How To Name A Boat

how to name a boat

Boat naming has been a longstanding tradition dating back thousands of years, with sailors often naming their vessels after deities and saints.

Choosing the right name for your boat is essential as it can reveal your personality, passions, and life experiences. This guide is designed for first-time boat owners who are looking for inspiration and guidance on how to properly name their boat.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Boat Name

When brainstorming the perfect name for your boat, consider the following factors:

1. Boat Size, Type, and Personality

  • Determine the personality of your boat based on its size, type, and features.
  • Consider whether your boat is a casual, family-oriented vessel or a sleek, performance-driven machine.

2. Desired Mood or Tone

  • Reflect on the mood or tone you want your boat’s name to convey, such as playful, sophisticated, or adventurous.

3. Owner’s Profession, Hobbies, or Passions

  • Think about your profession, hobbies, or passions as potential inspiration for your boat’s name.
  • For example, if you’re an avid fisherman, a name like “Reel Time” could be fitting.

4. Pop Culture References, Favorite Songs, or Movies

  • Use pop culture references, famous songs, or movies with nautical themes as inspiration for your boat’s name.
  • A boat named “Black Pearl” could evoke the adventure and excitement of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Superstitions and Traditions

Boat naming traditions and superstitions have played a significant role in maritime history. Some believe that the wrong boat name could bring bad luck and affect the safety of the voyage. Be mindful of such superstitions, and consider avoiding renaming a boat, choosing names that begin with O, or using names with tragic associations like “Titanic.”

The Proper Way To Name A Boat:

Believe it or not, there actually is a proper way to name a boat vs. simply tossing out ideas at random. Below we have compiled a list of steps to ensure you end up with not only a great name but also a practical name for your boat:

1. Keep it Brief and Easily Understood for VHF Radio

  • Opt for a name that is short and easy to understand during a VHF radio broadcast.
  • Limit the name to one or two words if possible. Three words are ok, but you will likely still have to limit your character count to make it work.

2. Unique, Simple, Memorable, and Catchy

  • Choose a boat name that stands out, is easy to remember, and resonates with you and others.

3. Avoid Profanity and Tragic Associations

  • Refrain from using profanity in your boat’s name, especially if children are involved.
  • Steer clear of names with negative connotations or historical tragedies.

4. Consider Practical Aspects (Placement, Design, Font, etc.)

  • Keep in mind the location on the boat where the name will be placed.
  • Factor in design elements such as color scheme, font style, and size.

Finding Inspiration

There are many sources of inspiration when naming your boat. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Naming the Boat After Special People or Loved Ones

  • Honor a special person in your life by naming your boat after them.
  • This could be a family member, a significant other, or even a close friend.

2. Naming After Famous Songs, Movies, or Cultural Arts with Nautical Themes

  • Consider using names from your favorite songs, movies, or other cultural arts with a connection to the sea.
  • An example might be “Sloop John B,” named after the classic Beach Boys song.

3. Playful and Entertaining Names (Puns, Double Meanings, Clichés, etc.)

  • Have fun with puns, double meanings, and clichés when naming your boat.
  • A boat named “Seas the Day” demonstrates wit and playfulness.

4. Resources for Inspiration (Boat Name Generators, Lists of Clever Boat Names, etc.)

  • Utilize online resources such as boat name generators and lists of clever boat names to spark ideas.
  • These tools can help you generate unique and fitting names for your vessel.

Legal and Practical Considerations

When you’ve settled on a name for your boat, keep in mind the following legal and practical considerations:

Checking for Duplicate Names On Other Vessels

  • Before committing to a name, make sure it’s not already in use by other vessels.
  • Ensuring your boat’s name is unique helps avoid confusion and maintains its individuality.

Application of Vinyl Lettering (Surface Preparation, Placement, etc.)

  • Prepare the surface of your boat by cleaning it and removing any wax before applying vinyl lettering.
  • Apply the letters when the boat is out of the water for better results.
  • Choose a large, open area on the boat for placing the name, leaving space around it for easy application and visibility.

Christening and Launching the Boat

Traditional Boat ChristeningModern Boat Christening
Breaking a pre-scored bottle of wine over the bowBreaking a champagne bottle across the bow with a stainless-steel target or mesh bag
Using greens for decorationGathering friends and family for a celebration
Often associated with religious or cultural customsMore focus on personal preferences and owner’s taste

Finally, once you’ve named your boat, it’s time to celebrate with a christening ceremony and launch:

Traditional Christening Ceremonies (Champagne, Greens, etc.)

  • Historically, boat christening ceremonies involved friends, champagne, greens, and breaking a pre-scored bottle of wine over the bow of the boat.

Modern Adaptations (Gathering Friends and Family, Toasting, Pouring Libations)

  • Nowadays, boat christening ceremonies can include gathering friends and family, making a toast, and pouring libations over the boat’s bow.

Precautions to Avoid Damage During Christening (Using a Stainless-Steel Target or Mesh Bag)

  • To prevent damage to your boat’s gel coat, consider using a stainless-steel target or a mesh bag when breaking a champagne bottle across the bow.


In conclusion, the process of naming your boat should be a creative and enjoyable journey. Remember to take your time in choosing the perfect name that reflects your personality, your boat’s character, and your passions. With a well-chosen name, you’ll create lasting memories and a unique bond with your vessel. Embrace the boat naming experience, and may your adventures on the water be filled with fun and excitement. Happy naming!

You might also be interested in reading:

Steve Momot

Steve Momot

Steve is an accomplished professional photographer and marketer who specializes in the Fishing, Yacht, and Boating industry. With a strong presence as an influencer and marketing expert in the Marine Industry, he has made a significant impact in the field. Additionally, Steve is the original creator and co-founder of Sportfishtrader. Prior to his career as a marine photographer, he gained extensive experience as a licensed boat and car dealer in South Florida.