How To Name a Boat: Useful Tips for Picking the Perfect Boat Name

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Coming up with a boat name can be a lot of fun and excitement, but it can also be stressful. Don’t worry—there are plenty of creative and unique options out there. With a bit of creativity and planning, you can pick the perfect name for your boat.

Naming your boat gives it a sense of identity. Adding to its identity is the careful selection of fonts and color schemes. If you nail these elements, your boat will have a unique name that you’ll proudly show off and that is meaningful to you.

Keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules in boat naming. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what you would like to call your vessel, so take your time.

Below, we’ll provide you with some tips and advice to make choosing the perfect name for your boat smooth sailing. Whether you prefer something sentimental or inspirational, sassy or humorous, we’ve got you!

Why Should You Name Your Boat?

It’s a great way to personalize and make your boat stand out or provide you with a sense of ownership and pride in your vessel. A great boat name can reflect the boat owner’s personality or passion. You can also name your boat for sentimental reasons, like honoring a loved one or commemorating a memorable event.

There is also a long tradition of naming ships after females since boats have historically been seen as symbols of power and strength. Feminine boat names may have been chosen as a way to convey these qualities. Most boat owners also named their vessels to honor the important woman in their life.

In addition, naming your boat allows you to hear it promptly on a VHF radio. And this is why it’s important that you pick a unique and catchy name.

How To Name a Boat

You wouldn’t want to put your effort and hard-earned money into investing in a good boat and then randomly choose a name, would you?

There are various ways to name your boat. You can be as creative or as simple as you want. But you need to make sure to choose something that speaks to you and feels right for your vessel. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Consider the boat’s purpose or personality.

Is your boat a sleek and fast racing vessel, or a comfy and cozy cruising yacht? You might choose a name that reflects its capabilities or character. Choose a name that fits the boat’s nature and purpose.

If you have a boat that’s mainly used for fishing, for example, you might consider calling it “King Fisher.” For recreational boats, you might want to name it “Splash Dance” or “Sunny Dayz.” You don’t have to be super meticulous about it. Make it simple and catchy.

But if you want something more descriptive or creative, think about calling your boat after one of its elements or features, like size, color, or design. Call it “Big Blue”, “Sea Breeze,” or whatever you feel is fitting for your boat’s distinct features.

Naming a boat based on its intended use may also help to build a sense of identity and style for your vessel. This can be especially meaningful if you’re the type who spends a lot of time on the water.

Think of something unique and keep it short.

You do not want your prized boat to share the same name with the others. A unique boat name adds a personal touch.

It’s also important to consider the length and simplicity of the name. A simple boat name is always easier to remember and say. This is especially important if you intend to use your vessel on a regular basis or share it with others.

Keeping it short and simple is also vital for safety reasons since it allows others to quickly recognize and find your vessel. You can make it a single-word boat name or phrase, but make sure that it’s easy to read.

Keep it fun and cool with puns.

Puns could be a fun and creative approach for boat naming. But it depends on your preferences and sense of humor. You might consider a name with a witty tone or simply comical.

Look for words or phrases that have various meanings or connotations, and see how you can build a pun based on these various meanings.

You might consider naming your boat “Wave Runner,” which may be a good pun on the word “wave,” as in a body of water, and “run,” as in to travel quickly. Or you may create a pun by combining two unrelated terms. “Sea Breeze,” for example, maybe a play on the words “sea” and “breeze,” as in a calm wind.

Always keep your puns tasteful and simple, and pick a name that expresses your personality as well as the intended use of your boat.

Give it a name that reflects your interests, career, or passion.

Naming your boat after your career or passion is another way to personalize it and give it a sense of identity. If you are a scientist who loves boating, for example, you may call it “The Research Vessel” or “Lab Sea.” But if you’re into a particular hobby or have a passion like birding, you might name your vessel “The Seabird.”

Keep in mind that it’s most important to pick a boat name that is relevant to you and that you will be satisfied with in the long run.

Don’t name it after you.

While there’s nothing wrong with your boat taking your name, it won’t be as unique. So if you’re a Charlie, it’s possible that other boats already have the same boat names. This might cause some confusion or make it harder to identify your boat from the rest.

It’s important to remember that a boat’s name is often a mark of the vessel and the boat owners themselves, but it doesn’t mean you have to name it after you (though some do).

If your name is not especially suited or fitting as a boat name, perhaps it is best to consider an alternative option. And make sure to avoid boat names that might seem tasteless or inappropriate.

Take inspiration from your favorite books, movies, and songs.

Consider your own interests or hobbies. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Have you picked out a favorite book, film, favorite song, or television show recently? How about your favorite playlist? You might adapt a name from pop culture references and characters or one that matches your interests.

The people in your life are great inspirations, too.

Do you want to name your boat after a friend or a family member? Then consider that person’s own personalities, interests, or significance in your life. If you’re married, you might want something that embodies your relationship. You may go for “Honeymoon Haven” or a simple but sweet one like “True Love.”

Alternatively, you could adopt a memorable name that embodies the spirit of a loved one. “Wildflower,” for example, can be a great name if that person is free-spirited.

