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A name so fun it floats!
How do you pick a good name for a boat? Often, it's personal.
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One of the many fun boat names at Gainesville Marina. - photo by Tom Reed
Your dream boat cost thousands of dollars and you want to come up with a clever name that perfectly reflects your personality - and the boat's.

How exactly do you do that? Well, just ask some boat owners on Lake Lanier.

"Usually it's something about their occupation," said Tom Murray, boat owner and owner of FASTSIGNS in Gainesville. "A friend of mine is a banker and the name of his boat is Prime Interest ... they come away with something of what they do in life and what identifies them, and then they do a play on words, I would say 75 percent of the time."

Murray, who keeps his houseboat Simple Pleasures at the Golden View dock at Aqualand Marina, also said another friend of his who is a Realtor named his boat Reel Estate.

"Ours is pretty basic, it was Chasing Sunshine," Murray said. "Because that's my wife's name and I was chasing her for a long time before I got her. She was tired of her name being on the boat, she wanted something different. The people next to us have ‘School's Out' but they are teachers.

"I have a boat and I see a lot of names, like this one couple ... they changed it to Wild Life Refuge. I thought that was pretty clever and it fits them perfectly."

Tim Grizzle, a boat owner who lives in Duluth but docks his boat at Gainesville Marina, is another person who came up with his boat name from his occupation.

“Mine would be real interesting,” Murray said, laughing. “My occupation is CPA, a certified public accountant, so I named my boat the Sea PA.

Grizzle has a Carver 36 Mariner, but he has it up for sale.

“I’m going boatless,” Grizzle said. “It’s a nice ride and I have not been able to get up there much this year.

This is my third boat; this is the first one I actually put a name on. I started with a small boat, then got a bigger boat, then I got a bigger boat.”

Philip Burton, general manager and president of Gainesville Marina, said there is a legitimate reason why larger boats have names.

“Some of the larger boats, they are having to get them federally documented so they already have to put some identification on the hull ... and part of that process is naming the boat,” Burton said. “On some of your larger boats that is sort of a given now, and on the smaller boats not necessarily so. So yes, on Coast Guard documented boats they generally have a name and a port of call.”

Burton added that he’s seen many interesting names over his years as a boat owner — although he has not named his boat.

“It could be everything from ... Break Out Another Thousand to Hocus Pocus to Genie III,” he said.
Other boat names that can be spotted around Gainesville Marina are No Jacket Required from Alpharetta, Put Me in Coach, which has a ball cap and a Superman graphic on the design, and Key Lime Pie and Medicinal Purposes from Toccoa.

Now, once you have come up with the clever name for your boat, how do you affix the lettering? Many local sign companies can do this for you and pretty quickly.

“It’s just a vinyl sticker that we put on there,” said Shanna Smith, a graphic designer with Northeast Georgia Signs in Habersham County. “Usually we give them a type style book and they pick out what they want.”

Murray added that boat names used to be painted on the boat, but now vinyl lettering is standard.

“We’ll print the words on vinyl and transfer it on there,” he said. “Most of the time they (the designs) are not too complex and we’ll do it, I would say 90 percent of the time, we’ll do it for them, right in front of them.”

Sometimes graphics are added to the boat name, but Murray said most of the time “it’s just simple text, just a couple words.”

So within just a few minutes customers can leave and add their personalized boat name to their water craft.
Although, Murray added that he does have a pet peeve about some boat lettering.

“One thing that I am always sad (about) is people buy an expensive boat ... and then they will go down to Home Depot or something and get those numbers, registration numbers,” he said. “The big square things and it’s always sad to me because it looks tacky. A lot of people don’t realize they can get their registration numbers at a sign shop and it’s usually cheaper.”

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