Do boats need names? What happens if you don’t have one?

Naming a boat is a tradition that started around a thousand years ago. From then onwards, people started naming their boats. Still, in the modern days, do boats need names? And what happens if you don’t have the name on your boat. Let’s start with the needs of a boat name.

Boats don’t need names (in general). No law states that you need to name your boat after buying it. But, people often name their boats as a tradition (that started around a thousand years ago). So, naming a boat is not mandatory, and you can decide whether you need it or not.

If you are not interested in naming a boat, then you don’t need to name your boat. You can decide whether you need any name for the boat or not. Generally, people who have big boats (sailboats or any boat that is above 30 feet in length) will name their boats.

Generally, people who have small boats won’t name their boats. If you have a speed boat or fishing boat or any small boat, then you probably fine without a name. If you own a big boat, such as a sailboat, houseboat, or yacht, then there is an unstated rule that you need to name it.

If you are interested, you can register your boat’s name as well. The boat’s name need not be unique, and if you liked any name and someone takes the name, still, you can use that name for your boat. No law states that you shouldn’t copy other boat names. But there are some rules you should follow while naming a boat (at the bottom of the post).

What happens if your boat doesn’t have a name?

Noting will happen if you don’t have any name for your boat. Naming a boat is not mandatory, and you can decide whether you need it or not. If you have a big boat, such as a sailboat or boats above 30 feet in length, then it is good to name your boat.

Problems of not having a name for your boat

  • Other sailors or skippers may give less attention or respect. It is not like they will beat you or something. If you name your boat, then it is a pride movement, and if you didn’t name your boat, then other sailers will not give enough respect.
  • It is a tradition, especially for big boats. Many people will believe that if you named your boat after a goddess, you would be safe, and nothing harm happens to you and your boat while boating.

What types of boats will have names (generally)?

All types of boats can have names. Any boat (Jon boat, powerboat, pontoon boat, sailboat, etc.) can have names. No law states that only particular types of vessels need to be named. But, often, small boaters will not name their boats.

  • For speed or powerboat, generally, if you go for a name that is related to speed, such as Rebel, lightning, etc., it will be pleasant to your boat (speed boat). And probably you shouldn’t go for a name related to slow-moving or slow-going for a speed boat.
  • For a sailboat, you can keep any names related to wind, clouds, sailing, etc. For a sailboat speed is not related at all, sailboats are related to relaxation, calm, stress relief, etc. Some of the names for a sailboat are summer wind, sailing free, sail away, etc.
  • For a fishing boat, you can select names anything related to fishes, tacking ability, about fishing, etc. If you have big outboard motors, then you can go for speed boat names as well. Some of the names for a fishing boat are Kingfisher, gone fishing, fish magician, etc.

What type of boat names should you and shouldn’t choose?

You shouldn’t use any boat names that are related to any bad words, abusing someone, etc. The boat names can represent your personality or passion or hobby, and it will suit you as well. And you can use any funny names as well.

Every boat name should contain less than 33 characters. The letter height shouldn’t be less than 4 inches in height, and the name should be on the transom or either side of the boat.

Boat names you shouldn’t choose

  • Names that are abusing someone. The boat name shouldn’t insult anyone. You shouldn’t hurt anyone with your boat name, such as abusing some famous persons or abusing some companies or abusing people, etc. The other boaters may think wrong about you, and will not respect you.
  • Bad words. The boat names shouldn’t use any bad words as their boat names. If you are using any bad words as your boat names, then it doesn’t look good and feels good while telling your name to others.
  • Tough names. Generally, it is good to name your boat simple and understandable by everyone. It is fine to use any name, but using a name that doesn’t understand to anyone will be useless. So, go for simple and proper names.

Boat names you can choose

  • Simple names. While naming your boat, go for simple, readable, and the names that can remember. People should understand, retain (if needed), and able to read the name correctly. It shouldn’t be so hard to remember or read the name.
  • Boat names that reflect your personality. You can select a boat name that suits your personality. It can be your favorite food, song, or someone you like the most. Many people will go for “she” names (can be anyone).
  • Fun or entertaining names. You can select a name for the boat that is fun or entertaining (something about the food names or something). These types of names will speak about your personality. It is good to name your boat based on your personality.

Bottom line

Not everyone likes to name their boats. Still, it is good to name your boat if you are using any big boats. Select one proper name for your boat rather than any awkward names.


My name is Mahidhar, and I am passionate about boating. Every day I learn some new things about boats and share them here on the site.

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