I christen thee RRS Boaty McBoatface?
Last month, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) invited the public to help name its new £200 million (US$284 million) polar research ship. When voting closed on the weekend, the winner by a considerable margin was "RRS Boaty McBoatface," but there are doubts the words "I christen thee RRS Boaty McBoatface" will actually be muttered.
The new Royal Research Ship (RRS) currently under construction at Cammell Laird shipyards is a floating polar laboratory that will replace RRS Ernest Shackleton and RRS James Clarke Ross. The new ship will carry 60 scientists and support staff and will be used in both the Antarctic and the Arctic. When completed, it will be 129.6 m (425 ft) long, 25 m (82 ft) abeam, have a draught of 7.5 m (24 ft), displace 12,790 tonnes (14,098 tons), and have 4,200 cubic meters (148,000 cubic feet) of cargo space.
To help bolster public interest and participation in the project and BAS in general, a competition was opened to invite the public to suggest various names for the vessel on the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) website and vote for a favorite. BBC Radio Jersey presenter James Hand's nomination of Boaty McBoatface caught the public imagination and racked up 124,109 votes – easily defeating the runners up, Poppy-Mai with 34,371, Henry Worsley at 15,231, and It's Bloody Cold Here scooping 10,679.
However, the NERC says that it reserves the final say on the ship's name and the UK science minister, Jo Johnson, has told the Daily Telegraph that they are looking for a name that "fits the mission and captures the spirit of scientific endeavor," casting doubts that the name will stick.