What's in a Name?

If you had a boat, what would you name it? Sorry, the "Happy Hooker" and the "Hope it Floats" are already taken. Over the past several weeks I've been serving as weighmaster at several South Texas fishing tournaments, and I've gotten a hearty chuckle from the nautical nomenclature adorning the sterns of an array of vessels, from bay boats, to shrimp trawlers and especially those expensive offshore yachts.

Strap on your flotation device and hang on tight for a "Wet and Wild" adventure. We'll have some "Reel Fun" uncovering the stories behind the names.

They seem to fall into several categories, including boats named for their financial drain, those that refer to their owner's professions, humorous appellations and many that conjure up images of fishing activity. There is a good deal of overlap.

Let's start with some from that first category. And who was it that coined the phrase? "A boat is a hole in the water that you pour money into."

Perhaps nothing sums up the financial distress that a boat owner endures better than the sound of a cash register, "Kaching! Kaching!" My brother Pete spied that catchy phrase prominently lettered on the stern of a vessel in Alaska.

Bob Farris of Harlingen has a great sense of humor and called one of his first boats, "Cash Flow, and later came up with the moniker "Floating Interest" before settling on "Fishin' Impossible." He now captains the "Mejor que Nada."

"Payment Due" needs no further explanation, nor does "N 2 Deep," or "No Mas Dinero."

Then there is "Coastal Due," "Wet Loan," "Easy Note," "Blue Note," "Miss Note," and "Big Blue Note." I also like the "Jolly Mortgage," or if it's a sail boat you are paying for there is "Borrowed Sloop."

Sail boats are often graced with names that evoke images of their primary mode of conveyance as in "Awesome Sheets," "Sails Call," "Just Sale," "Wind Ease," or if you are making easy monthlies, "Windy Loan."

The Murphy's from Port Isabel call their boat "Murphy's Law." That sums up the position many boat owners find themselves in, as what can go wrong will go wrong. So, in a similar vein of self deprecating humor they named their other boats the "Hard Bottom" and the "Hard Bottom Two."

I used to fish on a boat years ago owned by Billy Massey called "Mama's Mink," and somehow I think that it may have meant that the boat was perhaps purchased in lieu of a certain mother's mink stole.

Women of course do figure prominently in the nomenclature of vessels, and that brings us to the story of "Charlene's Ring." Years ago an avid fisherman was engaged to a nice girl named Charlene. Now, Charlene knew her beau had about $6,000 saved up in his bank account, and she had her eye on a beautiful diamond ring for just about that price. She even drug him over to look at it. Meanwhile, he had built an airboat out in his shed and was looking for an engine.

Lo and behold, the right deal came along, and guess where the $6,000 went?

His friends were appalled at his insensitivity, and he was told he better run for the hills. "Naw, it'll be okay, "he said. "I'll just name the boat "Charlene's Ring."

If you are in the South Padre Island environs, you might catch a glimpse of the "Miss Terious," or the "Miss Conduct." Then there is the "Otra Chica," which cold also fit in the financial drain category since running an offshore boat probably costs more than maintaing another woman.

The "Happy Hooker" is a catchy one, but I'm not sure whether to place it in the humor category or the professional niche.

The "High Cotton" is a perfect handle for a prominent farmer's yacht, and for a physician there's the "Dr. Feel Good." Defense attorney Tom Lockhart dubbed his boat the "Defense Rests," and there is rumored to be an obstetrician's dingy that goes by "Sea Section." If you are a stock broker, the "Margin Call" is quite appropriate.

If you have made your fortune in the oil field pipe business then "Pipe Dream" belongs on the stern of your luxurious offshore boat, but if you are a successful automobile dealer who sells a lot of Fords then you get "A Fordable Fantasy."

There was a lawyer who called his craft "At the Courthouse," so when he was out on the water his secretary could truthfully say, "Sorry, but Mr. So and So is at the courthouse."

The "Visitation" is the minister's boat. When bothersome parishioners come a knocking, the dutiful receptionist simply states, "The reverend is not in, he is on visitation."

During a recent tournament I met two youngsters Hunter and Fischer who cast their lines while aboard the "Fish Hunter." A skinny water boat was called "Shallow Minded" and one that specialized in speckled trout fishing carried the name "Spec Taker" while another bay boat went by "Sea N Spots."

The modern dot com era has issued in a whole new category of names that cater to fortunes made and expensive boats purchased in the computer age. "Weekend Dot Calm" reflects this exclusive cadre as does "Ideal Byte" and perhaps "Yacht Fund."

On a "Wave Vacation" at "Liquid Latitude" if you are an "Aqua Holic" you might seek "Tropical Pursuit" while you savor an "Ocean Brew" or have a few "Floating Drinks."

Shrimp trawlers are often adorned with fetching titles like Charles Burnell's "Blood and Guts." Or perhaps, the alluring "Old Dead Possum" is more to your liking.

"La Ultima Chanca" is a good one as everybody is entitled to one last chance. There is also the trio of "Little Bit," "Almost" and "Not Quite." Jimmy Russell's "Corazon Tramposo" just kind of tugs at your heart strings. I mean, after all, a shrimp boat named "Cheatin Heart."

I like the Spanish names. The "Fiesta" and the "Pachanga" are happy ones and then there is "Sea Esta," and "Buena Vida." If you are fortunate, you will have "Buena Suerte" on your "Gringo Honeymoon" if you don't go "Poco Loco."

The hope list is another niche that abounds with nautical pleas such as "Please Start," or "Hope it Floats," the ever popular "Just Bobbin," and "Staying Alive."

For the serious angler we offer the no frills "Shut Up and Fish," or "Fish On," the "Finatic," and "Gone Coastal." Then there is "Blue Obsession," "Goin Deep," and "Fishers of Men."

I saw another boat called the "Master Baiter," but I didn't inquire as to how they came up with that name.

There is no shortage of real boat names. For instance there is "Rock and Reel," the "Reel Easy," "Reel Salty," "Pump and Reel," and the "Reel Drag."

While we are in the realm of appellations that conjure up images of fishing activity, how about the "Gulf A Salt," or perhaps "Dawn Patrol." The "Bill Collector" and the "Loan Shark" are a couple of others, but maybe they too should appear in the professional group.

Should the "Tail Chaser" and the "Pretty Woman" be listed with the "Skinny Dipper?" I say, "Y Knot."

I was "Havana Dream" with a "Sunny Intention" when I got "Hooked Up", but I couldn't "Stay Focused" with my "Lucky Strike" and despite the desire for "More Exta Sea" I think I'll "Cat Cha Later."

I promise, I did not make any of this up. "Get Reel!"

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Copyright 2007 Richard Moore