3 lessons everyone can learn from viral hit Boaty McBoatface

Is there really anything wrong with calling a ship Boaty McBoatface?

RRS James Clark Ross

The new research vessel will be similar to the RRS James Clark Ross. Pic: Tom L-C/Wikipedia

If you haven’t heard of Boaty McBoatface, it requires a little explanation.

A new polar research ship that’s currently being built in Birkenhead will be named later this year. The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) opened an online form for people to name the Royal Research Ship.

To the surprise and amusement of the council and onlookers, the current favourite in the poll is RRS Boaty McBoatface.

 

Previous vessels, such as the RRS Shackleton and RRS John Biscoe, have been named after famous explorers but it seems like the public wants to go in a new direction this time.

While Boaty McBoatface led by about 8,000 votes before the poll closed, the organisation stressed that the final decision will be made by a panel. And something tells us they might not agree with the nation’s decision.

So what lessons can be learned from the Boaty McBoatface poll?

1. If you want something doing properly, do it yourself

The problem with asking other people what they think is that you might not like the answer – especially when the great British public is involved. If you’ve got an idea of how you want things to be, just go ahead and do it.

2. There’s no harm in having a sense of humour

Semantically there’s a difference between a ship and a boat. Nobody can quite agree on what the difference is, but a ship is the bigger of the two, and it’s generally considered incorrect and even disrespectful to call a ship a boat. So apparently Boaty McBoatface is simply wrong. However, it has caught the public’s imagination and is the reason the poll has gone viral, so having enough of a sense of humour to call the vessel Boaty McBoatface would be a win for NERC.

3. All publicity is good publicity

It’s an old saying, but it applies perfectly here. In reality, the poll was designed to engage the public and that’s just what it did. After all, how many people would have heard of NERC and the new research vessel if it wasn’t for Boaty McBoatface?

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