Boaty McBoatface

Boaty McBoatface is the lead boat of the Autosub Long-Range class[3] of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). It is used for scientific research and is carried on the research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough. Boaty McBoatface is owned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and operated by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).[4][5] Because of its complexity and its extended range, NERC classifies it as an autosub long range autonomous vehicle.[6]

United Kingdom
Name: Boaty McBoatface
Commissioned: 2016[1]
General characteristics
Class and type: autonomous underwater vehicle (autosub long range)[2]


The name Boaty McBoatface was originally proposed in a March 2016 online poll to name the ship that would eventually be named RRS Sir David Attenborough.[7][8]

Former BBC Radio Jersey presenter James Hand jokingly suggested Boaty McBoatface, a name the public liked and that quickly became the most popular choice. The name has been described as a homage to Hooty McOwlface, an owl named through an "Adopt-a-Bird" programme in 2012 that became popular on the Internet.[9]

Although Boaty McBoatface was the most popular suggestion in the #NameOurShip poll,[7] the suggestion to use the name for the mother ship was not followed;[10] the Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, announced that the ship would be named Sir David Attenborough, and the name Boaty McBoatface would be used for one of the submersibles aboard instead.[11]

The results of the poll inspired similar results in other naming polls.[12]


The boat underwent advanced sea trials in 2016.[1] Its maiden voyage was on 3 April 2017, to research how Antarctic Bottom Water leaves the Weddell Sea and enters the Southern Ocean through Orkney Passage, south of Chile.[13] During this expedition, which was part of a project with the University of Southampton, the National Oceanography Centre, the British Antarctic Survey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Princeton University, it traveled 112 miles (180 km) at depths of up to 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) and collected data on the water's temperature, salinity, and turbulence. Combined with measurements collected by RRS James Clark Ross, the data suggest that as winds over the Southern Ocean have strengthened, driven by the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica and increases in greenhouse gases, they have increased the turbulence of deep ocean waters, leading to increased mixing of cold and warm water.[14] According to National Oceanography Centre oceanographer Eleanor Frajka-Williams, "This was the unique new process that rapidly exchanges water between the cold and the warm and then spreads the effect of the different water properties over a larger area," more efficiently than the better-known processes that mix warm surface waters with cold water from the deep sea.[14] This action rapidly warms the cold water, which contributes to rising sea levels, as water becomes less dense as it warms.[15] This newly discovered action has not yet been included in models for predicting sea level rise and the effect of climate change on the ocean.[16] The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.[17]

Similar namesEdit

Bjorn Baker's team at Sydney's Warwick Farm Racecourse caught wind of the crowdsourced name Boaty McBoatface and decided that they would pay homage to them by naming their new racehorse Horsey McHorseface.[18] Horsey McHorseface was put to auction and sold for $17,325,[19] but in 2017 was euthanised due to bone disease.[20]

Swedish transport company MTR Express conducted an online poll, not long after the one involving Boaty McBoatface, to name a new train on the Stockholm-Gothenburg line. Trainy McTrainface won the poll, and the train was named accordingly.[21]

Sydney Ferries allowed the public to name its fleet of Emerald-class ferries through a naming competition.[22] It was announced that the most popular name was Boaty McBoatface but, as it had already been taken, the judges opted to go instead for the second-place choice, and one of the ferries was thus named Ferry McFerryface.[23] After the Maritime Union of Australia refused to crew the vessel in protest at the name, it entered service named Emerald 6 with a Ferry McFerryface sticker below the bridge.[24][25][26] It later emerged that the name Ferry McFerryface had received fewer than 200 votes in the poll; it had been selected by the New South Wales Transport Minister out of his personal preference for the name, which was subsequently changed.[27]

Megabus' United Kingdom operation hosted a Twitter poll in late 2017 to name some of their brand-new Plaxton Elite bodied Volvo B11RT interdeck coaches. Mega McMegaface won, and the name was applied to one of the vehicles.[28]

In March 2017, the Isle of Wight Council, which operates the Cowes Floating Bridge (a chain ferry across the Medina between Cowes and East Cowes), stated it was open to suggestions from residents for a new name for the vessel after originally registering it as Floating Bridge No.6. Despite council officials ruling out "Floaty McFloatface" as a name,[29] a petition was later created to name the vessel Floaty McFloatface, attracting over 2,000 signatures[30] and even caused the council to rescind its decision to veto the name.[31]

In 2016, Google released a grammar parsing software package, which they named Parsey McParseface.[32]

In December 2018, Formula E team Mahindra announced the name of their new car, Electro McElectroFace.[33]

In 2018, a naming contest for a sculpture of a Muskox took place in Yellowknife, NWT Canada. Musky McMuskoxface was a name in the running, but did not win. The successful winning name was instead Elon Muskox.[34]

In October 2018, Shropshire Council named a gritter (salt truck) Gritty McGritface after a public vote.[35]

