Most of your standard boat names are run of the mill— containing some iteration of the word ‘knot’ or ‘sea’, a cheeky double entendre, Italian words that indicate a boater’s preferred pace. There are myriad categories of boat name too, but I do find the “we finally made it” category to be one of the more expressive genres. Some folks put about as much thought and energy into naming their boat as Gwyneth Paltrow and that guy from Coldplay put into naming their kid, “Apple”, but the power of a great boat name to really knock socks off, can’t be understated. Not just a good boat name, but a spectacular name is essential for many reasons, chief among these— respect. What will your boat name project, what story will it tell?
If you cruise by some boat with the name Shrimp Pickler or Sea Jockey, you’re probably going to think twice about it. Most boat names tell no story at all and are boring and predictable, but every so often you’ll come across a boat name that tells quite a story. More often than not, it’s a story about the boat’s owners, and sometimes that story can be sad, joyous or profound in some way. Sometimes the boat’s name is more than a name. Some boats are thought of as their own sentient entity, with quarks and personality and It's own story, apart from the owner’s—these types of names are for owners who are possessed by the boat and not the other way around. There is the status symbol names category-- which tends to fall on the spicy side, and make some reference to the cost of the boat or it’s status as a financial asset in the owner’s life. Then there’s the lifestyle, tortured souls category— those are the boat names like Money Pit or Buyer’s Remorse—these never fail to get a laugh.
There's the intellectual category, these are the ancient Greek or Latin names, names referencing math, sciences and theories, as well as famous writers, historical figures and what have you. The impact of these names often depends more on the boat itself; a 23 Boston Whaler named Poseidon will not have the same story to tell as, say, a 90 Ocean named Poseidon. Many boat owners sign up for detailing at the start of their journey with a vessel, so I’m often running into boats about to have their name changed, and its fascinating. Part of my job is asking, “does you boat have a name” and the embarrassed answer “its called Knot In The Office (or something like that), but we’re going to change it” always gives me a smile.
I feel like there’s something to the boat name thing. Its like the boat in Donnie Brasco, “The Left Hand”—sometimes these things just pack a whole lot more meaning than you’d expect on face value. That’s just a movie, but in real life, boats like The Endurance (think Shackleton) never made it in Antarctica, and the Santa Maria (yes, 1492) probably wrecked around Haiti some place (and we still haven’t found it). One can read into anything if you look hard enough- finding all the angles on Tony Soprano’s Egg Harbor, The Stugots was pretty funny. Boat names can mean nothing at all, or they can be a celebration of who and what you and your boat are. I say, pick wisely, take all the time you need and remember—we can always help you remove an old name and prep the boat for a new one. Change can be a very good thing indeed.
Here is a picture of a really interesting boat name on a yacht we detailed a couple years back at a Seattle Boat Show in the before times- this is named for an American crafted, Russian inspired vodka brand (made from American corn) but if you didn’t know that, you’d probably think twice about this name for sure.
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