When the Natural Environment Research Council called for input on names for its new multi-million dollar research vessel, it probably didn't expect Boaty McBoatface to be leading its competition by a wide margin.
This is when marketing goes wrong. When trying to come up with names for a new state-of-the art polar research vessel, some well-meaning individual at the Natural Environment Research Council probably said "Hey, let's solicit suggestions from the Internet." This is how you get names like Boaty McBoatface.
Yes, that name has more than 16,000 votes. Second place so far? The RRS Henry Worsley with a little more than 2,000 votes. Voting was so intense for the frontrunner that the NERC voting website was knocked offline for awhile from the traffic load.
The new vessel, designed to explore Antarctica and the Arctic polar regions, is expected to be operational in 2019 and will create about 400 jobs, including spots for 90 scientists and 60 apprenticeships, as well as support staff. It cost roughly 200 million British pounds to build.
The name was obviously a tongue-in-cheek suggestion by a school communications manager names James Hand, who later tweeted an apology for the suggestion. But that has not stopped it from beating out other entrants such as RRS David Attenborough, RRS Usain Boat, RRS Pingu, and RRS NotTheTitantic.
Despite the overwhelming nature of the vote, NERC has made it clear that their CEO has the final say so on the naming of the boat. NERC had hoped for "an inspirational name that exemplifies the work (the ship) will do."
"The ship could be named after a local historical figure, movement, or landmark - or a famous polar explorer or scientist," the voting page said. "We would like the name to be inspirational and about environmental and polar science, to help us tell everyone about the amazing work the ship does."
Good luck with that. Next time, when getting the Internet involved, they may want to have a pre-selected group of names to choose from. Oh, well, live and learn.
Source: The Independent