Sir David Attenborough Boaty McBoatface Research

'Boaty McBoatface' sinks - £200m polar research ship will be named after David Attenborough


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

May 6, 2016 | 5 min read

Despite winning a public #NameOurShip vote by an overwhelming majority, the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc) has today revealed that its new £200m RRS vessel will not take the name 'Boaty McBoatface'.

Boaty McBoatface

Instead, the polar research ship will be named after BBC broadcaster and environmentalist David Attenborough to celebrate his contribution to natural science.

But fans of 'Boatface', which took the internet by storm in March when Nerc called on the public to suggest titles for the voyager, will be pleased to hear that it will live on as the title of the ship's high tech submarine in honour of the 124,109 votes it clocked up during the contest.

The decision to adorn the sub-sea vehicle with the 'Boaty' identity was made to reflect global interest in the campain according to the government's universities and science minister Jo Johnson.

"The ship has captured the imaginations of millions, which is why we’re ensuring that the Boaty name lives on through the sub-sea vehicle that will support the research crew, and the polar science education programme that will bring their work to life," he said.

Sir David Attenborough, who is set to celebrate his 90th birthday in the next few days said he was "truly honoured by the naming decision".

He continued: "I 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."

The government wants to build on the interest in polar science generated by the naming process, which threw up over 7,000 suggestions from the public, and will be investing up to £1m in a new Polar Explorer Programme to capitalise on the momentum of the stunt.

The Twitter community had mixed opinions on Nerc's naming compromise, with some pointing out that the submarine should technically be titled 'Subby McSubface'.

Sir David Attenborough Boaty McBoatface Research

More from Sir David Attenborough

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +