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UK asks public to name $300M boat; "Boaty McBoatface" leads vote

A visualization of a new polar vessel for the National Environment Research Council in the U.K.

Cammell Laird/BAS/NERC

Ships can bear the names of former presidents, war heroes, long-lost loves, or clever puns. However, the U.K. public appears to have taken a different tact when it comes the naming of a new polar vessel from the National Environment Research Council.

The NERC announced the online voting contest to name the nearly $300 million boat to be launched in 2019 recently, and the leading vote-getter so far is the simple but silly "Boaty McBoatface."

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 Irish Examiner reports some of the other popular name suggestions are "RRS Usain Boat, RRS Ice Ice Baby and RRS Boatimus Prime."

The hashtag "#boatymcboatface" was trending on Sunday morning, and the NERC said the sudden high interest in naming their boat has caused the voting website to sink.