Can Boats Have the Same Name?

While it may be tempting to use lewd, lewd, or foul language in your boat name, that type of language is prohibited in boat names. You may use words such as sexy and funny in a boat’s name, as long as it is not a sloop or a yacht.

Boats can have the same name in the United States and in the UK because boats are identified by their hull numbers. Naming a boat has little legal relevance, and it is mostly done for the sake of the seafaring aesthetic. The tradition of naming boats goes back to the time of the Romans and may even predate it.

Whether that is your first name or last, you may consider using that in coming up with a boat title that is just right. In keeping with tradition, you may wish to have the boat christened after choosing the name. Take time to decide on a name, and christen your ship at an appropriate time.

If so, you might have trouble deciding, or thinking of, various names for your boat. Ultimately, it is up to you whether or not giving your boat a new name is a fun experience. Without worrying about the strict rules, you can give your boat a unique name, a generic one, a single word, or two names.

Traditions for Renaming a Boat

If you want to change your boat’s name without incurring sea-based wrath, there is a process you can take. Some say if you are renaming your sailing vessel, your first outing in a boat with your new name should take place straight out in the wind, stop, then sail at least one length of the ship to windward, turn around, and wipe off your old name. According to maritime tradition, changing a boat’s name brings bad luck, and while there is a ritual to rename a boat which is said to help one avoid Poseidon’s wrath, most boaters are careful when deciding on a name.

Before renaming your boat, you need to have the last name removed, followed by the renaming ceremony. Generally, the old name should be removed from the boat entirely (and I do mean exceptionally), and an appropriate renaming ceremony should ensure that the gods are pleased. Whether or not you choose to appease the gods with a name, you must be sure to remove any traces of the old name from the boat, including log books, charts, life vests, etc.

There are no rules or laws regarding the reuse of boat names, but having the same name as a boat adjacent to you or close by may prove embarrassing and sometimes unworkable. If you are only registered with your state, you may be using the same name for the boat several times.

While boats in Australia have to register with unique names, in the US, two boats can have the same name. Australian registered ships, however, have to apply for words, and only one may be named. The new owner must therefore contend with two registered names, a challenge if the goal is to sell the boat.

Old Boat Names May Be Reused for Legal Purposes

An older boat’s name can be printed on the bareboat charter documents for financial or legal reasons. These documents spell out an agreement between a boat owner and an individual or corporate buyer. Many boat owners also give the names of their boats to honor loved ones or for sentimental reasons.

Boat names may represent the region where they were built, weather conditions at sea, a rare species of antelope, or even a natural phenomenon in another language. Boat and ship names can be phrases, places, creatures, just about anything that can be thought up. Boats and ships are the objects people make that get named every time.

Interestingly, although the boat is always a woman, her name does not necessarily reflect her sex. There is no current law in the UK restricting you from choosing a name for your boat which is already in use, and you are free to pick one as long or short as you wish. When choosing a name, avoiding terms already used in your port or marina area is polite.

You will want to ensure that the name you select is quickly spoken and heard if there is an emergency. You may also want to choose another spelling of your preferred name in case you discover that the chosen one is already spoken. If your boat’s hull is a very distinctive color, incorporate that into the character to make identification easier.

Watersports boats are the ones that you are most likely to be able to spot without having a name. There are plenty of characters for boat sports, such as Margaritaville and the Black Pearl.

Most Boats Are Nameless

Yes, there are more boats with no names now than there used to be. These days, there are so many boats; they all have registry numbers now. That is why you see many boats with Roman numerals after their names.

Regulations regarding the name of boats differ between provinces, and depending on your license; you might not even be required to use an official Canadian name for registering a boat. Perhaps you are wondering if having two ships registered with the same name would cause problems in proper identification, for example, for insurance purposes. This post discusses suffixes, boats’ traditions, and how to pick a unique name for your vessel.

It is a popular superstition that changing the name of your boat brings bad luck, making your boating experience one that you would rather forget. One reason changing a boat’ss name is considered bad luck is because of the superstitions associated with the maritime gods. In many regions, an important thing to avoid with boat names is hubris — not naming your boat Victory, but naming it after a type of ocean or storm, such as a hurricane.

Possible circumstances of ending up are having the boat have the same name as another boat, having the ship you owned before and named before being renamed, having the older boat and a newer one have precisely the same name, and having one boat with two words rather than only one.

Nicholas Finn

I've been the captain of a fishing boat for over 20 years, and I created Pirateering to share my knowledge of and interest in seafaring.

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