Royal Research Ship
Boaty McBoatface will 'live on;' as a smaller vessel onboard RRS Sir David Attenborugh NERC

Following a hotly contested vote, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) have announced a £200m ($289) research vessel will be named RRS Sir David Attenborough, rather than the public's choice of Boaty McBoatface.

However, the organisation confirmed the latter name – which received more than 124,000 votes in the public poll – will "live on", as a remotely operated vehicle on board the 15,000-tonne research ship will be given the name.

The move will be seen as a compromise to the public's demands to name the state-of-the art vessel Boaty McBoatface following The Name Our Ship campaign, which was launched by NERC on 17 March. The NERC suggested the public come up with to reference a "local historical figure, movement, or landmark" or a "famous polar explorer or scientist".

The suggestion RRS Boaty McBoatface, was proposed by James Hand as a joke but ended up receiving nearly 90,000 more than the second place contender, RRS Poppy-Mai (named after a toddler with incurable cancer). In comparison, Sir David Attenborough received around 11,000 votes from the public.

The NERC made it clear the winner of the poll may not be the choice they used, and were "suggestions" only. After suggesting Boaty McBoatface may not be a suitable name, the naming of the vessel caused outrage in the UK and helped draw global interest.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have now confirmed they will go with the name RRS Sir David Attenborough in honour of the veteran naturist and broadcaster, just before his 90th birthday.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: "The public provided some truly inspirational and creative names, and while it was a difficult decision I'm delighted that our state-of-the-art polar research ship will be named after one of the nation's most cherished broadcasters and natural scientists.

"This vessel will carry the Attenborough name for decades to come, as it fulfils its mission to explore the oceans and put Britain at the forefront of efforts to preserve our precious marine environment.

"The ship has captured the imaginations of millions, which is why we're ensuring that the Boaty name lives on through the sub-sea vehicle that will support the research crew, and the polar science education programme that will bring their work to life."

Attenborough said: "I am truly honoured by this naming decision and hope that everyone who suggested a name will feel just as inspired to follow the ship's progress as it explores our polar regions. I have been privileged to explore the world's deepest oceans alongside amazing teams of researchers, and with this new polar research ship they will be able to go further and discover more than ever before.

The ship, currently being built in Merseyside, is due to set sail in 2019 and will provide the UK with the most "advanced floating research fleet in the world".