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Story highlights

The joke spawned multiple copycats including "Trainy McTrainface" and "Horsey McHorseface"

The ship is the largest and most advanced British research vessel to date

(CNN) —  

The internet has spoken – and “RRS Boaty McBoatface” is the people’s choice to name a $300 million state-of-the-art polar research ship.

Over 7,000 names were submitted to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) poll which closed April 16, but “Boaty McBoatface” won easily with 124,109 votes.

It all began when the NERC invited the public to christen the 129-meter long icebreaker, the largest and most advanced British research vessel to date.

They asked for names that were inspirational, such as a historical figure or a landmark.

However, after former BBC presenter James Hand cheekily suggested the Boaty moniker it quickly became the crowd favorite over more traditional names like “RRS Henry Worsley” after the British explorer who died in January while attempting a solo, unaided mission across the Antarctic.

At one point, the site struggled under the number of users flocking to vote.

Surprised by the popularity, Hand offered an apology as the joke took on a life of its own.

It spawned countless silly riffs.

A UK train service from Portsmouth to Waterloo was briefly renamed “Trainy McTrainface” much to the amusement of its passengers.

A grocery store debuted a new type of Cheshire: “Cheesy McCheeseface”.

A British zoo pre-empted a similar internet takeover of the naming of its newest penguin chick and banned “Penguin McPenguinface” as an option.

Cruise company Royal Caribbean even invited Hand to name one of their vessels.

Racehorse named Horsey McHorseFace because “hey, why not?

The NERC, for its part, appears to have taken the publicity all in good fun.

There’s no guarantee that the NERC will follow through on the public’s choice of name but in any case, the state of the art vessel is due to set sail for Antarctica in 2019.