Despite the title “Boaty McBoatface” previously topping a public vote, the UK’s new polar research ship is to be named RRS Sir David Attenborough. A website inviting name suggestions had attracted huge interest, with Boaty McBoatface the runaway favorite.
But Science Minister Jo Johnson said there were “more suitable” names, Ars Technica reports. On Friday, days before Sir David turns 90, it was announced that the vessel will be named after the world-renowned naturalist and broadcaster. Sir David said he was “truly honoured” by the decision.
While the polar ship itself will not be named Boaty McBoatface, one of its remotely operated sub-sea vehicles will be named Boaty in recognition of the vote. James Hand, who first suggested the flippant moniker, said he was pleased the name would “live on.”
In a tweet, he also said that RRS Sir David Attenborough, which came fourth in the public vote, was a “fitting and excellent choice.”
“The public provided some truly inspirational and creative names, and while it was a difficult decision I’m delighted that our state-of-the-art polar research ship will be named after one of the nation’s most cherished broadcasters and natural scientists,” the science minister said. The ship would “put Britain at the forefront of efforts to preserve our precious marine environment,” Johnson added.
Prof Jane Francis is the director of the British Antarctic Survey, one of the principal users of the ship.
“We are delighted with the name RRS David Attenborough. He is an important public figure who has engaged and inspired the public over generations with his passion for the natural world. This new ship will be at the forefront of polar science and deliver world-leading capability for UK research in both Antarctica and the Arctic,” she said.
Sir David said that he hoped “everyone who suggested a name will feel just as inspired to follow the ship’s progress as it explores our polar regions,” MSN reported.
“I have been privileged to explore the world’s deepest oceans alongside amazing teams of researchers, and with this new polar research ship they will be able to go further and discover more than ever before.”
Sir David’s name wasn’t at the top of the public list, but it was certainly among the favorites. It’s a fitting tribute to a man who has done so much to explain the wonders of the natural world to all of us.
“Boaty” lives on as the name of one of the ship’s remotely operated submarines. But why couldn’t the main vessel itself have carried the name? Here’s one reason: imagine the ship were to get into trouble at some point in the future.
Imagine the headlines.
Remember, the places it will work are extremely hostile; they are dangerous. But whatever your thoughts about Boaty and its suitability, it is the capability that the RRS Sir David Attenborough represents which ultimately matters.
The Atlantic said that with the announcement of Boaty McBoatface, UK science is set to get the most advanced polar research ship in the world.