What’s in a Boat Name?

It is a well-known superstition that changing the name of a boat brings bad luck, but I never knew why until I read an article on globalpsychics.com recently. “Naming something, anything, serves to give it life, an energy of its own – and a mind of its own. When a boat is named and christened, energetically, it has been enlivened, and from that point on must be treated with the same respect that we would a person.”

Huh. Well, I can understand why a boat would be upset at suddenly having its name changed without so much as the courtesy of a consultation. It does seem wise, no matter your beliefs, to give serious thought to your yacht’s original name since you’ll probably – hopefully – be spending a lot of time on it. And sailors do come up with some witty and humourous choices.

Some people choose to go with a boat moniker that includes their name or that of a loved one: For Pete’s Sake, Sam I Am, and Robin’s Nest.

Other names reflect the owner’s career. A dentist owns Tooth Fairy, two nuclear engineers –Isotope, a vintner – Cabernet and C:> Prompt belongs to, I assume, a computer programmer.

Sailing has been described as “the fine art of getting wet and becoming ill while slowly going nowhere at great expense.” There are lots of names that reference the cost involved in keeping a boat: Soggy Dollars, Cash Flow, Time and Money, Colin’s Tuition, Moby Debt, and Last Nickel.

Some names reflect the brand of boat. I’ve seen several X-boats with interesting names: EXoteric, Xtra, Xtra, and XTC.

Many sailboats have names that express a sailing/water related play on words: Wake My Day, Keel-Joy, Sails Call, Sloop du Jour, Mast Confusion, Anchor Management, and Going Coastal. Just about every word combination imaginable has been made using wind (Windsage, Windwizard, Summer Wind, Wind Dancer), sea (Sea Spray, Sea La Vie, Sea Ya) and knot (Knot Too Shabby, Fraid Knot, O.Y. Knot), among plenty of others.

I read online of a couple who couldn’t reach an agreement on a good boat name, so they finally gave up arguing and went with Whatsitsname. And I love this name, no doubt arrived at in a fashion similar to the aforementioned: Something Witty and Original.

This one makes me laugh: Ship Happens, and its accompanying dinghy Piece of Ship.

And so does this one: Never Again II.

Carpe Diem is, reportedly, one of the most popular names for a sailboat: I prefer Seas the Day.

Also popular are boat monikers that reflect their owners’ delight at being away from the office: Saturday’s Child, Mental Floss, Five Fifteen, Knot ‘til Monday, Peaceful Easy Feeling, Sabbatical, and my favourite, knot@work.calm.

I appreciate a name that includes an amusing play on words, while other people put that name on their list of top ten stupid boat names. I guess all that really matters is whether the boat likes it.


Filed under What's in a Name?

5 responses to “What’s in a Boat Name?

  1. I enjoyed all those. I love the clever word plays, though I think I might feel obliged to go with something more dignified, one of the Wind variations, maybe. What boat really wants to feel she is the object of a pun?

  2. Grammarian

    I see your point, but then again, there are many who believe that the ability to make people laugh is one of the greatest gifts you can have. Hopefully the boats with humourous and/or witty names take satisfaction from making people smile.

  3. >>Carpe Diem is, reportedly, one of the most popular names for a sailboat: I prefer Seas the Day.<<

    For fishing boats, I prefer "Carpe Carp."

  4. Pingback: What’s in a Boat Name? – Marine Graphics Custom Boatnames

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