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Northern Michigan Marina

How to Name A Boat

Congratulations, you have a boat!  If it's a bit boat or a little boat it's time to think about a name.  Almost as important as naming a boat, is selecting the appropriate fonts, colors and sizes.  Use this helpful guide to steer your name to something you can be proud of and will compliment your boat.  The easiest mistake to make on a $100,000+ boat is giving it a bad name or having the wrong lettering added to your stern.  The images below show what different fonts look like and then I provide the name of each font.  At the bottom of this article there is a link to each font, and many more, so you can download them for free and provide the font to your lettering company.

How to Select a Good Boat Name

Use these guidelines for a safe bet on a great name that won't immediately lower your boats value or cause the Harbor master to laugh when you radio for a slip.

Your best bet:

  • Select a woman's name that means something to you. Commonly a wife, mother, grand-daughter or daughter's name.
    • Meghann Marie
    • Princess
    • Kaybird III
  • Words or phrases related to the pursuit of freedom and happiness
    • Liberty
    • Indpendence
  • A large body of water like a Great Lake or ocean
    • Superior
    • Ontario
  • Keep it to two words or less
  • Add a Roman numeral to the end

If you can't find anything above that suits you, move on to the following:

  • Nautical words including fish and aquatic species
    • Bowfin
    • Admiral
  • Famous ships or places
    • Dauntless
    • Babylon
  • Historical people
    • Shakespeare
    • Cleopatra
  • Classic song and film references
    • Ishmael
    • Gatsby
  • Your heritage or nationality
    • Foreign language
    • Irish Eyes
  • A star or constellation used in nautical navigation in your hemisphere
    • Sirius
    • Orion
  • Add an adverb before a noun
    • Laughing Dolphin
    • Dancing Maiden

Common pitfalls:

  • A play on the boat owner's name
    • S.S. Dylan
  • Mixing nautical words with another word
    • Ahoy Vey
  • Business related names - primary financial puns
    • Venture Capital
    • Aquasition
    • A Crewed Interest
  • Humorous names or booze related
    • A Three Hour Tour
    • Passing Wind
    • She Got the House
  • Anything indicating that the boat is a status symbol
    • You Can't Touch This!
  • Numbers replacing words
    • Too Hot 2 Handle
  • Naming a boat under 30 feet in length or over 10 feet (dinghy boats can be named)
  • Naming a performance (cigarette) boat
  • Triple-check your grammar
    • Youre Lady
    • To Late

There is still a rare gem that beats the odds and comes out on top.  Bryce from Ship Shape, the boat cleaning company in Petoskey, mentioned the "Maryacht" as an exception to every rule.  It's owned by a member of the Marriott family.  It's a pun on a boat word, the family business and his own last name.  Under normal circumstances that is a strikeout but in this case we're giving it a huge applause for originality.  Moverover, if Mr. Marriott has strong feelings for a woman named Mary then it's absolutely flawless.  

A second exception to the naming rules is a having an extremely expensive new boat or a beautiful classic and naming it something sophomoric just because you can. One case that I am familiar with is a pristine 19' vintage wooden Chris Craft perfectly maintained with the name "Sportin' a Woody".  Even better, is that at first glance, the boat appears to be called WOODY while the other two words are subtly placed in the stern's upper port corner.

Selecting a Font for Boat Lettering

You already crossed the line between pretentious and humble when you chose a name. Now it's time to decide whether or not your boat looks cheap or classy.  The presentation of your boat name is equally important to the name itself. There are three main components to the lettering

  1. Font or Type (if you look at the images in this article, you will see font names listed next to the
  2. Painted, Carved or Vinyl
  3. Colors

The colors depend on the boat's hull and accent colors from the upholstery, paint and trim.  Wooden boats and navy blue hulls are widely considered the most regal boats.  You need contrast.  If you hull is white, pick a dark color for your words like blue or black.  You can also use a light color like gold, silver or light blue if you put a dark outline around the letters.  On a dark hull like a Hinckley or blue sailboat, you want to use gold, burgundy red and white (or light gray) for your lettering.

Boat names and locations can be painted directly onto the hull and then sealed.  You can have a vinyl sticker made, which is most popular, and simply clean the hull and adhere the letters to your boat.  On larger yachts, it's a great idea to have the boat name carved into a beautiful stained piece of wood.  The wood is then attached to the stern, pilot house or hung from a railing.

Not all sailboat names look good in the same font so you have test them out.   The fonts used in the photos above are all available for download here.  At the download site you can even put in your own boat's name to test out each font and see what it would look like.

Franchise font

Telegraphico font

Dock 11 font

Episode font

Acknowledgement font

Copperplate font

Chancery Cursive font

Better Heather (Arabella) font

Some Weats font

Max Initiale font

Fenwick Outline font

Pistilli Roman font

Geo Sans Light font

Allegre Sans NC font

Saddlebag font

Post Office font

Ballpark Weiner font

Pullman font

What Do You Think about Northern Michigan Marina?

Locals Tip

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"I don't really want to scuba dive....I'm kind of terrified of being under water like that. I really have no desire. Never say never though :)" Meghann
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