Offered the chance to name a new British ship via an online poll, the public has demanded the vessel be christened “Boaty McBoatface.” Officials say, however, that the poll will not be the final say on the matter, spoiling what could’ve been a win for the internet.
Or maybe, all things considered, another loss.
The episode began last week, when Britain’s Natural Environmental Research Council asked the public to help it name its new polar research ship. Boaty McBoatface quickly floated to the top of an online poll, the BBC reported, with about 27,000 votes, or 25,000 votes above the next closest contender, RRS Henry Worsley.
Other names floated: RRS Usain Boat, RRS David Attenborough, and RRS Pingu.
But it was Boaty McBoatface that hogged the spotlight, eventually crashing the NERC’s website. NERC officials said they were amused by public reaction and voting, but hastened to add that a permanent name of the ship, which will cost nearly $300 million, will ultimately be selected by the NERC’s chief executive.
Whatever the name, officials have plenty of time to choose: the ship won’t be completed until 2019. (Another, less-mentioned point of contention: “Boaty McBoatface” ignores the fact that the vessel in question is a ship, not a boat.)
The patient zero of Boaty McBoatface apologized for the ordeal on Monday, before later defending his creation.
My apology for #BoatyMcBoatface was in the most British sense. I stand by it being a brilliant name.— James Hand (@JamesHand) March 21, 2016
For its part, the NERC said that it was enjoying the attention.
“No need to apologize James,” a NERC spokeswoman said on Twitter. “We’re loving it.”