Hawaii is a land inextricably tied to the sea. Along with the other Polynesian lands, Hawaii has been linked to boating for as long as there have been people there. Of course, may of the early boaters there could cross the sea in something as simple as an outrigger canoe. Not that you need to be naming outrigger canoes, but the Hawaiian language words beautifully for any vessel.

For that reason, a Hawaiian name for a boat is absolutely perfect, especially for those who live in Hawaii or have Hawaiian ancestry. But anyone can appreciate the culture, the history and the language of this beautiful land and use it to help them come up with some great names for boats. 

Popular Hawaiian Boat Names

These names come from the Hawaiian language to give you something that sounds pleasant but also has a really profound meaning behind it. If you’re not sure how to pronounce a Hawaiian boat name, Google is pretty good about being able to help out with things like that. 

  • Lua makani (Second Wind)
  • Kaikamahine moku (Island Girl)
  • Manawa moku (Island Time)
  • Hao’ola (Joyful) 
  • Holo Nalu (wave rider)
  • Lele Kawa (Waters of Joy) 
  • Mahina Polū (Blue Moon)
  • Moi Moana (Ocean King)
  • Kai Lani (Heavenly Sea)
  • Kaikamahine kai (Sea Princess)
  • Kaiona (Victorious Sea)  
  • ʻUhane Kai (Sea Spirit)
  • Manu Ihu (Bird of the Waves) 
  • Keokeo Nui (Great White)
  • Kīholo (The Spirited Sea) 
  • Ka hopena (Destiny)
  • Waiola (Refreshing Waters) 
  • Kuokoa (Liberty or Freedom)
  • Honokowai (Very Blue Water) 
  • Aloha (Hello, Grace and many other things)
  • Kālepa (The Swift One) 
  • Kamahaʻo (Wondrous)  
  • Hoomanawanui (Perseverance)
  • Nalu o ka Maka (The Wave of the Eye) 
  • Puaʻala (Heavenly Flower)  
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  • Holo Rama (Rum Runner)
  • Uluwehi (Beautiful Garden)  
  • Kuʻuipo (My Sweetheart) 
  • Ka maluhia (Serenity)
  • Lehua I Ka Moana (Coral Flower of the Sea) 
  • Makemake auwana (wanderlust)
  • Pōmaikaʻi (Blessing) 
  • ʻAi ʻino (Storm Bringer)
  • Kilohana (Gifted)  
  • Holoi ino (Storm Rider)
  • Mōlī (Gentle Breeze) 
  • Momi ʻeleʻele (Black Pearl) 
  • Wahine Ka ʻOno (The Beautiful Woman) 
  • ʻEha ʻino (Storm Chaser)
  • Kaimakea (Glorious One) 
  • Mōʻī Heʻenalu (Surf King)
  • Wai Nani (Beautiful Waters) 
  • Ka Piʻi ʻana (Rising Tide)
  • Na Mamo O Ke Kai (The Treasures of the Sea)  
  • Kai eʻe (Tsunami)
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  • Holo Kaʻa (Voyaging Canoe) 
  • Ka mahina kala (Silver Moon)
  • Hoʻomanaʻo (Remembrance)  
  • Kanaka alahele (Wayfarer)
  • Nā Hōkū (The Stars) 
  • Moku powa (Pirate Ship)
  • Ka ʻAuiki (My Journey) 
  • Hele me ke kahe (Go With the Flow)
  • Maka Wai Ola (Source of Life)  
  • Hiki ole ke poho (Unsinkable)
  • Kikoa (Brave One)  
  • Poʻo hāmare (Hammerhead)
  • Koa Pauko (Strong Waves Breaking Apart)  
  • Uliuli uliuli (Blue Green)
  • ʻIke Kūkākūkā (Explore Deeply) 
  • Ka hohonu (The Abyss)
  • Ua Nui Ka Mamala (The Great Wave) 
  • Wai paʻakai (Salt Water)
  • Hōkū Nui (Great Star)  
  • Heʻenalu one one (Sun Sand Surf)
  • Hele Kāua (Let’s Go Together)  
  • Wahine o ka Wai (Lady of the Water)
  • Wahine Kai (Sea Woman)
  • Hōkū Lei (Crown of Flowers)  
  • Pua li’ili’i (Little flower)
  • Maikaʻi (Splendid)
  • Lele Aʻo Mālie (Soaring on Tranquil Winds)  
  • Niuhi Kana (Shark of the Sea)  
  • Hau’oli Honu (Happy Turtle)
  • Mano Ka Moana (Shark of the Ocean) 
  • Kupaʻāina (The Homeland)  
  • Kai Pau ole (Endless Sea)
  • Kukui Hoku (Starlight)

