How to Decide on the Perfect Boat Name

A boat names Boy Christopher

A lot of traditions surround naming a ship. In olden times it was bad luck to change your ships name once it had one, so committing to a name for your boat can seem a scary decision.

That is why, in today’s blog, we’re helping you to decide on the perfect name for your boat.


A Little Romance Always Helps

In previous centuries, having women on a ship at sea was considered bad luck. However, this superstition didn’t prevent captains from choosing feminine names for their vessels.

Except for the military navy choosing feminine names for boats has become commonplace. Naming your ship after your wife or partner can be a huge romantic gesture, especially if you save the surprise for the name unveiling. Alternatively, you could name it after your family name to encompass all your loved ones.

Some captains in history decided to forgo using women’s names and instead went with names for flowers or poetic words. It’s a fun practice to blend a name with one of these. That way, you can create something unique to you with a lyrical style to it; one historical example is the ‘Mary Rose’.


Short and Snappy

There is no formal ruleset anymore for naming your vessel. You could call it whatever you like, but we recommend not letting someone else choose your boat name unless you want to own the next ‘Boaty McBoat Face’.

The difficulty in changing a name once it’s registered on the ship registry means you need to be sure beforehand.

The IMO (International Maritime Organisation) requires:

  • The name of your vessel is clearly printed on both the port side bow and starboard bow. The name should also be on the superstructure.
  • Additionally, the registered seven-digit IMO number is printed along with the name on the stern at least four inches high.

For more details, check the official IMO website.


Senior couple sat on the side of a sail boat


You may wish to add a prefix to the start of your chosen ship name. Prefixes are used for naming military vessels, for example, the warship HMS Victory in the British navy, but civilian vessels can also add a prefix if they wish. Some common prefix examples are:

  • MV – Motor Vessel
  • MS – Motor Ship
  • SY – Sailing yacht
  • MY – Motor Yacht

You will want to research what classification your vessel falls into so you can assign the correct prefix to your chosen name.

Whatever name you choose, you’re going to want something concise. All the best ship names are short, snappy and memorable. Think of the ‘Argo’ from Jason and the Argonauts, Columbus’s ‘Santa Maria’ and Jaque Cousteau’s ‘Calypso’. All these historical examples have concise names, no more than two words.


Capture the Heart of your Vessel

When thinking of the name of your ship, you could try going a bit more metaphorical. For example, Japanese military vessels usually have ‘Maru’ as the last part of the name. This is because ‘Maru’ translated means ‘circle’, or in this context, ‘castle’. So the choice to highlight this in the name is undoubtedly a symbolic idea.

While you may not want to go with a martial name like ‘Maru’, thinking of words with meanings you love will be helpful. Are your particularly fond of a particular word? For example, do you feel powerful and immovable like a mountain? In French, that becomes ‘Montagne’. In ancient Latin, it’s ‘Mons’. Also ‘Scopra’ in Corsican.

Think about how you plan to use your boat. Will you be travelling? Then a name with more flair like ‘Explorer’ would be a great touch, Latin, this becomes ‘Rimor’. By exploring words you want in other languages, you can discover a whole new world of possible boat names.


Beautiful sail boat named S.A.98


Are you planning a long trip far from the comforts of home? It can be challenging to pull yourself back inland for supplies when living maritime life. However, keeping your vessel safe and sparkling is something we can help you out with. We can deliver online marine cleaning supplies to all UK ports and to just about anywhere in the world. Please browse our website today to see our full range of marine cleaning products.

When planning what you want to use your boat for, you should first browse our range of galley supplies on our online chandlery. Our experts can provide a comprehensive service to help with your maritime plans.


Make it Personal

When buying a boat second hand, it’s expected that it might not be perfect. However, we can supply you with various marine supplies, including marine engine spares, to help. And with a bit of elbow grease and some time, you can turn any ship into your pride and joy. But while we can help with the physical structure of the boat, only you can decide if you like the name already has.

For a lot of human history, the idea of changing your ships name was crazy; every sailor has a superstitious story about the bad luck surrounding a boat name change. Moreover, to risk changing it would demand a ceremonial ritual.

You can save money on re-lettering an old ship by incorporating the old name into the new one. A straightforward shortening of the name or painting new letters over existing ones can be easy.

While this may seem an easy fix, you still need to re-register the new name, so most people prefer to name a fresh new boat. To re-register your boat, you should contact the HM government for boats and waterways.


We hope that this blog has been helpful, and you now have a better idea of what you’re going to name your boat. As mentioned, we can’t provide you with the perfect name, but we can provide you with all your marine supplies. Head to our website to discover more about our products or get in touch with any questions or queries – we’re always more than happy to help you out.