Suggesting that people name a new £200m ship Boaty McBoatface really backfired on one man. He has since apologized for this action which has resulted in more than 27,000 votes in an online poll for name suggestions for the Royal Research ship. The website literally crashed from the volume of traffic directed at the site.
James Hand, a former BBC presenter, found the list of potential names to be really funny and entertaining. As a result, he opted to “throw one into the ring”. He later released an extensive apology to the Natural Environment Research Council.
The poll results were never guaranteed to be used by the final decision maker; in other words, the most popular name was not necessarily going to get picked. The final decision was left up to the chief executive of the NERC. Other popular names being suggested included RRS Pingu, RRS Usain Boat, and RRS David Attenborough. A spokesman who works for NERC said the staff thoroughly enjoyed reading through everyone’s innovative ideas.
Mr. Hand elaborated on his thoughts by stating, “I read the story about naming the ship on the BBC website on Thursday and some of the entries were really funny – my favorite was Clifford the Big Red Boat. I thought I would throw one into the ring. By Friday night, it was leading by a couple of thousand, and when the site crashed on Sunday it was leading by 8,000. It’s been utterly bizarre.”
The second place suggestion was RRS Henry Worsely, but Boaty McBoatface blew it out of the water (no pun intended) with 25,000 more votes. This ship will be constructed at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead on Merseyside. It will be finished in 2019 before studying ice sheets, ocean currents, and marine life as it participates in the Cambridge-based British Antarctic Survey.
The former host of Good Morning Jersey has repeatedly apologized for his hand in crashing the website, although, in some regards it has nothing to do with him, he feels. It was his suggestion but the craziness after that really took off on its own. “I suggested this for the Condor Liberation when they had a poll; I bet they’re kicking themselves now.” Mr. Hand worked for Good Morning Jersey from July 2013 until September 2015. He really meant for it to all be in good fun, but described the end result as quite “surreal”.
A former First Sea Lord named Lord West spoke to the BBC Radio 4’s Today Show about the event. He was proud that people participated and put forth a bunch of silly names. But in reality, he does not want any of them actually chosen.
The Director of Corporate Affairs at the NERC, based in Sweden, is Alison Robinson. She explained that they received thousands of suggestions on the website since it officially launched. Many people suggested names that indicate the importance of the ship’s scientific role. They did this by picking names that celebrate the great British explorers and scientists over time. She added, “We are pleased that people are embracing the idea in a spirit of fun.”