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Boating is Booming Business in Minnesota

Some boat owners believe changing a vessel's original name will bring them bad luck on open waters. (hyperreal.org)
Some boat owners believe changing a vessel's original name will bring them bad luck on open waters. (hyperreal.org)
May 25, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Memorial Day weekend is the start of boating season in Minnesota. The state ranks in the top five nationally for boat-related spending, topping $800 million dollars last year.

But what are people naming all these new boats? The Boat Owners Association of the United States – or BoatUS – has been keeping track of the most common names skippers choose for their boats for more than 25 years.

Scott Croft, BoatUS vice-president of public affairs, says for the first time, "Grace" tops this year's list. But many you'll see this Memorial Day weekend are common favorites.

"A lot of the names are perennial favorites; some of the names on this list go – continue with us, and go way back,” says Croft. “Freedom, 'Seas' the Day, Second Wind, Serenity – they're just names that are universal."

BoatUS compiles the list based on the names people order through the group's online boat graphics and lettering services. The names voted most humorous include "Shenanigans," "Penny Pincher," and "Ship Happens."

But as an economic force, boating is nothing to joke about – according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, it supports almost 43,000 jobs in the state.

You might not be surprised to hear that "Rum Runner" commonly makes the top 10 list of boat names. But Croft says "Therapy" is also a regular front-runner.

"Getting on a boat where you can escape from the everyday grind, the pressures of your job,” says Croft. “So, maybe there is some kind of therapy that takes place."

Croft says "Freedom" and "Patriot" shot to the top of the list after 9-11. He adds many boat owners are reluctant to change a boat's name because of age-old superstitions that doing so will bring bad luck.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - MN