Tips for Mindful Monikers

How to Name a Boat

January 2023 Feature Debbie Hanson, Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation

You might think that naming a boat simply comes down to deciding on a clever name, or that reading tips on how to name a boat seems a bit silly. However, you’ll have to repeat your beloved vessel’s name many times throughout the years. Think about the fact that your boat’s name will be required when registering your boat, when docking your boat at marinas, when communicating over VHF radio, and when documenting your boating adventures.

Consider these important tips or “naming a boat rules” you should follow as you learn how to boat and decide which words are worthy.


When naming a boat, you can conduct a search through one of the online boat name databases of boat registrations that are available to check for duplicate names and confirm the originality of your idea. Try to come up with a name that’s as original as possible. If you choose a common boat name, there’s a chance for identity confusion when communicating over the radio waves.


If you’re wondering how to properly name a boat, keep in mind that boat names should be kept short—generally to a single word or two. Remember that your boat’s name needs to fit on the transom, it should be simple to pronounce, and must be easily understood during a VHF radio broadcast to the Coast Guard in the event of an emergency.


When referring to boat name ideas, wordplay or boat name puns can be entertaining. After all, if a fellow boater glances at your transom and giggles, you know you’ve made the waterways a happier place. If you need some ideas to get your creative juices flowing, check one of the boat name generator apps or websites that are available online. Witty boat names like Bankers Hours, Knot Working, Second Wind, or Reel Therapy are great examples.


Once a boat is officially christened during the naming a boat ceremony, seafaring lore and legend says that renaming a boat is bad luck unless you perform a boat renaming ceremony. During a renaming ceremony the old name is expunged from all records and all traces of the old name are removed from vessel itself. While many boat owners these days don’t go through this process unless they’re especially superstitious, why tempt fate? Choose a timeless moniker so you don’t have to change it and risk the wrath of Poseidon.

Now that you know how to name a boat by keeping it creative and brief, gather up your friends and let the official christening process begin!

To learn more about the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, visit

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