8 Tips for Naming Your Boat
Naming a boat is a rite of passage, and a fun way to personalize your watercraft.
While the options for naming a boat are endless, coming up with a good one is not as easy as you think. It’s not like naming a child or a pet. Whether the name you choose relates to your passion, your profession or your personal life, your boat’s name can say a lot about who you are as a boat owner. Whatever you decide to name your boat, choose your vessel’s moniker wisely!
Boat Naming Tip 1: Get Creative
Whether your boat is big or small, the name you give it carries a lot of weight.
A common approach to naming a boat is to base it on what type of boat it is. For example, if it’s a fishing boat, a fun fishing pun like “Kickin’ Bass” could be one way to go. Or if it’s a sailboat, something like “You’ve Got Sail” could be considered a clever option. Whether you want to be seen as a serious businessperson, an avid traveler, a watersports enthusiast, or just a fun-loving seafarer, a good name for your boat should reflect something about your nautical persona.
Boat Naming Tip 2: Think About How it Sounds
Imagine choosing a name as tattooing your boat: is it something you would put on your own body? No? Then it might be best to pick something else.
One way to assess whether a boat name is a good one is to think about how it’ll sound during a distress call. Imagine calling the Coast Guard for help and telling them the name of your boat is the “Yächtly Crüe.” Good name if you’re a metalhead, but imagine how hard it is to spell it out during an emergency.
Keep the name simple but memorable. In other words, don’t name your boat something so clever, complicated or profane that the person answering your distress call will struggle to repeat it. Just imagine a yacht company owner named Bill Smith calling his personal yacht “Money Talks, B.S. Yachts” radioing in for help during a life or death emergency!
Boat Naming Tip 3: Be Original
The best boat names are original, and unique to the owner.
You might be inclined to name your boat based on how it makes you feel. However, think about the countless boats already named “Serenity”. Only use a name you’ve seen before if it also has special significance to you. For example, naming your boat after your wife, mother or daughter is a touching tribute, even if there are already other boats out there bearing the same name. Just keep in mind that having other boats in your area with the same name could cause confusion out at sea.
Boat Naming Tip 4: Keep it Clean
Dirty jokes and a “nauti” sense of humor could be fun, but it doesn’t necessarily translate well to naming a boat.
“Master Baiter” might seem like a clever pun for a fishing boat, but do you really want to be that guy? A dirty or profane name not only reflects poorly on you, but could draw some unwanted attention out at sea. Also, consider who you want your passengers to be. If you’re a bachelor who wants to impress the ladies with your boat, you’ll sink your social aspirations fast with a name like that! And what about your family? What would your parents or children think about that name? Also, avoid any alcohol-related names like “Party Buoy”, “Cruzin’ & Boozin’” or “Fishing & Swishing” that may draw unwanted attention from maritime authorities, or repel potential passengers from coming aboard!
Boat Naming Tip 5: Keep it Simple
Simplicity and originality might seem like conflicting ideas, but consider how the size and style of the lettering will look and fit on your boat.
An ideal boat name is not only easy to communicate, but should also stand out visually and verbally. If you choose a lengthy name such as “Wishes, Riches & Plenty of Fishes,” make sure you have enough room on your boat’s transom or sides to make it stand out and fit aesthetically. The name should be easily readable not only for the Coast Guard to find you during a rescue, but for other boaters who might need to radio in an emergency on your behalf.
Boat Naming Tip 6: Have Some Pun With It
Did you buy a boat for fun? You can’t go wrong with a pun! Do you fancy yourself a master “puntificator”? Is your superhero name “The Pun-isher”? (“Sea” what we did there?)
If a sense of humor and wit are a reflection of your character, a clever boating pun could be the way to go to show off your personality. A fishing pun such as "The Codfather" or a pirate pun such as “ARRGH You Ready?” can be great ways to give your boat a humorous identity. Again, just avoid dirty, profane or risqué puns like the aforementioned “Master Baiter” or “Don’t Give a Ship”. And by all means, avoid any offensive puns such as anything with racist or sexist connotations that we know exist but won’t give examples of here. You never know who’ll take exception to it, or refuse to help you during an emergency because of it.
Boat Naming Tip 7: Make It Work for You
Your profession probably paid for your boat, so why not use it as inspiration to name it?
Even if you use your boat as an escape from your job, it doesn’t mean you can’t show pride in the occupation that paid for it! Employing humor with your occupation to name your boat is a great way to break the ice in conversation; attract people to your boat; and to network with the nautical community. If you’re a fun-loving medical professional who loves to go fishing, a boat name like “The Fish Dock-tor” could be a clever choice. Or if you’re a salesperson who uses your boat for taking potential clients on sailing trips, name your boat something like “Sails Call.” If your boat is your actual business or profession, reflect it proudly with a name like “Work Charter, Not Harder.”
Boat Naming Tip 8: Pay Tribute
If don’t want to get cutesy, “punny” or clever, or allude to your profession to name your boat, why not pay tribute to someone special in your life?
For example, boats have been named after women for centuries, and are traditionally referred to as a “she.” Why not go the traditional route and name yours after a special woman in your life such as your mother, grandmother, sister, daughter or wife? Or pay tribute to a male role model or beloved family member such as your father, brother, uncle, mentor or son.
Paying homage to an important person is an awesome choice for naming your boat. But you can also pay tribute to something other than a person. For example, if you’re a military veteran, what better way to pay tribute to yourself and your dedicated service than naming your boat something like “The Patriot” or “Veteran of the Seas.”
A Few More Things
We can go on forever with ideas on how to name a boat, but we’ll leave you with this: inspiration for boat names can come from anywhere.
Before painting a name on it, check out boat name databases available online. However, if you choose a popular boat name, don’t be surprised if you cross paths with another watercraft bearing the same name. Walk around the docks in your area and see what other boaters have christened their boats to avoid copycatting. Consider too how the name you choose could affect the resale value of your boat.
Once you come up with a solid name, choose the best places to slap it on your vessel. The transom and the sides are obvious, but you can also brand it on life preservers, boat accessories and even on your captain’s uniform! Whatever you choose to name your boat, make it memorable to others and meaningful to you.