Naming a boat can seem like one of the easier aspects of owning your own vessel after sorting out boat insurance and plans for maintenance. If you’re looking to buy one, the chances are you already have some potential boat names in mind. In spite of this, when it comes to choosing a permanent name, there are some things you should always consider. These include suitability, laws regarding boat names and how it sounds in case there’s an emergency.
Some things to consider are:
Here is our guide to choosing a timeless yet appropriate name for your vessel!
One of the most important things to consider when choosing your boat name is how it sounds over an VHF radio. If there was ever an emergency whilst you were out at sea and you needed to get in contact with the coastguard, you would probably be required to tell them the name of your boat. Consequently, you should always assess how the name sounds before painting it on the side of the vessel. If the name is too hard to pronounce or understand, it may be too difficult to receive via the radio meaning the coastguard could be unable to offer assistance.
Keeping the name of your vessel family friendly might seem like a boring suggestion, but it is actually good advice. Boats typically have their names painted in lettering on the side for everyone to see, so it is important to check that the name you have chosen won’t offend family, friends or anyone who might be able to see it. It might originally seem funny to choose a slightly inappropriate name, however if you change your mind on it, it could be difficult to alter.
Similarly to our first point, it is advised to choose a name for your vessel that is easy to understand. If there is ever an emergency and you are required to call someone for assistance, it is better to give a name that is easy to understand and can be conveyed quickly.
Currently, there are not any laws in the UK which prohibit you from selecting any particular name for your vessel. You are allowed to choose boat names which other people are currently using, but you must register your boat using the name you have chosen. If the boat is only going to remain in UK waters then it is not actually a legal requirement to register the boat, however if it leaves UK territory at any time then it must be registered under the official name.
Originality is always nice when it comes to naming boats. There are no rules about reusing names of vessels, or naming them after something which inspires you. That being said, it is usually polite not to copy your boat name from another boat in the harbour or marina to avoid any tension. This can also be impractical during emergencies if you ever have to describe your boat using it’s name if there are multiple very close to one another.
It is also nice to consider where you are getting inspiration from for your boat name. This could be books, poetry or translations of words from other languages, people or pets. Many people also choose nautical boat names, or names which have come from puns – although it is difficult to think of original boat puns now!
After you have named your boat, it’s a common tradition to christen it. This can be done in a variety of ways, and it is always open to interpretation. Traditionally, the British Navy used to smash a bottle of champagne across the bow, however this is not particularly common anymore. These days, the most common way to christen a new boat is to gather people before launching the boat and tying it up at a dock. Then have a drink with your friends and family, and place a branch in the centre of the boat to wish for a safe return. Then you name the boat and have a toast before going for a sail!