‘Boaty McBoatface’ Rejected for Sir David Attenborough, Despite Landslide Victory as Name for UK Polar Research Ship

By Andrew Simontacchi
Andrew Simontacchi
Andrew Simontacchi
May 6, 2016 Updated: May 6, 2016

The public lost that one. The U.K.’s 200 million pound ($289 million) polar research ship is to be named after Sir David Attenborough, in honor of his soon-to-be 90th birthday and his legacy in British broadcasting.

Despite racking up more than 124,000 votes in a public vote, Boaty McBoatface will not be on the side of the ship, according to a press release from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

However, the council said “in recognition of the public interest, it will be used as the name of one of the ship’s high-tech, remotely operated, sub-sea vehicles.”

“The public provided some truly inspirational and creative names,” said Science Minister Jo Johnson. “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 Sir David Attenborough is 128 meters (nearly 420 feet) long, weighs 16,800 tons, and will house 30 crew members, 60 scientists, and a support staff.

Sir David Attenborough said he was honored with the naming. 

“I am truly honoured by this naming decision and hope that everyone who suggested a name will feel just as inspired to follow the ship’s progress as it explores our polar regions. 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,” said Attenborough.

The ship, which is currently being built on Merseyside, is due to set sail in 2019, and will provide the U.K. with the “most advanced floating research fleet in the world.”

Deployed to both Antarctica and the Arctic, the ship will be able to spend up to 60 days in sea-ice at any one time, and will allow scientists to gather extended observations and data.

Its focus will be in conducting vital research into the world’s oceans and in addressing climate change.

Andrew Simontacchi
Andrew Simontacchi