We’ve all seen lists of funny boat names. But none of those lists ever factor in what I’m about to propose. You see, when naming one’s boat, one must hope for the best but plan for the worst. Before sticking that vinyl on the transom, think about how it’s going to entertain the Coast Guard and everyone else listening on channel 16 if you find yourself hailing something dumb like, “Mayday, Mayday, this is ... A Perfect Moment.”
Therefore, each of the best/worst boat names below shall be issued a Mayday Score on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the funniest or most embarrassing thing one could broadcast on the radio in one’s hour of need. On this scale, we’ll baseline the example above as a 9.5. Generally not good, and you’d better hope your mother-in-law is not aboard when you need to make the big call.
The best/worst boat names generally come in three broad categories.
1. Bragging about where the money came from:
Sea Section. You just know that the utterly tasteless OB-GYN who owns this vessel has a huge picture of his boat displayed prominently in his office, with the name clearly visible. I say “his” because I don’t think there’s a female obstetrician alive who would be caught dead on a boat named Sea Section.
Mayday Score: 6
Tax Sea-vation. This is a bold move. Imagine the look on the IRS auditor’s face if push comes to shove and the yacht’s owner ends up face to face with him or her. You can bet this would trigger an audit of unprecedented scope, including demands for receipts for every bottle of booze, jar of Vaseline and roll of toilet paper ever purchased on the company’s dime.
Mayday Score: 7.5
Drug Money. Another bold move, this time by a pharmaceutical sales executive who’s putting it all out there. Better yet if Drug Money is a 70-foot dayboat based in South Florida and cruises the Bahamas rather than some prissy picnic boat in Newport. Drug Money will no doubt get the attention of every single cop and Coast Guard patrol on her travels.
Mayday Score: 9
2. Double entendres:
Wasted Seamen. Okay, we got it. Does every marina need one of these? In my home port, we see Wasted Seamen in the water just about every weekend. Is this the boat you want to bring a date aboard? Depends on the date.
Mayday Score: 9
Salty Test Tackles. Don’t plan on a lot of manufacturer sponsorships to subsidize your fishing habit if you name your boat Salty Test Tackles. And you’re not likely to ink a deal for a cable TV reality show any time soon, as much as you might aspire to such fame. Wicked Tuna? Sure. Salty Test Tackles? Not so much. Pro tip: Think twice before powering this boat with Cox diesel outboards.
Mayday Score: 8.5
Row V. Wade. Definitely clever, especially in the tidal waters of Sarasota Bay where this dinghy has been moored near the shore for decades to serve her mothership. Tide’s out? Wade. Tide’s in? Better row. Bonus points if the owner is a lawyer.
Mayday Score: 2
3. Jokes hidden in Edwardian script:
The inherent elegance of flourishing script makes dirty words easier to hide from the casual observer. These two tame examples look good in their calligraphy camo:
Myassis Dragon. This was actually published as M.A. Dragon in our club roster when I was a kid.
Mayday Score: 6 (but it jumps to 10 if the boat is actually sinking by the stern.)
Didjabringabeeralong. Well, didja? Now would be a good time for one. The crew in the Coast Guard chopper is sure to get a good chuckle at the sound of this.
Mayday Score: 6
Finally, there’s the ubiquitous Branch Office/In a Meeting/Sales Call. Almost every marina has one of these. The name is not that creative anymore, and only earns a Mayday Score of 3. But the owner loves to imagine his secretary telling clients that he’s “at the Branch Office/In a Meeting/on a Sales Call” while he’s otherwise working on Tax Sea-vation, enjoying Drug Money or hanging out with Wasted Seamen.