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Boaty McBoatface Is Back

The unmanned submarine named Boaty McBoatface is about to embark on its first mission. (NERC)
The unmanned submarine named Boaty McBoatface is about to embark on its first mission. (NERC)
Boaty McBoatface Is Back
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This is What’s Trending Today…

Do you remember Boaty McBoatface?

That was the name selected for a new British research ship in an online vote last April. Britain’s National Environmental Research Council (NERC) was building the ship to carry out scientific research in polar waters.

As VOA Learning English reported then, NERC permitted internet users in Britain to choose the name of the ship in an online campaign. But, instead of choosing a name connected to science, the British public chose a funny, not-so-serious one: Boaty McBoatface. The name received more than 124,000 votes, far more than any other proposed name.

British officials, however, did not let “Boaty McBoatface” become the ship’s official name. They believed the important research vessel deserved a more serious name. Not long after the vote, officials announced that the ship would instead be named in honor of British researcher Sir David Attenborough.

Many people were not happy with the decision. They felt that the name “Boaty McBoatface” should remain.

And it did. Kind of.

Researchers at Britain's University of Southampton have decided to give the beloved, humorous name to another kind of ship: a submarine. Three small, yellow underwater vehicles developed there now have “Boaty McBoatface” painted on them.

They, too, will carry out research in polar waters.

They are not actually boats, however.

Because of that, some people are not satisfied with submarines taking the name "Boaty McBoatface." One person wrote on Twitter, “They used the name Boaty McBoatface after all, but gave it to a submarine and not a boat? They ruined it!”

But, others are celebrating the name’s return. One person wrote: “You’re not a boat...nor do you have a face but don’t let that hold you back.”

Boaty McBoatface may be a funny name, but the submarine’s ability to carry out important research is serious. One ‘Boaty’ will begin the first major research trip for the fleet later this week.

Boaty will set out from Punta Arenas, Chile, on Friday. It will collect information on the flow of deep waters in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica. The information will help scientists better understand how the ocean is reacting to a warming climate.

The news made “Boaty McBoatface” a worldwide trending topic on Monday, nearly one year after it first made a splash on social media.

As one person tweeted, “Boaty McBoatface will never not make me smile. So glad it’s back in the news.”

And that’s What’s Trending Today.


Words in This Story

submarine - n. a ship that can operate underwater

vessel - n. a ship or large boat

fleet - n. a group of ships or vehicles that move or work together or that are controlled or owned by one company​

make a splash - idiomatic expression. to attract a lot of attention in an exciting way