In June 2019, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council named a skate park Skatey McSkateface after a public vote.[36]


  1. ^ a b Amos, Jonathan (17 October 2016). "Arctic crossing planned for 'Boaty' sub". BBC. BBC News. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  2. ^ Slawson, Nicola (21 July 2018). "Boaty McBoatface to go on its first Antarctic mission". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  3. ^ Amos, Jonathon (2017). "Boaty McBoatface submarine set for first voyage". London: BBC.
  4. ^ Amos, Jonathon (2016). "Arctic crossing planned for 'Boaty' sub". London: BBC.
  5. ^ Taeihagh, Araz (1 December 2017). "Crowdsourcing: a new tool for policy-making?". Policy Sciences. 50 (4): 629–647. arXiv:1802.03113. doi:10.1007/s11077-017-9303-3. ISSN 1573-0891.
  6. ^ "NOC's Autosub Long Range is Boaty McBoatface". National Oceanography Centre. NOC. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  7. ^ a b Anon (2016). "#NameOurShip". Swindon: Natural Environment Research Council. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016.
  8. ^ "£200m polar research ship named in honour of Sir David Attenborough". NERC. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  9. ^ Whipple, Tom (16 April 2016). "Boaty McBoatface tops poll but will vote be scuppered?". The Times. Retrieved 11 April 2018. Yet the runaway winner was RSS Boaty McBoatface, itself an homage to the owl that was named Hooty McOwlface after a similar exercise.
  10. ^ Anon (21 March 2016). "Boaty McBoatface instigator 'sorry' for ship name suggestion". London: BBC. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  11. ^ Knapton, Sarah (2016). "'BoatyMcBoatface' to live on as yellow submarine, science minister Jo Johnson announces". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b Kennedy, Merrit (18 June 2019). "Boaty McBoatface, Internet-Adored Sub, Makes Deep-Sea Discovery On Climate Change". Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  15. ^ Donnelly, Laura (17 June 2019). "Boaty McBoatface makes major climate change discovery on maiden outing". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  16. ^ University of Southampton, Boaty McBoatface mission gives new insight into warming ocean abyss, retrieved 18 June 2019
  17. ^ Meredith, Michael P.; Thomas, Leif N.; Nicholls, Keith W.; McPhail, Stephen D.; Griffies, Stephen M.; Buckingham, Christian E.; Abrahamsen, E. Povl; Forryan, Alexander; Polzin, Kurt L. (18 June 2019). "Rapid mixing and exchange of deep-ocean waters in an abyssal boundary current". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116 (27): 13233–13238. Bibcode:2019PNAS..11613233N. doi:10.1073/pnas.1904087116. ISSN 0027-8424.
  18. ^ "High hopes for Horsey McHorseface". BBC News. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 25 December 2017 – via
  19. ^ Sheehan, Luke (30 June 2017). "Horsey McHorseface for sale". Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  20. ^ Sheehan, Luke (22 October 2017). "Sad end to McHorseface tale". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  21. ^ "It's official! Sweden names new train Trainy McTrainface". 17 October 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  22. ^ Visentin, Lisa (22 July 2016). "Ferry McFerryface? NSW government launches naming competition for new ferries". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  23. ^ Transport NSW. "It's official. We have named the final ferry in the new fleet. Welcome to Sydney, Ferry McFerryFace". Facebook. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  24. ^ Ferry McFerryface to be the name of new Sydney ferry after public vote ABC News 14 November 2017
  25. ^ Ferry workers to boycott Ferry McFerryface SBS World News 14 November 2017
  26. ^ Ferry McFerryface sets sail as union, government agree to name change Archived 14 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine Seven News 17 December 2017
  27. ^ "Ferry McFerryface saga not over yet for Transport Minister Andrew Constance".
  28. ^ "Kein neues "Boaty McBoatface"". Der Standard (in German). 2 November 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  29. ^ "Council torpedoes 'Floaty McFloatface' idea". Newshub. 4 March 2017 – via
  30. ^ "Floaty McFloatface? Petition launched to name the new Isle of Wight floating bridge - YBW". 29 March 2017.
  31. ^ "Floaty McFloat Face 'still an option' as council looks for new bridge name". Daily Echo.
  32. ^ "Announcing SyntaxNet: The World's Most Accurate Parser Goes Open Source". March 2016 – via Google.
  33. ^ Cobb, Haydn (14 December 2018). "Mahindra enters 'Electro McElectroFace' car name". Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  34. ^ "Meet Elon Muskox, the Yellowknife sculpture named after Tesla CEO". CBC News. 21 December 2018.
  35. ^ "'Gritty McGritface' wins naming ballot". BBC News. 27 October 2018 – via
  36. ^ "'Skatey McSkateface' wins public vote for Southend skate park". BBC News. 17 June 2019 – via

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