Boaty McBoatface research ship to be named after Attenborough

British polar research ship to be called RSS Sir David Attenborough despite public vote

Britain's new polar research ship is to be named RRS Sir David Attenborough, despite Boaty McBoatface topping the public vote.

The decision to name the £200 million (€254m) state-of-the-art vessel after the naturalist comes days before his 90th birthday, and is in recognition of his legacy in British broadcasting.

The name Boaty McBoatface will live on in the form of the ship’s remotely operated submarine, which will be dispatched from RRS Sir David Attenborough to allow the research crew to collect data and samples from the Arctic and Antarctic.

Science minister Jo Johnson said a public call for suggestions for the name of the vessel had “captured the imaginations”.


The name RRS Boaty McBoatface topped the poll staged by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) with more than 124,000 votes, more than three times its nearest rival.

Sir David Attenborough said: “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.

“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.”

Mr 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.

“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.”

Sir David had been selected because of his work presenting wildlife documentaries on the BBC including The Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet.

The 128m-long, 15,000-tonne RRS Sir David Attenborough will be built in Merseyside, supporting 400 jobs and 60 apprenticeships, and is due to set sail in 2019.

Boaty McBoatface will be sent to collect data and samples remotely from the deepest waters of the Arctic and Antarctic.