Naming your boat after people you care about may be a profound and meaningful way to honor them.

Where to put the boat name?

Once you’ve decided on your boat’s name, consider where you’ll put it. That said, keep in mind that some states may have rules and regulations regarding boat names. The general rule would be to display boat names on both sides of the bow (front) of the vessel and must be legible from a distance of 100 feet. 

Pick the perfect color scheme and font to complement your boat. You may do it yourself or you can ask pros to help you design your dream boat name plate style.

The Superstition: Should You Change a Boat Name?

Boating, like driving a car, may be unsafe during harsh weather and water conditions. And because of this, sailors and fishermen have long been superstitious about changing their boat’s name.

There is a superstition that changing a boat’s name might bring bad luck or even catastrophe. Such belief comes from the idea that the name of a boat is associated with its own spirit or identity. And that changing the name disrupts that energy.

Some people also believe that the name of a boat has a significant impact on its safety and performance. And changing the name can lead to mechanical issues or disasters. Others believe that the boat’s original name possesses positive energy and good luck and that renaming it will disturb the energy.

Another superstition that people in the boating community have is that a boat’s name is inexorably tied to its past and experiences. So changing it means erasing its past and causing the vessel to lose its “soul.”

So, Should You Change It?

While there is no scientific evidence to support these beliefs, they are commonly believed and considered valid by many boaters. However, it’s important to note that this is only a superstition. And there’s no scientific proof to back up the belief that renaming a boat might bring bad luck or endanger lives.

For some people, changing the name seems practical, especially for selling. If you want to attract the next owner of your boat, you’d want to make it look fresh. This means new paints, new color schemes, and new boat names.

Also, when you’re planning to repurpose your old sailboat into a motorboat, then it would make sense to change the name. Renaming your boat in such situations might be a sensible decision that has absolutely nothing to do with superstitions or luck.

How To Change a Boat Name

Changing a boat’s name gives you both a new identity and a fresh start, especially if it’s bought from a previous owner.

To change the name of your boat, you must adhere to the rules relevant to your location. But in general, the process will involve the following:

Choosing a unique name.

It is essential that you choose a unique name that is not currently in use by another boat. Refer back to our tips above for clever boat name ideas.

Check local and state laws.

Some states have specific boat name requirements, including length or font size. They may also require you to register the new name with the state.

Get new boat decals or new lettering for your boat.

Of course, putting new decals or lettering means removing the old ones. You need to carefully take them off, then sand and paint over them. Then, apply the new boat decals or lettering. You can refer to the manufacturer’s directions for this.

Update your boat’s documentation.

Change the name on any documentation or registration information to reflect your new boat name. This might include your boat’s hull identification number. It can also include insurance paperwork or any other document that identifies your boat.

Purging and Christening a Boat With a New Name

Purging and christening are traditional ceremonies that are usually practiced when naming or renaming a boat.

The purging part of the boat renaming ceremony is cleaning the interior and exterior of the vessel. This is believed to expel any bad luck or negative energy that has gathered. It may involve scrubbing the hull and deck, and polishing the interior. And occasionally even burning sage or other herbs to purify the space.

The christening ceremony is formally renaming or naming your boat. It usually entails breaking a bottle of champagne or other sparkling wine over the bow of the vessel.

Purging and christening a boat are significant and meaningful to most people. The ceremonies are generally followed by a party and might include friends, family, and members of the boating community. It is a way for the boat and its crew to mark the start of a new adventure.

FAQs

Can you name a boat whatever you want?

Boat naming is fun. As long as the name isn’t already in use by another vessel and does not break any rules or regulations, you can generally name your boat whatever you like.

The US Coast Guard has no explicit laws regulating boat names. However, it does require that vessels have a unique name known as a “hull identification number” (HIN). It’s used for identification and documentation purposes. You must put the HIN on the vessel’s hull and must be registered with the USCG.

Other than the requirement for a unique HIN, there are no limits on boat names in the U.S. and you are free to pick a name that is unique or meaningful to you.

What would you name your boat?

Consider adopting boat names that represent the vessel’s attributes or intended function. A boat built for racing, for example, might be named “Speed Demon.” You can also name your boat based on your interests and passions.

Why are boats named after females?

Naming your boat with female names is usually associated with a sense of safety and protection. Such names are preferable to many boaters because they believe that the sea will mother and shield the boat on her trips in the same manner as a mother looks after her children.

In some cases, a boat owner may adopt a feminine name for their vessel to honor a special woman in their lives. It could be a friend’s or a loved one’s name.

Wrap Up

Coming up with a name for your vessel is one of the most exciting parts of boat ownership. It gives you the opportunity to personalize your boat and give it a touch of uniqueness.

In naming boats, consider the purpose and intended use of your boat. Make it simple and easy to remember, and that it is tasteful and appropriate.

You can personalize it based on your own hobbies and passions. Or, pick a name that is valuable and has a significant meaning to you. With thought and consideration, you can choose the best boat names that are unique, fitting, and meaningful to you.

Got a boat name in mind? Hit us up—we’d be delighted to hear what name you’re calling your craft!

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