Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council was just looking for a name.
A new $288 million polar research ship was due to set sail in a couple years, and so this month, the council turned to the public for help, asking for suggestions on what to call the vessel. Among the names already suggested, according to a news release: Shackleton. Endeavour. Falcon.
Cool, right? Those names all sound extremely nautical and legit. Anyway, the campaign was announced ages ago (March 17!) (Thursday!), so let’s check in and see what the Internet has suggested:
Yeah, OK, so it looks just like one day after the poll launched, the Internet threw its support behind the name RRS Boaty McBoatface.
I see no problem here.
“We’re delighted by the enthusiasm and creativity people have shown to help the Natural Environment Research Council make sure the new ship has a name as inspirational as she will be when she sets off for the polar seas in 2019,” Alison Robinson, NERC’s director of corporate affairs, said in a statement. “We’ve had thousands of suggestions made on the website since we officially launched; many of them reflect the importance of the ship’s scientific role by celebrating great British explorers and scientists.
“We are pleased that people are embracing the idea in a spirit of fun. We have suggested some criteria for the name on our website and the final decision will be announced in due course. We are very much enjoying hearing everyone’s ideas.”
Just to be clear, the research council isn’t stuck with Boaty McBoatface, or whatever the eventual winner of this online campaign is. Robinson told the Guardian that a panel will make the final call. According to the newspaper, other suggestions included:
▪ Its Bloody Cold Here
▪ Big Metal Floaty Thingy-thing
So many great options. It’s a shame this panel will have to pick just one.
Boaty McBoatface was suggested by James Hand, a former BBC presenter who seems pretty sorry about the whole thing.
“I read the story about naming the ship on the BBC website on Thursday and some of the entries were really funny – my favorite was Clifford The Big Red Boat,” he told the BBC. “I thought I would throw one into the ring. By Friday night it was leading by a couple of thousand, and when the site crashed Sunday it was leading by 8,000. It’s been utterly bizarre.”