We’ve broken our list of names into categories so you can spend less time scrolling through endless lists. Just click on the type of name you’re looking for and pick the one you like, or use them as inspiration for your own nautical name.
If you’re new to boating, we strongly recommend reading the information section at the bottom of the page. It may help you avoid making some of the same mistakes we’ve made.
While his specialty is insurance, boat loans, and registrations; you can ask Boatable anything. To generate boat names, just type “boat name generator” or “boat name ideas”.
Boat Name Generator
Look, we’ve named everything from canoes up to power boats and sailing yachts. We know how frustrating it can be to find the right boat name. Most folks who find themselves on this page are looking for Boat Name Generators. Now, boat name generators, just like name generators, are often sub-par. That said, it can be tough to come up with a boat name on your own (we would know). So we engineered the chatbot to generate boat names when you ask it. Hopefully they will either suit you or will help spark your own, unique idea. Just type “boat name ideas” into the Boatable chatbot above for a randomized suggestion.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to let us know in the comments box here.
Punny Boat Names
Let’s be honest, most of the boat names you see are puns. So what makes these unique? Well, they don’t seem to fit into any of our other categories. If you enjoy puns (or enjoy groaning in frustration at them) these may be the names for you.
Side Note: This list could truly be endless.
- Pier Pressure
- Moor often than Knot
- Campbells Sloop
- Yeah Bouy
- Usain Boat
- Fish and Chicks
- Keel Over
- Positive Lattitude
- I Ship you Knot (two of the most common punny replacements, together at last)
- Chip’s Ahoy (a reverse pun!) (and also a marketing opportunity)
- Cop-Out (Either you’re a police officer or this is floating probable cause)
Boat Names for Couples
If you’re looking for boat names for couples, they usually come in two forms: A name to celebrate your relationship, or a name to celebrate it’s termination. You can find both here.
- Tide the Knot
- It Takes Two
- Family Affair
- Two to Tango
- Three to Tango (if you’re ambitious)
- Love Nest
- Mistress Managed (if you’re a divorcee who’s into Harry Potter)
- She got the House
Best Boat Names
We know what you’re thinking: “But best is subjective!” That’s right, it is. The following is a list of our top 25 favorite boat names of all time. They might not be your favorites, but they are ours.
- Water Hazard
- Seas the Day
- Fortuna Favet Fortibus (Fortune Favors the Bold for Latin scholars)
- Full Deck (as in “a few cards short of a…”)
- Idylls of March (works better if you spend the spring in the Bahamas than in, say, Minnesota)
- Time Well Wasted (So many boat names quoting Jimmy Buffet, and so few for Brad Paisley)
- Iron Maiden (if you own a steel boat AND have interest in Heavy Metal or medieval torture)
- Rainbow Chaser (cheesy, yet poetic)
- Off Kilter
- Boat Me
- Almost Heaven (bonus if you’re from West Virginia)
Movie Boat Names
Maybe you want to name your boat after the vessel in Jaws or Moby Dick (and superstition be damned), maybe you just like boat names inspired by films. Either way, here is a list of names from Film and TV. Feel free to message us with your own ideas!
- Pequod: Just don’t go chasing whales in it. They can sense that sort of thing. (Moby Dick)
- The Black Pearl: Subtitle: Where the rum is never gone. (Pirates of the Caribbean)
- Orca: Quint’s fishing boat from Jaws. Just maybe stick to the Great Lakes with this one.
- Some Like it Yacht: Delightful 50’s comedy (with boats in it!)
- Das Boot: Sure, it just means “the boat” in german, but it sounds cool.
- Yellow Submarine: Nothing like a little misdirection on your blue ski boat.
- Starship Enterprise: Who cares if you don’t have photon torpedoes? You’re boldly going where no one has gone before! Or at least, you haven’t gone there before.
- The Surprise: Sadly, it only got one movie, but if you enjoy the Aubrey-Maturin series (better known as the Master and Commander series) as much as I do, you’ll remember this sturdy ship.
- Sea Tiger: From the rare upbeat maritime film, Operation Petticoat. if you’ve never heard of it, you should go watch it immediately, then come back to this list.
- Red October: Or pick a fun variation like “Purple January.”
- Nemo: Just Make sure you don’t lose it.
- Nautilus: Man, a lot of these movies sure have depressing endings. (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea).
- The Inferno: If you love a classic adventure yarn without too much sailing involved. (The Goonies)
- Sherwood: No boats in Robin Hood, but it’s a nice name, and features in Carry On Admiral.
- Poseidon: Lots of movies about boats by this name, none of them end happily.
- The Dawn Treader: For fans of C.S. Lewis. What, you didn’t see the movie? Neither did I. (Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
- Interceptor, Endeavor, Empress, Flying Dutchman: Over the course of 3 Pirate movies, we run into a lot of ships. Most of them sink. (Pirates of the Caribbean)
- Argo: The trouble with choosing names from mythological stories is that those stories are rarely cheerful. (Jason and the Argonauts)
- Durmstrang: Sure, that’s not really the name of the ship, but it’s got a nice ring to it. And at least it doesn’t sink. (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
- Jolly Roger: Captain Hook’s ship, if you enjoy playing the villain (Peter Pan)
Alcohol-Based Boat Names
Would you like to name your boat after your favorite Tropical drink? Or after a debilitating medical condition? Some of these names are in worse taste than others.
