Boat naming

Main piece:

There’s a whole, elaborate set of standards related to boat naming. And a lot of rules have exceptions and a big part of it all is taste, of course. And I’m sure there are cultural differences too – like, a lot of these rules are probably unique to American boats.

A couple that come to mind though? You can’t name a boat anything to do with a storm or sinking or waves. That’s asking to sink. And you can’t say anything about the wind. We can tell you have a fucking sailboat, y’know? It’s just stupid. And if you’re fast, go fast. Don’t name your boat Glide or Speed or some other shit.

There’s stuff that you want though too – women’s names. Three A’s – that’s good. That’s how you get names like Atlantas. And you want it to be short. More than anything, really. Like, a fast boat has a short name. Three words? That boat’s never leaving the dock. And nothing about alcohol. That’s just… I dunno. Ya just don’t do it, though.


Conventions described by Randy Peffer at Boatswayne Yard in San Pedro, CA. Randy is a career seaman, educator, and writer.


Randy’s boat is named “Sarah Abbott”, after his own mother. This is considered to be an extremely tasteful name, as it contains both three A’s, is the name of a woman, and is two words.


Naming conventions reflect taste and cultural norms within the sailing community. Everywhere in the sailing community, simplicity is valued. Luck is valued. And in all fairness, women are generally missed while at sea. (Though this will change as sailing becomes more diversified with regards to gender).