While on a venue scouting trip in North and South Carolina, I found a curious set of names at Port City Marina in Wilmington. The US Coast Guard has strict naming rules that preclude the use of such terms as Mayday or Vessel in Distress. That’s because their names could be confused as conditions instead.
It was with that proviso that I found it curious that a retired couple would name their big cabin cruiser boat We Quit. It sounds charming, conjuring an image of two people throwing in the towel of the rat race to live on the water. But imagine the confusion if they had an emergency at sea.
“US Coast Guard, this is We Quit on Channel 16.”
“To the vessel calling, what is your emergency?
“Coast Guard, We Quit. We ran aground on rocks.”
“Well, do not quit. Do not give up.”
And so on, recalling Abbott and Costello in their famous skit, “Who’s on First.”
Nearby was another cabin cruiser with big type on the stern, Here We Go. The same confusion arises if they ask the Coast Guard whether to abandon their burning ship. “Here We Go…” “No wait, don’t jump.”
On the very next dock at Port City was a smaller cabin cruiser whose stern name was obliterated by tarp and tape. I asked why, and the fellow on board said it was for a name change. “We’re uncovering it tomorrow,” he said probably. I responded, “Hope you didn’t name it Sinking.”
Down in Charleston, some boats at the city dock have unconventional names. Battery Charger conjures an image of someone who only run the boat to keep the battery bank up to strength. More appropriately, it could convey a boat the attacks or at least approaches the old Battery at the foot of Charleston.
Independence is done with elegant type attached to the stern to look like raised letters. Knee Deep is just silly except when you consider that the six-foot tides at Charleston expose acres of mud next to the marina. A giant blue fender next to a sailboat suggests it may have been in one horrific bang-up at a dock in the distant past. Similarly, Marsh Mellow could refer to the many marshes of the Ashley River.
Other peculiar names include Cobalt Blue on a white hull, which makes no sense. Traveller is correctly spelled to convey the name of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s horse. Last Contract is self-explanatory. 102 is conveyed in type so large that you could tell it from afar, which is the idea for a J boat racer. My favorite is found at York River Yacht Haven. AfterMath suggests that two math teachers retired to go sailing. Imagine the a-ha moment when they settled on the name.
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Big boats at Port City Marina in Wilmington have peculiar names, some of which would confuse the Coast Guard in an emergency.
Capt. Bill O'Donovan
Williamsburg Charter Sails
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