The Name Game

Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 12:00AM

One of the first orders of business after you buy your new Monterey is choosing a name for it.

You can name your boat after a loved one, a beloved pet, favorite hobby, occupation, song or place, a memorable moment, or come up with a clever phrase, use a play on words … pretty much anything. Much like license plates and texting, you can also substitute letters or numbers for words, such as Y-Knot, R Time, C U Later, Knot@Work, etc.  The best name though, is the one most meaningful to you.

Some people incorporate how they paid for the boat into its name. If you are the president of your own company, you could name your boat after the company, and promote your brand wherever you go.

But perhaps the most important elements in choosing a boat name are: it should have special meaning to its owners, it should be memorable – meaning short and simple, and it should never embarrass you or offend anyone. (Think about the frequency and who all can be listening when you’re transmitting from your boat. Think about children walking by it at the marina.)

For more than 20 years, the Boat Owners Association of the United States ( has shared its list of Top Ten Most Popular Boat Names on  This year, those are: Seas the Day, Nauti Buoy, Aquaholic, Dream Weaver, Pegasus, Serenity Now, Second Wind, Liquid Asset, Miss Behavin’, and Blew ByYou.

Their sister-site,, has a list of Top 10 Boat Names based on the most popular names requested on items sold at its stores, Boat Name Gear and Custom Boat Names.  When the most popular boat names of 2011 were announced, we noticed a trend. Boaters really enjoy their time on the water! Boat names such as Serenity, Happy Ours, Family Time and Just Chillin’ dominated the list. Based on these top names, it seems that boating provides many people with a way to relax, enjoy the outdoors, and make the most of their free time with family and friends.

Here are the other most popular boat names for 2011: Feelin’ Nauti, Liberty, Black Pearl, Andiamo, Knot On Call, and High Maintenance.

If you’re still having trouble, there’s always Boat Name Blog, which helps new boat owners by asking them to post a short description of themselves, their work, hobbies, favorite travel destinations, etc. and a photo of their boat. Then people respond with suggestions based on that information. Site users who suggest boat names are eligible for a drawing of a personalized boat name t-shirt from each month.

We agree that names should be clever, or humorous, even humble, as opposed to names such as Titanic or Bottoms Up. Why challenge the water gods? There are also a few classic superstitions to consider. Some people think it is bad luck to rename a previously-owned boat, or to give your second Monterey the same name as your first. Some say it is bad luck if you remove an old name from any vessel. However, many believe that if you christen the boat with a new name and lots of champagne, you’ll have nothing to worry about. We’ll leave all that up to you.

After you decide on a name, you can start shopping for personalized accessories, such as hand towels, at online sites like this one.

And what was the name of Popeye’s boat?  It was, of course, The Olive.

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