Hawaiian Mythological Figures as Boat Names

Native Hawaiian’s have a very rich and exciting history that includes a lot of powerful imagery in their mythology. Sadly, most people outside of Hawaii only have the barest familiarity with the myths and legends, and perhaps only know figures like Pele. But there are many more and any of them could be great inspiration for a boat name. Let’s take a look at some of their culture’s most interesting figures.

  • Pele – definitely the most famous figure, she is a goddess of fire and volcanoes. A powerful name for any boat
  • Paka’a – this is the goddess of wind and would certainly make for a solid name for a sailboat.She also guards the underworld.
  • Kanehekili – this is Pele’s brother and the god of thunder
  • Hina – this is the goddess of the moon
  • Kaha’i – this is a demigod, meaning part human, and is associated with both thunder and lightning
  • Kamohoaliʻi – few gods from any pantheon offer up a cooler subject for naming a boat than Kamohoaliʻi, the god of sharks.
  • Ukupanipo – this is another shark god who can aid fishermen or ruin their trip by controlling how many fish they catch.
  • Kanaloa – this is a powerful god who appears as a squid or octopus and is very strongly associated with sailing and the sea.
  • Kupua – these are mythological creatures or beings in Hawaiian
  • – one of the most powerful gods of all, Kū was the god of war 
  • Maui – not just a place in Hawaii but, if you saw the movie Moana, you know he was a god as well, and a shapeshifter.
  • Nāmaka – she is Pele’s sister and a goddess of the sea.
  • Nu’u’s Ark – Nu’u was a Noah-like figure in Hawaiian mythology who built an ark to escape a great flood.
  • Menehune – not a god but a race of little people like dwarves of elves who were said to live deep in the woods and hide from humans.
  • Lono – One of the most powerful gods, Lono descended to earth on a rainbow. Lono has also been associated with Captain Cook and some even believed Cook was the living incarnation of Lono.
  • Papa – this is the goddess of the sky and is a good name to use in all kinds of ways since it has meaning in English as well.
  • Paliuli – this roughly equates to Paradise and you could consider it the Hawaiian equivalent to the Garden of Eden
  • The Green Lady – this is a folklore figure said to be a woman who lost a child and still returns every day to try to find them. Though she is a sad figure there is also a warning that she may take any child she finds.

For any of the above names I’d recommend adding a little something. A word or term to make it more your own, especially when it comes to the names of the gods. Like Pele’s Drift or Papa-Toon or something of that nature.

Plants and Animals of Hawaii 

Hawaii is home to some amazing wildlife and most of it has adapted to life in or near the sea, as you’d expect. Because of the rich and diverse life, many of these creatures would make for great boat names either in English or in Hawaiian.

