LONDON— Boaty McBoatface has topped an online poll to name the U.K.’s newest polar research vessel, beating entries that honored scientists and explorers.
Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council had asked for help finding a name that would reflect the $284 million ship’s mission and celebrate British naval history.
The 128-yard-long, 15,000-ton ship is described by the NERC as a “new polar research vessel which will deliver world-leading capability for UK research in both Antarctica and the Arctic.”
The council asked for inspirational entries about environmental and polar science. But in the contest that ended Saturday, Boaty McBoatface won with more than 120,000 votes — more than three times its closest contender.
The vote was advisory and the name will be decided by the council.
— NERC (@NERCscience) March 20, 2016
Former BBC radio host James Hand, who proposed the winning entry, has apologized for the controversy, though he still thinks it’s a “brilliant name.”
In an interview with the BBC, Hand said he’s had nothing to do with the name’s success, saying it has “legs of its own.”
“I’ve apologized profusely to the people behind the website,” Hand is quoted as saying.
However, a short time after the story appeared online, Hand took to Twitter to qualify his apology.
My apology for #BoatyMcBoatface was in the most British sense. I stand by it being a brilliant name.
— James Hand (@JamesHand) March 21, 2016
He voted to name the ship after naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough.
Other popular name suggestions for the boat included “RSS Usain Boat,” RRS Ice Ice Baby,” “RRS Notthetitanic,” and “RRS Boatimus Prime.”