Boaty McBoatface Will Actually Be Called RRS Sir David Attenborough

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Democracy is a sham, if you’re naming a boat at least. Despite Boaty McBoatface winning a public vote as the name for a new polar research ship, the vessel will in fact be known as RRS Sir David Attenborough.

In March, the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council opened a poll which asked the people of the internet to name its new £200 million boat. Predictably some suggestions were quite silly, but the suggested moniker Boaty McBoatface gained traction and eventually won the poll with 124,109 votes — four times more than the second placed name RRS Poppy-Mai.

This morning, though, the UK’s science minister, Jo Johnson, tweeted to say that the boat will in fact be called RRS Sir David Attenborough, “in tribute to a great broadcaster and natural scientist”. Seeing as you ask, the name RRS David Attenborough actually came in fifth in the public poll, with just 10,284 votes.

The name Boaty McBoatface was first suggested by former BBC radio presenter James Hand. According to the Guardian, he ultimately went on to vote for the name RRS David Attenborough.

David Attenborough is, of course, a wonderful guy; he's an inspiring naturalist, incredible presenter and cherished national treasure of the UK. But the decision to ignore the public opinion and plump for the fifth-place name suggests that if an organisation isn’t willing to bow to majority opinion, it may be better off not pretending it wants to in the first place. [The Guardian]