100+ Clever Boat Names for a High-Seas Adventure (and a Few Laughs)

Make a big splash at the marina with these clever, cool and uniquely inspired boat names

Humans have been getting from one place to another by boat ever since our ancestors began using handheld tools to carve canoe-like vessels way back when. (Fun fact: We’re talking the Mesolithic Era, from 10,000 to 8,000 B.C.) Because it’s human nature to attach names to what we love and value, it’s likely boat names became a thing soon after.

In the beginning, the best names for boats were those honoring whatever deities were seen as responsible for ensuring safe travels. These days, the process is far more whimsical. While the immortals are still sometimes invoked in boat naming, so too are our favorite pop-culture references, hobbies and pet names—the names of our actual pets, as well as nicknames for girlfriends and other significant others. Plus, modern boat names are often meant to amuse, and you just might find some inspiration in these beach puns.

Still, boat names aren’t to be taken lightly. You can easily change your car name, for example, because there’s no formal naming process for it. But since you may have to register your boat name, depending on where you live, changing it could entail a whole bunch of paperwork. Superstition also holds that it’s bad luck to rename a boat without conducting an elaborate set of rituals intended to appease the sea and the four winds. Accordingly, choose a boat name that happens to float yours—and isn’t just a fleeting fancy.

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How do you pick a boat name?

Unless your boat requires registration under federal or state law, you don’t have to name it, though it’s considered good practice to do so. Besides, as noted earlier, we’re somewhat driven to come up with meaningful identifiers for the various things in our lives. From choosing adorable dog names and cat names to on-point group chat names and funny Wi-Fi names, it’s simply what we do.

Since boats, themselves, are referred to as “she/her,” many boat names are those of females—including mythological goddesses, female family members, princesses, queens and female trailblazers. But by no means do they have to be. The best boat name is one that speaks to the heart of the captain—you! And that might be a name that highlights your boat’s important attributes (e.g., its color, size or type), loved ones or interests, bucket-list destinations or inside jokes. It just has to be meaningful to you.

What words can’t be included in a boat name?

There are a few, but the rules and regulations regarding boat names apply primarily to boats that are more than 25 feet long and otherwise qualify for documentation with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). States and private marinas may have their own rules as well. But the USCG’s requirements, which are considered the most stringent, require the name be expressed using the “Latin alphabet or Arabic or Roman numerals and may not exceed 33 characters,” according to the Boat Owners Association of the United States. Further, “the name may not be identical, actually or phonetically, to any word or words used to solicit assistance at sea; may not contain or be phonetically identical to obscene, indecent or profane language, or to racial or ethnic epithets.” And these rules apply not just to the boat’s written name but also to its pronunciation.

Perhaps surprisingly, there’s no rule about naming your boat any other boat’s name. But the coolest and most creatively satisfying boat names veer toward the unique and personal. Since some of the most popular boat names in the United States in the last decade or so include Serenity, Second Wind, Seas the Day, Island Time and Aquaholic, it might be wise to steer clear. But you can certainly keep them in mind for inspiration!

Funny boat names

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As you may have surmised already, some of the best boat names also happen to be funny names. But after careful consideration, we’ve concluded that the ones below are among the cleverest.

  • Sail-acious
  • Sea-duction
  • Sea-renity Now (especially on point for fans of Seinfeld)
  • Sea-rendipity
  • Knot on Call
  • Go Knots
  • Do or Do Knots (Star Wars fans might enjoy this one)
  • Let Sea
  • Sea NB Scene (pronounced “Sea and Be Seen”)
  • Poseid Ourselves
  • Poseid the Point
  • Ten Acid Tee (pronounced “Tenacity”)
  • Ocean Spray
  • Whale I Never
  • The Princess of Whales
  • Princess Charlotte of Whales
  • Its Aboat Time
  • Wake Up Call

For further inspiration, check out the best jokes of all time. But even these bad jokes may tickle your funny bone.

Fishing boat names

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Just because fishing is among the quietest of sports, there’s no need to reel in the humor when coming up with recreational fishing boat names. And while it might be fun to cast about on your own for a bit, your prize catch might be waiting below.

  • Baited Breath
  • Fishful Thinking
  • Not My First Rod-eo
  • The Andrea Dory
  • Reel Life
  • The Reel World
  • The Reel McCoy
  • Fish Aisle Ends
  • Gone Fission (best, perhaps, for a retired scientist)
  • Her-ring Bearer
  • Fishin’ Chips
  • The I.M. Floundering
  • Tuna Me Out
  • Good Tuna You
  • Playing Catch Up
  • The Go Fish
  • The Codfather
  • Alba Core
  • The Queen Elizabass

Careful! These fish puns may split your gills.

