how to rename change name of boat easy

How to change the name of your Narrowboat or Liveaboard houseboat and when and where to do it... 

When we started #PROJECTLIVEABOARD, we decided to learn about a new aspect of Narrowboats, boating, and living on the canal on a liveaboard houseboat every week or so. It keeps our saving mission on course, morale up and is a driving force in getting us where we need to be.

If you just started your journey to living on the water on a canal boat, you can see more of my tips for Newbie boaters looking to buy a Narrow boat by clicking here.

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This week we started to think about names for our dream liveaboard Narrow boat houseboat and although we may end up with the perfect match in size, layout and price wise, if it's called Todd or Arachnid there's going to be a name change going on...quick. Irreversible early childhood trauma on both of those.

So what do you do if you really hate the name of your new boat? Or maybe you just want to put your own stamp on her.

Well it's actually pretty straightforward and easy to do, there are just a few guidelines to follow... especially if you are superstitious like us. Don't judge... we lived in the creepiest, spookiest, and full-on other dimension cottage for 3 years and saw things there that I still have no rational explanation for.

So on a practical level, to change the name of your Narrowboat you need to do the following:

1. Pick a name ... probably the hardest part!

Things to help you out picking an awesome name could be thinking about your lifestyle, hobbies,  songs, favourite artists etc.

2. Inform the CRT (British Waterways) that you want a name change and give them the boats current name and registration details along with your new name and a small fee.

If your boat doesn't already have a licence when you buy her make it nice and clear when applying for your new licence that you want to change the name.

3. Don't forget to let your insurance company know!

But what if someone else has already named their boat with your perfect name?!

Boats are registered by British Waterways by number so picking a name already in circulation is no biggie, but if you live on the Thames, all boats are required to have unique names so you will be allocated a number to add on the end... eg: Kingfisher III or Polly Anna V.

See the most popular boat names at Jim Sheard by clicking here 

PHOTO CREDIT:  Martin Addison

Is it bad luck to change the name of your Narrowboat? 

It is an old superstition that you should only rename a boat when it is out of the water and not to do so will bring bad luck.

Many boat owners no longer adhere to this but after our creepy-ass cottage I think we will stick to an out of water change of name to be on the safe side.

The reasons behind this old wive's tale link back to long ago shipwrecks, curses and legends of generalised utter misery and woe following the change of a boat's name... which sounds a little far fetched in the 21st Century but for some interesting  discussion on this topic check out by clicking here.

There are some thought provoking issues raised such as the idea line that when you give something a name, you give it not only its own identity but also an energy of its own.

Bad luck name choices seem to be:

  • loved ones who are still in the land of the living
  • your wife or husband
  • your pets
  • basically anything you love that you want to stay lucky, healthy and happy
There are also some fabulously long-winded naming ceremony speeches for the 'christening' to be found online just to make sure those water gods stay happy. 

What have you named your Narrow boat or live-aboard houseboat? Are you superstitious? Do you like our new SFMGS graphics branding? Let me know in the comments below or by getting in touch on social media - see all my deets by clicking here

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