Shiver me timbers: Boaty McBoatface coming first place in internet poll to name this new, £200m polar research vessel

Francesca Washtell
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The official title of the unnamed ship will ultimately be decided by the NERC (Source: NERC)

The somewhat unlikely Boaty McBoatface has overtaken the competition in an internet poll to find a new name for a £200m polar research vessel.

The frontrunner for the state-of-the-art ship has overtaken suggestions such as Shackleton, Falcon, Endeavour and David Attenborough in the bid to publicly source a name for the new National Environment Research Council (NERC) ship.

The vessel will make both Arctic and Antarctic voyages in its lifetime and is set to launch in 2019, when it will carry 90 scientists and additional staff into the Arctic Ocean.

"Tonne-for-tonne the ship - together with NERC's existing two blue water research ships - will provide the UK with the most advanced floating research fleet in the world and will help put the UK at the forefront of ocean research for years to come," the NERC said on its website.

Other not-so-serious names for the ship suggested on the internet poll have included I'm the Captain Now, It's Bloody Cold Here, Ice Ice Baby and Notthetitanic.

Paddy Power Betfair have put odds of 1/100 on Boaty McBoatface becoming the official title of the multi-million pound research vessel.

Odds of 20/1 have been put on RRS David Attenborough, 33/1 on RRS Henry Worsley, Pillar of Autumn, Tom Crean and Ernest Shackleton. Odds of 50/1 have been put on RRS It's Bloody Cold Here, while 100/1 odds are on RRS Boat and RRS Pingu, among others.

However, anyone worried the ship will be called RRS Boaty McBoatface should take solace in a caveat on the NERC's website, which says "the final decision on the name of the ship will be taken by the chief executive of the NERC".

The lead name was suggested by a communications manager named James Hand, who subsequently apologised to the NERC on Twitter.

Hand also had to clarify that he had not created the spoof Twitter account in the name of Boaty McBoatface.