There are quite few unwritten rules when it comes to naming a boat. Once you’ve chosen a name, it takes some time to fix that name in place. Once you’ve got a great name, it should never be changed, so the pressure’s on your to get it right the first time.

If you’ve just bought your very first boat and want to give it an epic and personal name, here are a few things to keep in mind when naming your boat:

Choosing a Name

It’s common for boats to be characterized as female; some of the most famous ones are women. But yours can be whatever you choose. What’s more important than your boat’s gender is that you choose a name that you feel suits it.

While it might be tempting to give it a lengthy inside joke or a pun, consider that in times of distress you may have to communicate that name to other people, or even over a radio. Travel down to Newport Beach, California and you’ll see at least a hundred electric Duffy boats with names riffing on the word “amperes.” Some of them are pretty good but it’s hard not to wonder how anyone tells them apart. Give safety a thought when choosing a name for your boat over a gag.

Consider adding a prefix such as MY for “Motor Yacht,” SY for “Sailing Yacht,” or MV and MS for “Motor Vessel” and “Motor Ship.” There are a surprising number of common prefixes in circulation if you’re looking for something to give your boat an official touch.

What’s in a Boat Name? How to Make Your Boat Your Own


Boating has been around for a very long time, and in that time, sailors have collected a lengthy list of standard procedures (read: superstitions) for literally anything you can do in and around a boat—naming it is no exception.

Chances are you’ve seen or heard of a boat christening ceremony before. It’s how you inform the sea of your boat’s name.

When the time comes for the ceremony, it should include champagne and witnesses. While it’s not entirely necessary to smash the bottle of champagne on your boat, be sure that a generous amount of alcohol finds its way into the sea.

Last, but not least, take a branch full of green leaves on your maiden voyage and by now your boat should be lucky enough to return.

Important note: Avoid christening your boat on a Thursday, a Friday, the first Monday in April, or the last Monday in August.

Lettering Limitations

Remember that whatever you end up naming your boat, it must be printed on the hull.

Vinyl is typically the best choice for boat lettering due to its longevity. Vinyl lettering can be tricky to get just right, and it gets even more technical when it comes to printing the registration number on your boat, but Fly Yacht Signs can help. Check them out at:

One and Done

Don’t rename! If you absolutely must, then please do write the old name on a piece of paper, place that paper in a wooden box, burn the box and scatter the ashes at sea.

Next, remove every trace of the old boat name before bringing anything associated with the new name on board. This means new charts and logs as well as anything with the old name’s lettering like dinghies or life preservers.

Of course, you will also need to remove any old lettering from the boat—this is where the help of a professional lettering service is crucial. And don’t add the new name until your boat is completely free of the old one!

The Next Step After Naming

Well now that you know how to find a name, the next step—assuming you already have the boat—is to get that new name proudly printed on the hull. Choose wisely, and then set sail!

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