- Bahama Mama
- Moscow Mule (or any city that begins with ‘M’. Best if your boat’s a little ornery)
- Searrhosis (If you aren’t looking to offend anyone, I would NOT choose this name)
- Aqua Holic
- Three Sheets
- On the Rocks (not for the superstitious)
- Tequila Sunrise
- Beer for my 500 Horses (adapt based on horsepower)
- Crown Royal
- Mr. Tip-sea
Adult, offensive, dirty or inappropriate boat names are common place on the water in many areas. Unfortunately, after a number of users reached out to us directly asking us to take down this list we begrudgingly did so. That said, if you are interested in a great list of boat names that are likely to offend someone, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funny Boat Names
- Over-Compensation (for the man with boundless self-confidence and a fat paycheck)
- Empty Nest
- Perpetual Mocean
- Break Out Another Thousand (This name works well if you get the first letter of each word in an oversized font)
- Just Add Money
- Knotty Buoy (Pro tip: you can also spell it “nauti”)
- My Pride And Toy
- ABOAT Time
- Ship for Brains
- Rudder Chaos
Common Boat Names
Some boat names have a whole lot of mileage. You can find boats by these names in every marina from Seattle to Cape Town. Feel free to choose from this list. People love these names for a reason, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you’re looking for something unique, though, these won’t be it.
- Why Knot
- Island Time
- Island Girl
- It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere (or really any time)
- Margaritaville (I’m sensing a trend)
- Cheeseburger in Paradise (yep, definitely a trend)
- Carpe Diem (Latin for Seize the Carp)
- Cloud 9
- Risky Business
- Rum Runner (just try spending a day in the Bahamas without seeing a boat with this name)
- Wind Dancer (also Windwalker, Windtalker, WIndsong, WindChime, Wind Chaser, Windcatcher)
Boat Names for Activities
Fishing Boat Names
- Anglers Edge
- Angler Management
- Anglers and Demons (if you like Dan Brown enough to name your boat after him)
- Chum Bucket
- Heart and Sole
- Blues Buster
- Cod Squad
- Finally Fishin
- Reel Busy
- Reel Broke
- Reel Deal
- Reel Estate
- You get the idea
- Shark Bait
- Trout Time
- Anglers Edge
Hunting Boat Names
Pontoon Boat Names
- Second Wind
- Saline Solution
Hey, some tenders need names too.
- Small Rider
- Reality (the bigger boat being named Dream, Illusion or Hope)
- Mini Me
- Harbor Mistro
Unusual Boat Names
- Coco Loco
- Label This
- Wind Rose
- Mom’s Headache
- Fountain Of Youth
- Buy M.E. One
- Old As Dirt
- No Frills Just Bills
- Hades Doubloon
- Missed Stress
Famous Boat Names
These are ships that have made their mark on history, for reasons both good and ill. This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you would like to add to the list, feel free to email us with your idea(s).
- The Santa Maria: Columbus’ Ship, in which he discovered the “New World”. It sank on the return journey, just off the shore of present-day Haiti.
- The Mayflower: An English ship that transported the Pilgrims to Plymouth, where they founded the Plymouth Colony.
- USS Constitution: Old Ironsides. The USS constitution is “the oldest commissioned Naval vessel still afloat.” Launched in 1797, she fought in the war of 1812, defeating five British warships. She last sailed under her own power in 2012 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over the HMS Guerriere. You can still tour the Constitution at Boston’s former Charlestown Navy Yard, where she berths most of the year.
- USS Arizona: A battleship, commissioned in 1916 that was sunk by the Japanese during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Too damaged to raise, the Arizona remains at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, where a memorial remembers the service members who lost their lives in that attack.
- USS Missouri: Another U.S. Battleship, the USS Missouri is best-remembered as the location of the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945.
- HMS Victory: a British ship, best known as Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson’s ship at the Battle of Trafalgar. In that battle, Lord Nelson was killed, but the British fleet defeated the combined French and Spanish forces, losing no ships, while the French and Spanish lost 22, captured or sunk.
- USS Maine
- Bismarck: A German battleship
- RMS Titanic: You’ve heard of this one before. I’d avoid naming your boat after it if I were you. Boaters are a superstitious lot, with enough experiences to back it up.
- H.L. Hunley: The first combat submarine to sink a ship. The Hunley (named For Horace Lawson Hunley, her inventor) was a confederate submarine that sank the Union U.S.S Housatonic. The Hunley sank 3 times, killing, in all, 21 of her own crew.
Country-Based Boat Names
Per high levels of demand, we are introducing country/language-specific names. If you have any good ones let us know!
