It's "a-boat" time Aucklanders got their shot at naming something.

Ports of Auckland is running a competition to name its new electric tugboat, so theoretically we could welcome our very own Boaty McBoatface.

Soon to be launched in the City of Sails, the electric tugboat is expected to save the company a whopping $12 million in operating costs.

To make the competition more appealing, someone will win a prize worth $1000 and a ride on the e-tug.


In 2017, more than 124,000 social media users voted to name a British Government polar research vessel Boaty McBoatface.

And although the name was rejected and the ship instead christened Sir David Attenborough, an unmanned submersible was given the name.

Boaty McBoatface made its maiden voyage in March 2017, exploring the depths of the Orkney Passage, a 3.5km deep region of the Southern Ocean.

The UK competition also led to a 50m crane in Dunedin to be named Reachie McClaw after a similar competition was run in the southern city.

Elsewhere, maritime staff in Sydney refused to work on a ferry which was named Ferry McFerryface, also in 2017.

Other infamous names include Sweden's Trainy McTrainface, and Horsey McHorseface, a Sydney racehorse.

Punters will have until 5pm on Wednesday, June 3, to select a name for Auckland's new e-tug.

The six-metre tug, designed and manufactured by Damen Shipyards in the Netherlands, will be delivered in 2021, Ports of Auckland revealed last year.


The Damen RSD-E Tug 2513 model will have a 70-tonne bollard pull - the same as the port's diesel tug boat Hauraki, also built by Damen.

Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson said the planned purchase was part of the company's plan to being zero-emission by 2040.

"We set this goal because we recognise that urgent action is needed on climate change, and we wanted to be part of the solution," Gibson said.

"However, setting that goal created a tough challenge. We have a lot of heavy equipment, like tugs, and in 2016 there were no zero-emission options."

Ports of Auckland began looking into the possibilities of buying an electric tugboat in 2016 - back then there was nothing on the market.

So, what will it be New Zealand?