When the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) asked the public to come up with a name for its new £200 million research ship, it really should have known better. The result (in case you haven’t been paying attention) was ‘Boaty McBoatface’ which the NERC felt wasn’t quite fitting for a respectable science vessel. So instead they named it Sir David Attenborough (which is far more dignified).
But, this is a democracy and Boaty McBoatface lives on as a long-range submersible, whose first mission is later this month. Boaty, will explore what’s known as the ‘Orkney Passage’ which is 3,500 metres deep in Antarctica, and send back data on water flow and the effects of climate change on the Southern Ocean.
Boaty McBoatface is one of three new types of ‘autonomous underwater vehicles’ (AUVs) that can reach depths of 6,000 metres. McBoatface and friends are 3.62 metres long and weigh 700kg. The submersibles can be tweaked to explore sites in different conditions and between them it’s hoped they’ll explore about 95% of the world’s oceans.
Undoubtedly, it’s pretty good natured of the Natural Environment Research Council to name a multi-million-pound piece of tech Boaty McBoatface and it shows that even scientists have a sense of humour.
So, if the adventures of Boaty the submersible have left you wanting voyages of your own, then why not seize the helm and plan your own quest into the unknown. And, just like the NERC, don’t let unforeseen events faze you – make sure you’re covered with appropriate travel insurance – just for those unpredictable Boaty McBoatface moments.