Sammy Nickalls
March 21, 2016 4:25 am

When scientists in the U.K. needed to name its new multi-million dollar research ship, they decided to go to the Internet for help. And naturally, the Internet thinks it should be named. . . Boaty McBoatface.

The boat cost the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) $288 million in government funding, thousands of tons of steel, and years of planning, but yet the country decided to hand the responsibility of naming to social media with the hashtag #NameOurShip. The 420-foot boat would be expected to set sail in 2019 and will “provide the U.K. with the most advanced floating research fleet in the world,” the NERC said.

The NERC asked that the submitted names were “inspirational and about environmental and polar science,” which means that “Boaty McBoatface” may not be the name they were looking for. But that hasn’t stopped over 27,000 people from voting for the creative name! Oh, and just in case you were wondering, other name entries include “It’s Bloody Cold Here” after Halo‘s Pillar of Autumn, Arrested Development‘s “Seaward,” “Notthetitanic,” “Ice Ice Baby,” and “I’m The Captain Now.”

The naming strategy was suggested by communications manager James Hand, who has since publicly apologized on Twitter for even coming up with the idea in the first place:

Of course, the poll doesn’t close until April 16th, so a more typical option like “Endeavor” may end up floating to the top of the polls (pun totally intended), but somehow, we doubt it. You can vote for the new name here (though bear in mind that the high traffic has been crashing the site). Ultimately, NERC will be able to override the decision, as the website states that “the final decision on the name of the ship will be taken by the Chief Executive of NERC.” But, TBH, we’ve got our fingers crossed.

At least the name fulfills one requirement from NERC: It’s never been used before. But now, we *may* be able to see Boaty McBoatface gliding on the waters in the name of science.

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