The most popular name among boat owners in the U.S. is Aquaholic, according to a survey by BoatUS, the Boat Owners Association of the United States. The name has been in the top-ten list for five consecutive years. The rest of the list: Second Wind, Reel Time, Hakuna Matata ("no worries," no doubt inspired by the Disney musical The Lion King), Happy Hours, Not Working, Life Is Good, Plan B, Second Chance, and Pura Vida. That last name literally means "pure life" in Spanish, but it's more idiomatic than that: in Central America it's used as an all-purpose greeting and, when properly inflected, as the equivalent of "that's cool."
The only boat I've ever owned--and am ever likely to own--is a battered, deltoid-powered plastic kayak that I use to pilot swimmers in San Francisco Bay. I named it Nixie, from nix, a mythological German water sprite. But the boat name I envy belongs to one of my kayak-pilot buddies: Shut Up and Swim.
Matthew Stibbe, an amateur pilot and copywriter who blogs at Bad Language, tells us that Florida air-taxi company DayJet has renamed its pilots "flight service professionals." And he asks: Why are plane names so boring?
Back on terra firma, AOL Autos asked professional namers--including a former colleague of mine, George Frazier-- about trends in auto naming:
"If a 50-year-old guy goes out and buys an Xterra, he hopes that his wife doesn't get on him about it," [Frazier] says. "But he secretly considers himself edgy and a little bit dangerous." Frazier speculates that it's no accident that carmakers especially like to use the letters S, E or X in various combinations.
My favorite part of the AOL story is the opening anecdote about the Ford Thunderbird. Back in 1954, car designer Alden Giberson won a contest to name the new sports car. His prize: a $95 suit and a $42 pair of trousers. Today, a car name is likely to cost an automaker about $50,000.
(Hat tip to Nancy R. Callahan of Nancy's Baby Names, who occasionally ventures outside the nursery to report on other interesting trends in naming.)