If you’re a fourth grader in Escambia or Santa Rosa Counties, now’s your chance to name your own ship.

The Gulf Islands National Seashore has announced a boat naming contest for the new 150 passenger ferry boats currently under construction for the new Pensacola Bay ferry service, scheduled to begin operation in 2017. The contest is open to all fourth graders in Escambia or Santa Rosa counties.

All students from the winning classes will be invited as special guests to the ribbon cutting ceremony in 2017, followed by a free ride on the ferry’s inaugural trip for themselves and up to three family members. The ferry boat naming contest is part of the National Park Service’s Every Kid in a Park initiative, which offers free annual national park passes to all fourth grade students.

“Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown challenges fourth grade classes to think of creative names that are relevant to the National Seashore’s natural and cultural resources, and encourages each class to submit two names for the competition,” said the National Park Service in a statement Friday.

Submittal forms and instructions are being sent to every fourth grade teacher in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

Proposed ferry route for the Pensacola Bay ferry service. (Special to The Pulse)

Proposed ferry route for the Pensacola Bay ferry service. (Special to The Pulse)

For inspiration, more information on Gulf Islands National Seashore can be found at

More information on the Every Kid in a Park initiative can be found at


April 18, 2016 – Entries due by 5:00 pm via email to

May 16, 2016 – winners announced

March 2017 – inaugural VIP ferry ride for students & families from winning classrooms

Submission Rules:

The Every Kid in a Park Program engages 4th graders, so only Fourth grade classes are eligible to submit entries to the contest. Fourth grade teachers may submit 2 names per classroom (one entry form).

Names must be relevant to Gulf Islands National Seashore natural or cultural resources.


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