It's a name that might suit a rubber ducky, not an extremely expensive state-of-the-art British research vessel designed to explore the coldest regions on Earth.

Nonetheless, the name "RRS Boaty McBoatface" may be given to a $375 million vessel because of a public preference for that moniker.

The name has emerged as a favourite since Britain's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) sought public input in naming the new vessel. The public is able to vote on the new name on social media and a website as part of an NERC campaign titled "#NameOurShip." The website crashed Sunday and is still down as of Monday morning. 

At the time of the site's crash, Boaty McBoatface was leading the pack, which includes more serious suggestions like the RRS Henry Worsley, named for an English explorer who passed away in January, and the RRS David Attenborough, named for the famous English nature broadcaster.

Other light-hearted suggestions were included in the top 10 as of Sunday, including the RRS It's bloody cold here, and the RRS Usain Boat, named for the popular Jamaican sprinter.

James Hand, a British resident who initially suggested the name, apologized about the name on Sunday via Twitter. 

His apology was quickly replied to by Julia Maddock, the acting associate director of communications for the NERC, who told him not to worry.

The NERC had asked the public to help come up with an "inspirational name" that reflects the ship's mission and celebrates Britain's long naval history.

Spokeswoman Alison Robinson said Monday the council is "pleased that people are embracing the idea in a spirit of fun."

The boat will be launched in three years as a significant advance to Britain's scientific fleet.

with files from the Associated Press