  • Nai’a (dolphin)
  • Nene (this is a species of Hawaiian goose)
  • Ilio holo I ka uaua (this is the Hawaiian term for seals and it literally means “dog that runs in rough water)
  • The Chameleon (Jackson’s chameleon can be found in Hawaii. The word “kameleona” is how you would say it in Hawaiian.)
  • The Honeycreeper (This is a strange sounding but kind of cool and unique name, Honeycreeper is a kind of small bird)
  • Honu kai (This means sea turtle and green sea turtles are found around Hawaii)
  • Manakuke ( Mongoose)
  • Kukuna pale (Manta Ray)
  • Niuhi (Tiger shark, which could be a solid name for a fishing boat)
  • Iʻa hoʻokalakupua (Triggerfish)
  • Humuhumunukunukuapua`a (this is another name specifically for the Hawaiian Triggerfish. It’s a little long but this is also the official fish of Hawaii)
  • Kamehameha Butterfly (This is a species of butterfly names after Kamehameha I, the first ruler of Hawaii)
  • Pololia (this is the Hawaiian word for jellyfish. Box jellyfish are common in Hawaiian waters)
  • Mahi-Mahi (arguably the most famous fish to be associated with Hawaii)
  • Pueo (this is the word for the hawkmoth which is a sacred creature in Hawaiian mythology and sometimes considered a protector of the islands)
  • ‘Io (this is the word for hawk and there are several species found in Hawaii.
  • Kohola (this means whale and is often used to refer specifically to the humpback whale, the official state animal of Hawaii)
  • ‘Ohi’a lehua (this is a kind of flowering evergreen tree found in Hawaii)
  • Naupaka (this is the most common plant you’ll find on beaches in Hawaii. It forms yellow-white flowers)
  • Hinahina (this is a species of Hawaiian silversword. It’s a very rare plant)
  • Orchid (there are numerous orchid species in Hawaii but the word lends itself nicely to any number of potential boat names such as “ocean orchid”, “orchid breeze” and so on.
  • Pua Kala (also called Smooth Pricklypoppy, Hawaiian Poppy, and Hawaiian Prickly, these plants can grow giant, white flowers)
  • Hapu’u (this is a giant species of fern that can get to over 20 feet tall)
  • Kou (one of Hawaii’s most beautiful flowering plants, these can grow as high as 30 feet and are covered in bright orange blossoms)
  • Ma’o Hau Hele (this is Hawaii’s official state flower and produces large, yellow flowers.)

Places in Hawaii To Use as Boat Names

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Hawaiian names are beautiful and lyrical and really work well for any number of vessels from sailboats to speed boats to yachts. Afterall, who can hear the word Kahuna and not think “The Big Kahuna” would be a great name for a vessel? That said, place names are a great choice as well, and they have a ring of familiarity to them. Let’s take a look at a few ideas.

  • O’ahu Dream
  • Maui Wowie
  • Honolulu Cruiser
  • Molokai Corsair
  • Kauai Cat (for a catamaran)
  • Lanai Drift
  • Cruisin’ Waikiki
  • Waipio (literally means curved water but is also a place called Valley of the Kingsl)
  • Iao (this is a valley with remarkably rock formations in Maui. The name translates to “cloud supreme”)
  • Puu Pehe (another rock formation, this time offshore near Lanai. Sometimes called Sweetheart Rock, the name literally means “owl trap hill”)
  • Polihale (this is a beach whose name translates roughly to “source of life.)
  • Waialeale (the name for an extinct volcano and mountain, which means “rippling or overflowing water.”)
  • Wai Momi (this is Pearl Harbor and the name translates to “waters of pearl.”)
  • Halawa (This is a coastal valley on Molokai. The name means “curved.”)
  • Kīlauea (the most famous volcano in Hawaii. The name means “spewing.”)
  • Mauna Loa (another active volcano, the name means “long mountain.”)
  • Hualālai (the name of this volcano means to sparkle or to shine.)
  • Mauna Kea (as we just saw, mauna means mountain. Mauna Kea means “white mountain.”
  • Kama’ehuakanaloa (this volcano is located under the water and its name means “Child of the Ocean” which is arguably one of the best names for a boat)
  • Haleakalā (located on Maui, this volcano’s name means “House of the Sun)

The Bottom Line

There’s no denying Hawaii is a land of beauty from the plants and animals, the beaches, the sea and everything in between including Hawaiian culture. The language of the native Hawaiians is not only lyrical and exotic, it also holds a lot of nuance and charm. Because the ocean is such an important part of the lives of Hawaiians and always has been, it’s the perfect choice for coming up with a name for a boat.

Whether you want to simply translate a meaningful word or term into Hawaiian, or chose a place or aspect of Hawaii that appeals to you, the language is perfect for bringing that to life. Remember, if you’re ever unsure on pronunciations, you can probably find resources online to help you out and Google itself has a great translation feature that can even pronounce words for you in some cases.