- Double Entendre (Best if your boat has two masts or two big motors)
- Für Elise (bonus points if your wife’s name is Elise)
- Czech Mate
- Estoy Listo
- Scandinavian: If you want to use these names, it’s not a bad idea to pair them with another word (Odin’s Wrath, for example, if you’re into Norse mythology, and kinda pessimistic).
- Thor (If you’re worried about karma, naming your boat after the god of thunder may be a no-no)
- Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer)
- Always interested in more!
Pictures of Boat Names
This is a new category we’re just getting started with, so if you have some great ones you’d like to share please let us know, but here is where we’ll share pictures of clever, funny, or unique boats with their names.
Boat Name Information
Boat naming traditions and changing the name of a boat
In ancient times the naming of a vessel was considered sacred. Once named, changing a vessel’s name often required a number of ceremonies or traditions. Modern traditions usually involve toasts to the gods of the sea, the removal of all evidence of the prior name, and plenty of champagne.
Where should I put the boat name?
Federal requirements state that your boat’s name and hailing port need to be “marked together on some clearly visible exterior part of the hull.” Most boaters with sailboats and larger yachts opt to place that information on the stern/transom.
Some owners of smaller power boats, pontoon boats, and PWC’s install their names on the starboard and port sides. That is entirely legal, so long as they do not interfere with your state decal or registration numbers (if applicable). We should note that if you choose the “side of the boat” option, you may need to have it on both sides to satisfy the “clearly visible” requirement.
Some brokers believe that too much evidence of a boat’s name can reduce the value of a boat. A future owner who wants to change the name may not want to deal with scraping the letters off both sides of the boat. It’s a small thing, but if you think you might sell your boat in a few years, we would recommend simply placing the name on the stern of the vessel.
Why are boats named SS?
Not all boats are, but those that are or so because they have sails, as SS refers to sailing ship. You may also have seen USS for “United States Ship,” which belongs to the U.S. Navy, or HMS for “Her (Or His) Majesty’s Ship,” denoting a ship that belongs to the British Royal Navy.
Why do all boats have female names?
They don’t! While many boats are named after women, or referred to as feminine, it is by no means a rule. One of the most famous ships in history, the Bismarck, was named for a man. Many others have non-gendered names. I don’t know what gender “Feelin’ Tipsy” is, but it sure ain’t aggressively feminine.
Nevertheless, many boats are still named for women, and plenty of boaters still use “her” and “she” to refer to their boats. Some theories contend that this tradition started as sailors wanted to be close to (and gain protection from) the goddesses of the sea. Sailors throughout the centuries have also considered ships as beings with motherly affection, keeping them safe from storms. Other theories suggest that the source was linguistic. The Latin word for ship “navis” is feminine, and that grammatical link may have remained, even as romance languages developed and ascribed masculine genders for the word “ship” (el barco, le bateau, etc.).
Why do people name boats?
People name their boats for a number of reasons, foremost amongst them for most boaters is it gives them an opportunity to call something their own, that is not a randomized 15 character string of letters and numbers. Whether you are going for funny, romantic, historic, or something you have created entirely new on your own, naming your own boat is a great way of putting your stamp on the water. Additionally, naming your boat helps others find your boat, and in some legal jurisdictions is in fact required.
How to name your boat?
Naming your boat, in most instances does not legally involve anything at all. That said, in some states and if the boat has been registered with the U.S. Coast Guard, changing the name may have larger implications. That said, if you believe in superstition, there are a bunch of things you should do before naming, and especially before renaming, your vessel.
What should I know before naming my boat
Many things are likely to happen:
- You will be judged, no matter what name you pick.
- You have a constant 30% chance of coming across another boat with the same name. If you choose something like “Island Time” bump that up to 70%.
- People will mishear you, and not get the name, which will make you feel stupid
- You will think about changing it
- You will realize it takes too much effort
- Long after you’ve sold her, you will still remember her name fondly.
What not to name your boat and other rules/laws around naming your boat:
Only a few legal restrictions on boat names exist in the United States. You cannot name your boat something like “Fire,” “Mayday,” “SOS,” or other names in that genre. Folks have trouble with those names outside the U.S. too, and with good reason. You don’t want a name that could be confused with a distress call over a patchy radio connection.
Even if you avoid those obvious names, you may still run into trouble if you go for a complicated name. We are exhibit A for that kind of mistake, though we were fortunate to never find ourselves in true distress. We named our sailboat “Eastbound And Down”, which seemed harmless enough, as well as clever. However, while sailing several thousand miles through the Great Lakes and down the Eastern seaboard, we noticed that marina operators over the radio struggled to understand us. Did “Eastbound” refer to our vessel’s approaching course? Marinas could obviously chuckle it off, and we had plenty of time to explain ourselves during our approach. If we’d needed to make ourselves understood during a distress call in adverse conditions, however, that name could have put us into real danger. You don’t want any confusion about your course on a distress call.
Finally, there are some restrictions on the length of your boat’s name if you are planning to register it with the Coast Guard. The requirements have varied over time, but it’s worth considering if you are thinking about a longer name.
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