For Your Boat
It’s best to choose a unique boat name.
But the first step before deciding on a name for your boat is to check the common names of vessels in your area.
Just like people don’t want common names for their dogs to avoid confusion at the neighborhood park, your boat’s name should be outstanding.
But how do you know which names are popular?
By checking boat name databases. There are online databases and the maritime regulatory authorities maintain a registry of boat names.
One great resource is the BoatUS Top 10 Boat Names List.
You can choose a popular name but try to avoid selecting one from your boating region.
A popular boat name might make your vessel easy to recall, but it can confuse other boats in the vicinity with the same name.
To avoid confusion, choose a unique but easy-to-remember name. If you go with a popular name, choose one that is not a favorite of boaters in your region.
While it’s better to choose a unique boat name, it can be difficult in places like the US where the boating culture is strong. In places like Clear Lake Texas, there are so many boats you may need to combine different terms to get a unique name for your vessel.
Take Your Time To Get It Right
Choosing a boat name doesn’t have to be hasty.
It might take time for you to decide on the best name but it will come, eventually. During that period, you can rule out names and wait for the Aha moment.
What is sure is that you will know it’s the one when it pops up in your mind.
Short and Simple Is Often Best
The most popular boats have one-word names.
Names like Dauntless, Titanic, Endeavor, Valor, and Conqueror come to mind.
Not only are short names punchy, but they are also easy to remember.
When you need to communicate with other boats and maritime law enforcement, a short name makes communication with your vessel easier and faster.
Whether you are radioing the Coast Guard for help or you won a racing competition, a great boat name should be easy to say and remember.
If your boat name is too long, it might force you to use small and illegible letters to write it on the vessel.
It also makes it difficult for other boaters and first responders to read your boat’s name during emergencies.
Imagine us featuring your boat on this blog. Would you be proud of being associated with its name?
If it’s over three words, your boat name is more of a liability.
Choosing a Good Name
Your boat’s name says a lot about you.
Some people call their boat names like Might Probably Sink, Rock Bottom, Bankruptcy and other things that connote bad luck.
You want names that are inspiring, positive and leave a lasting impression on people.
People don’t forget bad boat names and find it difficult to remember average ones.
But great boat names demonstrate your personality to other boaters.
Consider the good times you plan on having with the vessel and find an appropriate name to show you are proud of owning it.
Avoid Common Clichés
Eliminate clichés like Island Time, Happy Ours and other overused names.
What do you want to be remembered for on the water? Imagine yourself as the boat. What name would fit your personality?
It’s easy to find a name that represents who you are while standing out. You just have to dig a little deeper and be creative.
This point relates to giving your boat a good name.
Some boat names are outright offensive and confusing during emergencies.
Considering that kids might listen to your chatter on their parent’s boat, it’s better to keep your vessel’s name clean.
You won’t be taken seriously with a profane name and that can be costly when your safety is as stake.
Consider Your Loved Ones
It is common to name boats after loved ones.
You can choose the name of your parents, children, friends, and pets.
And you can choose a name related to their profession or passion.
If your dad was a soldier, you could combine his name with a martial theme for the boat. A popular practice among boaters is to give their vessels the name of their partner or onetime lover.
That’s probably why there are so many “Miss Name of Ship” boats around.
If you are out of your wits for a name, maybe your social circle can provide a name that stands out.
This is especially true if your family and friends have an exotic background such as a Greek or Nordic pedigree.
Imagine giving your boat the name Astrid?
Add Some Fun
A boat name doesn’t always have to be serious.
You can call your vessel after your favorite song, book, or writer among others.
It can also come from popular nautical puns although you don’t want it to be overused.
Regardless of the name you select, remember to keep it fun and memorable.
Consider Your Work and other Interests
If you can’t find a suitable name from your social circle and past flames, consider your other interests.
Many people incorporate their profession into their boat names. Others use things they are passionate about or how they feel when on the water.
From your favorite sports team, beloved charity to your company’s most popular achievement, there is an endless list of places to get inspiration for boat names.
You can even get free publicity for your business if you named your boat after it. Names like The Newhaven Orchardist or Chesapeake Locksmith come to mind.
Nature offers millions of unique and lovely names for your boat.
Whether you love something about the weather of an area, an ocean current, a rare antelope species or a natural phenomenon in another language, the possibilities are endless.
For example, the Eskimo language has over 100 words for the wind, making it easy to choose something unique for your boat.
Names like Wind Chaser, Weather Bird, Hemisphere, Aurora, Sirius Black, Meteorite, and others make excellent choices for your boat.
Look at the natural phenomena around you and taking a great and admirable name for your boat will be easy.
A lot of superstition surrounds boating despite advances in marine technology.
Boating exposes you to hundreds of fantastic, otherworldly stories of legendary seafarers from the Vikings, Greek, Germanic, Persian and even obscure civilizations like the fabled Atlantis.
If you want a classic and original boat name, study the legends.
Boat naming should not be hard if you follow the tips above.
And most places allow you to give your boat the same name as many others, although there are exceptions.
Check the rules in your boating region regarding the boat naming regulations to make sure you are not flouting any regulations.
Once you are clear with the rules, take inspiration from your love life, profession, family, music, literature, folklore, and nature.
Your boat’s name shouldn’t only be unique, but it should be easy to say and hear. Listen to the name repeatedly to determine the suitability during emergencies.
With some inspiration and originality, you can give your boat a unique, memorable and excellent name to be proud of.
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Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.