Looking for that perfect name for a new boat? Or maybe you need to rename an old boat? That's a big challenge, because for most boat owners, naming a boat is harder than naming a child. After all, there are no books called "Best Boat Names" that help guide the new owner to find that perfect fit of meaning, beauty, and letters that will fit on the transom.

boat no name

Don't take the easy way out and name her "No Name" like this owner did. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Many of the so-called "best" boat names are puns. Some are tacky but innocent, like Seas the Day, Nauti-Buoy, or Miss Behavin'. Others are past the point of subtlety: Second Wind, Aqua Fart, Boobie Bouncer, and of course... Wet Dream. They're fun to laugh at on someone else's boat, but who wants to repeat over the VHF "Radio check, this is the Wind Gone Wrong II"?

Do you have a love of poetry (Sea Fever) or sense of humor (Sea Ya)? Do you want to incorporate into the name how you make a living (and therefore paid for the boat), perhaps as a pun (Knot Guilty for a lawyer, or Knot My Job for anyone else)? Or do you want to let others know how many people are usually aboard (Boat of Us)?

This isn't an easy problem, and there's probably more than one right answer. So here are five tips to help get you started on finding the right boat name.

  1. Decide on a theme. Do you prefer names that are humorous, romantic, water-based, or very personal?

  2. Search the web for your chosen theme plus your boat type (eg. "funny pontoon boat name"). You'll be amazed at what you'll find.

  3. Write down any names that sound particularly "right". Then read them out loud. Sometimes a name that looks good onscreen or on paper won't sound right when spoken.

  4. Come up with a top five list, and play around a bit with any words that might be used in a different way. Doggonit might become Dog on It.

  5. Personalize it. Instead of Mom's Mink, how about "Mandy's Mink"? The poetic Rendezvous could become Rhonda-vous. Tying it to something specific will help prevent seeing the same name on too many other boats.

The best boat names reflect your personality, without overwhelming or contradicting the boat's personality. Have fun naming your new ride, and we'll see you and Beer Thirty on the water very soon.