Once you’ve purchased your boat, it’s time to find the perfect name. Regardless of what type of vessel you’re naming, there are several things you should keep in mind.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about naming your boat.
Why is my boat’s name so important?
The tradition of naming your boat is as old as sailing itself. A boat’s name often says more about the owner of the vessel than the boat itself. You should put the same careful consideration into your boat’s name as you would with a new pet.
The name of your boat may often be the way you’re remembered in ports and harbors around the world. While individual names may be difficult to remember, someone will always remember the day they spent showing the Ankle Baiter’s crew around the shoreline.
Another reason that your boat’s name is important is that you’ll often reference it during VHF radio communications. A short and simple name works best for these scenarios, however, don’t let that discourage you from being creative!
What is the ceremony people do around naming a boat?
Boats that are named without going through a ceremony are said to be afflicted with bad luck and bad weather.
A traditional boat ceremony involves:
- Lot’s of good friends
- Naming the boat by smashing a bottle of wine or champagne on the boat’s bow
Even if you don’t believe in superstitions, it’s a good idea to throw a ceremony anyway.
A traditional boat naming ceremony can be a fun way to gather your friends and family together to celebrate your new boat.
Where do you put the name on a boat?
Typically, the boat name is placed on the transom and the sides of the vessel. When you register your boat’s name with either the state or federal government, you should check to see if there are any requirements for how to display your boat’s name.
The most common way to put your boat’s name on the transom is using vinyl stickers, however, you can also hand paint your boat’s name to provide more style.
The lettering of your boat’s name should stand out against your boat and be legible.
You can also show some boat pride by getting your boat’s name on custom life rings, life jackets, shirts, and hats. These accessories can provide a fun flair to your boating trips and be a conversation starter around the world. If you’ve got a longer name or slogan in mind for your boat, you can use a simple version for the boat itself and the full version of your custom accessories.
Is it considered bad luck to name a boat?
It is not considered bad luck to name your boat, however, some consider it bad luck to rename a boat.
If you purchase a boat that already has a name, you can consider keeping your boat’s name or go through a boat renaming ceremony if you don’t believe in superstitions, like me.
According to legend, when renaming a boat you should carefully remove all references to the old name before blessing the boat with a new name.
How do I brainstorm a good boat name?
The best boat name is one you’ll see yourself happy with ten years from now. While it may take some time for the perfect name to come to you, be patient.
Don’t rush to name your boat after the first clever pun that pops into your head!
There’s no hard and fast rule that defines what makes a good boat name. Go with something that is both meaningful and easy for you to remember. As a last resort, there’s nothing wrong with using a name generator or one of our examples for your boat’s name.
Keep it simple
Short names that are no longer than three words make the best boat names. Popular traditional boat names such as Odyssey, Liquid Assets, and Seas the Day make use of this convention.
You will often have to say your boat’s name over the VHF radio. This is why it’s important to say potential boat names out loud when you’re brainstorming. You don’t want to lose precious moments during an emergency explaining what your boat’s name actually is, for instance, Lakeside Spotter can easily sound like “taking on water” over a bad radiofrequency.
Try out some humor
A clever pun can make for a great boat name. The best pun-based boat names are those that are clean and easily understood. You don’t want to pick a boat name you need to explain at every dock or gets the local authorities to pay special attention to you.
Idioms and common expressions can make for fantastic boat names. Even a simple play on words can turn into the perfect boat name. For example, you can name your fishing boat something simple yet humorous such as Reel Time or ‘Bout That Bass.
Remember that you’ll be saying your boat’s name over the VHF radio, and you never know who may be listening in. Keep your boat’s name relatively clean and leave the raunchy humor at home.
Make it personal
Naming your boat after a loved one can be a great choice. Whether you pick your grandmother’s name or your daughter’s name, naming your boat after someone you care for can make for a meaningful boat name. While boats are most traditionally named after women, there’s nothing wrong with naming your boat after a special man in your life!
Try playing around with different words around your loved one’s name, such as:
- A title, such as Lady Louise or Queen Caroline
- A play on words, such as Sunny Side Up
- A play on traditional boat names, such as Isla Time
Another great way to name your boat is by incorporating your career or other hobbies. Your job is often a great starting point for idiom or joke based boat names.
For example, a teacher could brainstorm names such as Teacher’s Pet, Summertime, and Weighted Average.
Some of the most memorable boat names are the most creative. This is why it can pay off to sit and think on your boat’s name rather than going with the first name you think of. A unique boat name may take longer to think of, but it can be worth it to find the perfect name for your vessel.
Keep a running list of all the boat names you come across that you enjoy. Often, you’ll be able to create your own unique name using bits and pieces of other names. Inspiration for your boat name can come from many sources such as television, music, or movies.
Don’t limit yourself to strictly nautical inspiration for your vessel’s perfect name!
Consider your boat’s type
You can always use your boat’s model to find inspiration for a good boat name. Pontoon boats named Looney Toon or Toondock Saints will find a place alongside small boats named Tiny Dancer and Toy Rocket. Try to avoid overused or cliche names if you can.
For bass and fishing boats, many turn to inside jokes and puns to find the right name. Keep in mind what you fish for (and catch) most often when you’re brainstorming names. It doesn’t make sense to name your bass boat after a catfish joke!
If you’re looking for ideas for your fishing boat’s name, consider the following as inspiration:
- Wild Reels
- Bass Junkie
- The Big One
- Angler Management
- Fishy Business
Sailboats and their owners can dream up a variety of names. Sailboats are often named in ways that remind you of the call of the ocean, such as:
- The Mystic
- Sails Tax
Find yourself with a small boat? Even the smallest vessel can provide you with endless fun. Consider where and when you’ll be using your small boat the most when brainstorming names.
If you’re looking for something more traditional for your small boat, there’s plenty of names to consider, like:
- River Runner
- Tin Minnow
Your boat name says a lot about you
The name of your boat not only speaks to who you are, but what you plan to do with the boat. The perfect name for your boat may not come to you right away. It’s important that you give yourself time to think about different names and to try saying them out loud.
While you may believe that inside joke between you and your fishing buddies may make a great name for your new boat, will it be easy to convey your boat’s name when you’re in an emergency? Will you be able to say your boat’s name with a straight face when children are present?
These are important things to consider if you plan on visiting a variety of different ports that won’t know the backstory behind your boat’s name.
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.