The First Thing

What’s the First Thing?

The first thing anyone asks you if you mention you are buying a boat is; ‘What’s it called?’ – Our narrowboat has a name but we want to change it. There’s a particular reason for this and that is because its current name doesn’t mean anything! I searched and searched and after false starts, whereby Google tried to be helpful, changed my search criteria but I didn’t notice, so I spent hours following meanings down rabbit holes that were nothing to do with the actual name! When I actually corrected this and put in the name – nothing! Well, that’s not strictly true, it did come up with a brass band that won some competition or other, in 1960-something however, this had no meaning for us.

Don’t Change the Name

There is a lot of discussion around changing a boat’s name, believe me (1, 2, 3, 4) There are two camps; the ‘Don’t do it!’ camp or ‘vehement opposition to superstition and do it’ camp. There’s a ceremony that can be performed to ensure no bad luck befalls the re-namer and his or her boat – for ‘bad luck’ read ‘boat sinks’. As I understand it, you are basically keeping on the good side of Poseidon who keeps a record of all boats in some ledger, that kind of thing. Now I’m not a superstitious person but… And the ceremony involves alcohol so it can’t be all bad 😉

So, what are we going to call it?

There’s been debate. There’s been a lot of debate. We started out, I assume like most people setting forth on this kind of venture

“We’ll name it after a water bird. We’ll name it after a plant. We’ll name it after an aquatic insect”

All very good, fitting and likable. Until you find out that hundreds of other boats had done just that. There seems to me that you have to have some semblance of uniqueness. So, we started to find ever more obscure names, references to old things we liked and eventually were grabbing at tenuous links that basically didn’t hold water. There have been ‘We’re calling it this’ 24 hour periods, followed closely by ‘Err, maybe not’ moments. Other people like to get in on the act as well which brings in a whole new dimension. Answering the first thing people are going to ask isn’t easy. Here is a summary of the naming list we went through


  • Daisy
  • Lilly Pad
  • Little Wren
  • Dandelion
  • Bramble
  • Blue Bell
  • Marsh Marigold (least common)

(All too commonly used)

Popular Culture

  • Gandalf (one of my favorite contenders)
  • Rivendell
  • Lothlorien
  • Galadriel
  • Last Hope
  • Only Hope (sounded too desperate)
  • That’s No Moon!
  • Spirit Walker (The Cult)
  • Nostromo (we both loved this)
  • Not a Number (contender)


  • Alimentary (canal)
  • Wide Berth
  • It’s a Floater
  • Motor Pike (inspired)
  • Stoat Boat
  • Weasel Warrior
  • Down the Hatch (bound to have been used)


  • Diesel Easel
  • Without a Paddle
  • Low and Behold

Narrowing it down

  • Inner Space
  • In Search of Space (almost had this – after Hawkwind)
  • Godspeed
  • Gandalf (oh, have I already said this one?)
  • Close to the Edge (Yes?)

And finally

  • Out of the Blue

Decisions, Decisions

We decided upon ‘Out Of The Blue’ only to have it scuppered by seeing a narrowboat called just that in a drive past on a video on YouTube, the very next day. So, back to the drawing board.

Luckily, the drawing board was still up, covered in scribbles and doodles and a name that we had both liked all along, bubbled to the surface again: ‘In Search Of Space’. A quick search across the Internet showed there weren’t 643 other narrowboats named he same and a pact was made; It is going to be called In Search Of Space? But it isn’t.

No, we’ve fallen back into ‘Out Of The Blue’. It just feels like ‘Out Of The Blue’. Sometimes you just can’t be that unique (sorry to anyone else who has called their boat this. We hope you’ll understand).

The reason?

It’s a blue narrowboat, people will see it coming ‘out of the blue’ of the water and that Roxy Music track is just sublime but mainly, it’s just that the idea came ‘Out of the Blue’ and we are following it to its conclusion. We now have an answer to the first thing people are going to ask.

Roxy Music | Country Life | Track 4: Out of the Blue | (Ferry, Phil Manzanera)


Reflections image


This was a question post, one of the several ‘big topic’ questions that get asked of all narrowboaters – see here for another.

rp – peace and narrowboats

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