Small boat names

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The word boat is used to refer to literally any seafaring vessel. And while that probably won’t include a blow-up raft, it will definitely include your personal sailing dinghy, your old rowboat or your trusty canoe or kayak. So go ahead and have fun with these small boat names.

  • It’s Personal
  • Yacht-Zee
  • Yachtingham Palace
  • Rowbie (for a rowboat)
  • Starter Boat
  • Small Wonder
  • The Dilly Bar (ironic shoutout to one of the world’s biggest yachts, the Dilbar)
  • Yak (for a kayak)
  • Kaia (also for a kayak)
  • Sparky
  • Jason Biggs
  • Biggie Smalls
  • MS Canoodle (for a canoe)
  • Sea-more
  • Nice Mussels
  • Pesse (for a canoe, the name of the oldest boat ever discovered by archeologists)
  • Tippecanoe
  • Dinky Dinghy
  • Water Bear (aka the tardigrade, one of tiniest animals that live forever)

Boat names inspired by pop culture

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Boat names inspired by pop culture are easy to love. Before you break open the champagne for the official pre-launch christening, be sure you’ll be happy with the name even after other people no longer recognize the reference. And that can happen, like with these pop-culture references that will confuse anyone born after 1990. Nevertheless, we think the following boat names will stand the test of time.

  • Slice of Life (Dexter’s boat on HBO’s Dexter)
  • SS Minnow (the boat from Gilligan’s Island)
  • The Malteaser Falcon (inspired by The Maltese Falcon)
  • The Darjeeling Express (from the movie of the same name)
  • The Life Aquatic (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)
  • 100% Orcanic (inspired by Quint’s ship, the Orca, in Jaws)
  • All About That Bass (inspired by the Meghan Trainor song)
  • Bass-ic Training (after the 1985 comedy Basic Training)
  • Elefino (a Bojack Horseman reference)
  • The Wanderer (the boat from the film Captain Ron)
  • Solandge (the mega-yacht from Succession)
  • The Nemo (after Finding Nemo)
  • Happy Days (after the 1970s television show)
  • Happy Daze
  • Baits Motel (inspired by Psycho … though with a pun-derful spelling)

Boat names inspired by books

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If a book is meaningful to you, then by all means, use it as inspiration for naming your boat. Here are our favorites.

  • The Odyssey
  • Scylla Whette (pronounced “silhouette” and inspired by The Odyssey)
  • Naked Lunch
  • The Titus (the boat from Swiss Family Robinson)
  • The Pequod (the boat from Moby Dick)
  • Nautical Us (after the boat in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Nautilus)
  • The Nan-Sea Drew
  • The Captain Hook
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Seabiscuit
  • Sea This Kit (after Seabiscuit)
  • Argo (the ship in Jason and the Argonauts)
  • Bird (the 60-foot yacht from The Talented Mr. Ripley)
  • Daisy Buchanan (after the character in The Great Gatsby)
  • The Lady Brett (after the character in The Sun Also Rises)
  • Hermione Granger (for a magical boating experience)
  • Mainsail and Gretel (inspired by Hansel and Gretel)

If you’re a bookworm, you might have a need for these book club names too.

Yacht names

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A yacht is defined loosely as a large boat that’s intended solely for recreational use. As far as what “large” means, if your boat is over 35 feet long, then you can probably call it a yacht. Yacht names can be classy or sassy, but boat-naming convention holds they should never be overtly braggy.

  • Sh-Azzam (inspired by Azzam, a 590-foot yacht, one of the biggest in the world)
  • Eclipsed (inspired by Eclipse, a 536-footer, second only to Azzam)
  • The Serena (inspired by Serene, a 439-footer, among the five biggest yachts)
  • Serena T (pronounced “Serenity” and also inspired by Serene)
  • Dilbert (after the mega-yacht Dilbar)
  • Rising Son (after Rising Sun, which comes right after Dilbar)
  • Sailing Yacht B (inspired by the Philippe Stark–designed Sailing Yacht A)
  • Liquid Assets
  • Bankrupt Sea
  • The Nest Egg
  • Going 4 Broke
  • Best in Show
  • A Loan Again
  • Joyride
  • Lady Moana (for the Disney-loving yacht owner, this is also a shoutout to the eighth-biggest boat in the world)

Speaking of Disney fans, don’t miss these Disney dog names for your sweet pup.


Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York–based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest and in a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction, and her first full-length manuscript, "The Trust Game," was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.