Where Do Maine Lobster Boats Get Their Names?
Do you ever wonder why some lobster boat names sound so pretty such as Shannon Lee and others get comical names such as Money Pit?
According to Christine LeMieux Oragano, the author of How To Catch a Lobster in Downeast Maine, who comes from a lobstering family in Cutler, Maine, “roughly 60 percent of Downeast lobster boats have a female name. Further research, via surveys, showed that most often a lobsterman names his boat after his wife.”
That’s no surprise given that feminine names have applied to vessels for centuries. By and large, the female names almost always have a personal connection to the lobsterman and his family. In the comment section to Oragano’s original article, one poster named Beth wrote “My husband's boat is (named) Beth Said Yes - because I finally agreed it was time for a new boat!”
While the tradition of naming boats after a wife or a daughter seems to linger, one Down East magazine article claims that the trend is starting to turn.
Linguist Michael Erard consulted both the National Marine Fisheries Service and the organizer of the Maine Lobster Boat Races who is also a maritime historian and found in his unique research that of the 1,300 boats that had registered for the race since 1999, female names made up fewer than half. He discovered quite a few categories including nautical (Isle of Sky), sardonically financial (Desperate Measure), tough-guy names (Hooligan), variations on a theme (Sea Bass, Sea Dancer), native-wit (Keepah), self-deprecating jokey names (Clam Killer) and clever puns (What The Haul), among many others.
Q106.5 decided to come up with their own list of the best lobster boat names in 2018 this past summer. Here they are, in order of popularity:
- The Other Woman
- Family Tradition
- Buffalo Soldier
Let’s see, that’s two “questionable” names, one native-wit, one traditional, one ode to Maine’s area code and one aficionado of Bob Marley (referencing either the Maine comedian or the famous Jamaican singer’s hit song).
What are some lobster boats names you’ve seen that will always stick with you?
For more fun facts and lobster lore from the Maine Lobster Festival, visit www.mainelobsterfestival.com.