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Wild Boat Names

I wrote the following blog for WILD BOAT NAMES, a marine company who make vinyl names for boats

Congratulations, you've finally bought your dream boat! And just as with any new addition to the family, be it baby, pet or water-borne dream machine (and some would say a boat is all three…), now comes the exciting and somewhat daunting responsibility of naming the new arrival.

After all, what could be more important than christening the vessel that could, over the years, become your second home, carry you round the world, weather storms, eat up your savings and help you forge countless fond and fabulous memories with friends and family. Even if you are only a fair-weather, weekend sailor, your boat could be the thing that literally saves your life on occasions. So give it a name it deserves (and yes, this does exclude Miss Behavin', Feelin' Nauti and May Day).

Maybe you've had the perfect name in mind for all the years that you've been planning your purchase. If so, you might just want to check it against the 10,000 Boat Names database to see how many other boat-owners thought Aquaholic, Carpe Diem, or its pun-tastic translation Seas The Day was the perfect name for their vessel. It's probably impossible to be completely unique but you don't really want to be the tenth Serenity in the harbour, do you?

Just remember, this is a name that will not only have special significance to you but becomes the nom de guerre you are known as by fellow sailors (Hello Wind Breaker…?). Whenever you dock at a new marina, your boat name will precede you, long before you reach the bar. You may even choose to get a life ring, trailer and T-shirts emblazoned with a matching logo, in which case you'll be wearing this name, as well as surrounded by it. You'll also be repeating it regularly over a VHS radio…so don't forget that the harbour master is not your only audience! I remember becoming semi-obsessed with a certain Buccaneer that we unwittingly trailed around the Grenadines – listening to their choice of restaurant booking and orders to boat boys made for highly entertaining radio; yet when I finally met the crew IRL, I was most disappointed. Buccaneers they were not.

Like it or not, people WILL judge you on your boat name. Just like the poodle owner who called his dog Rambo, names reveal a lot about their owners. Whether it's witty (Knot On Call), clever (Aqualibrium), entrepreneurial (Dot.Calm) cultured (Valhalla), pompous (Grand Fromage), ironic (Runner Up), adventurous (Black Pearl), party animal (One Last Round), creative (Dream Weaver), free-spirited (Solitude), spontaneous (Impulse), zany (Luna Sea), unimaginative (Sea Wind), animal-lover (Purrfection), jolly (More Joy Everywhere), clueless (DamifIno) or even cheeky (Nauti Buoy). So think carefully about what image you want to portray.

Now that you're feeling the full weight of the task before you, here are some tried and tested ideas to help inspire you with the perfect boat name…

  1. Unless you plan to use a corporate logo to spread your business name across the globe, choose a name that's meaningful to you. This baby will cost you more money, blood, sweat and tears than any other member of your family. In fact, you'll probably come to consider it a member of the family. So keep it personal.
  2. Brain-storm ideas by writing down personal details, locations, family names, jobs or any anecdotes that you'd like to incorporate. Then play around with these clues to come up with something original and special to you. Just remember that if it's quite obscure, people will be sure to ask how you came up with such an unusual name so be prepared to repeat the story – and make sure it's not too embarrassing!
  3. Try to keep your boat name short and easy to pronounce. Naming your boat after the Aztec god HUITZILOPOCHTLI would certainly make it stand out in a crowd. But if you ever had to send out a Mayday signal, could you repeat it three times in quick succession, under stress, without stuttering? More to the point, would the coastguard understand what you were saying? In short, keep it plain and punchy.
  4. Since we sailors tend to be rather a superstitious bunch, you might like the idea of getting the gods on side. Poseidon and Neptune may be a little predictable but Zephyr (Greek god of the West Wind) or Aquilo (Roman god of the North Wind) have a certain ring to them. For more divine inspiration, consult the fascinating online encyclopaedia of gods .

I hope that's given you a few clues about how to come up with a great name. And when you're done, just pop back to the site to order a fabulous vinyl boat name to stick onto your new vessel. We can't wait to see what you've chosen!

Last updated 21:45 on 30 March 2018

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