Due to the overwhelming response (glad you liked it, Mom) to a recent column about nautical terminology, this is a kind of follow-up. Thus, I give you boat names. [Warning. This column contains more than your recommended daily allowance of puns. This is not my preference. This is how it must be.]
Let’s start with the question: Why name your boat? Most people don’t name their bikes? I guess a few folks name their cars. (Speed Racer: Mach Five; Goofy: Bessie; Etc.) But a boat? Well, for one, there’s more space on the back/side of your boat for a name. But in olden days, boats were named after goddesses and saints because it was thought to ensure safe voyage. After a while, the close observer noticed there was no correlation, let alone causation between a good name, a bad name, and the outcome. Thus, names of goddesses and saints were set aside and mariners started getting “creative”.
But before we race to judge the mariner’s wit, let’s remember that scurvy is a real disease. Vitamin C is a real nutrient and I’d like to see you name a boat without it. That said, boat names are, for some reason or another, a pun. Why? The only answer I can offer is that it seems if you can afford to buy a boat, fill it with gas, put it in the water, and drive it around, then you’re probably hilarious! Why deprive the water world of your comedy genius?
Imagine the profound satisfaction when that first someone came up with Sea Duction. He must have been so proud. His mother, less so. THE INNUENDO, of course, is but one category of boat name. What this category lacks in subtlety it makes up for in shamelessness. This is a family column so modesty prevents me from listing even one name here BUT I will say the double entendre is both immature and aims to make you blush. In general, this is consistent with boat naming humor but, in my opinion, it’s got the shortest shelf life. Is that double entendre really funny year after year? Maybe if you’ve been drinking. Which people on boats do a lot. How do I know? Because the next category of boat name is…
BOOZY! Boat owners really like to toss ‘em back. And based on the names, they enjoy their drinks strong, preferring cocktails to beer and wine. Occasionally you’ll see: Wine Down; Beeracuda; Boatweiser; or Didjabringabeeralong. But far more common is Anita Cocktail; Olive Aboard; Ta-Keel-La; Cirrhosis of the River; Tip Sea; Sotally Tober; Three Sheets; Hooked on Tonics. But the name most committed to the theme, Water Patrol be damned, is The Aquaholic.
A category all its own comes courtesy of the Lake Minnetonka Fan Club from Facebook. Thank you for your submissions – over 130 and counting! There were several spellings/versions of the Gin & Tonka proving Twain’s point that there shouldn’t be one way to spell. Here’s a cursory list of my favorites: The Tooth Ferry (dentist-owned); Floatin’ Doc; Yacht C; Tonka Toy; Lollygager; Zs the Day; Breaking Wind; Woodwinds (Musician with wooden boat); and Bert (A woman owns this vessel and breaks with tradition of female name for a second time. Her first ski boat is named Ernie.)
Nauti and Knot is the next category where I guess the sentiment is: if one pun is good, many puns are better: Nauti by Nature; Nauti Girl; Nauti Buoy; Nauti Time; Feeling Nauti; Reely Nauti; Nauti Nuff; and NautiDancer out there. You will also find Knotty Time; The Have Knots; Knot Shore; Knot Stolen; Knot for Sale; ‘Fraid Knot; Knot Working; and Knot on Call on the Water.
You really have to Sea this next category to believe it: Vitamin Sea; Sea Ya; DelacaSeas; To Sea or Not to Sea; We’ll Sea; FantaSea; Seas the Day; Sea Note; Searenity; Seahorse; GypSea; That’s what Sea Said; Sealicious; Seaclusion; Current Sea; and my personal favorite, Sea Señor.
SPEED ROUND: A category for THE EX: Grounds for Divorce; She Got the House; Eat Drink and Remarry. A category about WORK: In a Meeting; The Office; Called in Sick; Fishy Business; Offshore Banking. And a surprising category about MONEY: Money Pit; Miss MyMoney; Empty Pockets; Goin’ Broke; A Loan at last; The Offshore Account.
So what’s in a name? Well, boat names tell us their owners spend a lot of time thinking about sex, booze, and money. They also think they’re hilarious. Maybe they are. But it wasn’t always thus. Once upon time, boat names boasted about the vessels themselves, names that evoked awe, imagination, and reverence. I wonder where The Titanic is now.