Everyone remembers the 2016 contest to choose a name for the UK’s new polar vessel, mainly because the name with the most votes was “Boaty McBoatface.” The government opted to go against the public’s wishes, naming the boat after the famous broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough instead. Today was the boat’s official naming ceremony, and many were relieved they weren’t christening Boaty McBoatface. Among them in attendance were some of the British royal family.
The Duchess of Cambridge took part in the ceremony by pressing a yellow button, which triggered the smashing of a bottle of Champagne on the ship’s hull (a maritime tradition). The Duke of Cambridge gave a speech on the vessel’s importance to expanding global knowledge of the polar oceans, as well as the impact of climate change on the Arctic environment. He also expressed his relief that the boat he was christening wasn’t called “Boaty McBoatface.”
“It is my immense privilege and relief,” he said, “to welcome Sir David Attenborough, rather than Boaty McBoatface, to speak.”
When Attenborough spoke, the 93-year-old British icon said, “Great problems require great research and facts to solve them, and that’s what this astonishing ship will be here to do.” The ship is scheduled to commence ice trials in the northern hemisphere in March 2020.