Boaty McBoatface research ship set to be named after David Attenborough

Government confirms the polar research vessel will be named after the naturalist – but the suggestion Boaty McBoatface will live on...

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Sad news: that research ship that thousands of people voted to be named Boaty McBoatface won’t be called that. On the plus side, the ship will be named after Sir David Attenborough.

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The £200 million polar research vessel will be named RRS Sir David Attenborough, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills confirmed today, celebrating the life and career of the 90-year-old naturalist.

However, the name Boaty McBoatface, which garnered more than 100,000 votes when the government asked the public to help choose the name, will be used as the name of one of the submarines on board ship.

Attenborough said he was proud that the ship would bear his name. “I am truly honoured by this naming decision and hope that everyone who suggested a name will feel just as inspired to follow the ship’s progress as it explores our polar regions,” he said.

“I have been privileged to explore the world’s deepest oceans alongside amazing teams of researchers, and with this new polar research ship they will be able to go further and discover more than ever before.”

The naming poll initially set up by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council attracted more than 7,000 suggestions, with Boaty McBoatface by far the most popular with 124,000 votes. Sir David Attenborough’s name earned 11,000 votes.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said, “The public provided some truly inspirational and creative names, and while it was a difficult decision I’m delighted that our state-of-the-art polar research ship will be named after one of the nation’s most cherished broadcasters and natural scientists.

“This vessel will carry the Attenborough name for decades to come, as it fulfils its mission to explore the oceans and put Britain at the forefront of efforts to preserve our precious marine environment,” he continued.

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“The ship has captured the imaginations of millions, which is why we’re ensuring that the Boaty name lives on through the sub-sea vehicle that will support the research crew, and the polar science education programme that will bring their work to life.”