UNITED KINGDOM — A state of the art ship funded by the UK government for polar research may soon be christened “Boaty McBoatface” if online voters get their way.
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) opened a poll for the naming of the 129-meter long icebreaker, the largest and most advanced British research vessel to date.
The NERC asked for names that were inspirational, such as a historical figure or a landmark.
However, the moniker “RRS Boaty McBoatface” submitted by user James Hand quickly became the crowd favorite with over 26,000 votes.
In a far second place is “RRS Henry Worsley” with around 3,000 votes, after the British explorer who died in January while attempting a solo, unaided mission across the Antarctic.
Other unorthodox suggestions include “RRS Usain Boat” — a reference to champion sprinter Usain Bolt — and “RRS Ice Ice Baby,” which for fans of Vanilla Ice needs no explanation.
The public has up until April 16 to vote although the site seems to have struggled with the number of users flocking to its poll.
There’s no guarantee that the NERC will follow through on the public’s choice of name but in any case, the state of the art vessel is due to set sail for Antarctica in 2019.
Dollarydoos and a Stephen Colbert bridge
Of course, this is not the first time the internet has displayed its cheeky side with public naming polls.
Last October, one man launched a petition to change the Australian currency to “dollarydoos.”
And, when Hungary held a contest to name a Danube River bridge, legendary action hero Chuck Norris emerged as the runaway favorite.
That is, until American talk show host Stephen Colbert urged his viewers to name the bridge after him.
Within days, “Stephen Colbert hid” (hid is Hungarian for bridge) was number one in the poll with 17 million votes, seven million more than the population of Hungary. The Hungarian government discarded the results and eventually went with Megyeri Bridge.