With the $5.6 million purchase last month of a third offshore service vessel (OSV) from a Louisiana firm, the Steamship Authority has another new ferry to name.

As with the M/V Aquinnah and the M/V Monomoy, which the boat line bought last September, the latest vessel — currently dubbed North Star — must be renamed within 30 days of the ownership change, which took place Dec. 27.

A contest to come up with new names for the first two vessels drew such a strong response — receiving more than 8,200 entries and 9,200 suggestions by the Sept. 5 deadline — that there are plenty of choices left over, general manager Robert Davis said.

“Since we have such a deep pool of names to select from, we felt we could go back to that well once again,” Mr. Davis told the boat line port council, during their first meeting of 2023 on Tuesday morning.

Reviewing a staff-curated short list of geographical names that were suggested, the port council narrowed their favorites to two: M/V Barnstable and M/V Fairhaven.

At the suggestion of Falmouth member Robert Munier, the council added M/V Wampanoag to the list. But naming a ferry for the Cape and Islands’ first inhabitants will depend on what their present-day descendants say to the idea.

“If we were to choose that name, we should be going to Aquinnah to speak to the [tribal] council,” said council chair Joe Sollitto, who represents Oak Bluffs.

“We’d have to also reach out to the Wampanoag Tribe of Mashpee,” said Mr. Davis, adding that the high-speed M/V Iyanough, which serves the Nantucket route, is named for a Wampanoag sachem.

The other names on the SSA short list are M/V Amity, M/V Cape Cod, M/V Cottage City, M/V Craigville, M/V Hyannisport, M/V New Bedford, M/V Sandy Neck, M/V Teaticket and M/V Tuckernuck.

No SSA port towns were included, to avoid confusing travelers — as sometimes happens in Woods Hole when the M/V Nantucket arrives for Vineyard-bound passengers who say “Well, we’re not going to Nantucket,” Mr. Davis told the council. “That’s why you don’t see the M/V Hyannis on the list.”

The port council also briefly discussed the concept of reusing vintage ferry names. But some of the classics are already in use by non-SSA vessels, Mr. Davis said.

“There’s a fishing boat on this region called Nobska... [and] there is actually a Coast Guard cutter called the Naushon,” Mr. Davis said.

As for M/V Sankaty — Nantucket council member Nathaniel Lowell’s favorite — the SSA already has one.

“We’d have to rename the Sankaty to name the North Star Sankaty,” Mr. Davis said.

The final choice rests with the boat line board of governors, who meet Jan. 25 to make their selection. The SSA then will submit the new name to the United States Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center, a national registry — dating from the first U.S. Congress of 1789 — with roots that go back to 17th-century British maritime law.

The SSA has bought all three boats from Covington, La.-based Hornbeck Offshore Services, which provides specialized transportation for the offshore energy industry in the Gulf of Mexico. Less than a decade and a half old, the OSVs were in service for only a handful of years before being mothballed, Hornbeck has told the SSA.

An option to buy a fourth, of the same model as the other three, remains open until March. Mr. Davis said the SSA will review its options once bids are in for the shipyard work that will be needed to convert the OSVs to freight ferries for the Vineyard and Nantucket routes.

Originally estimated at about $4 million to convert each vessel and about the same amount to recommission it, the prospective costs are rising along with the price of steel and now may be closer to $4.5 million or $5 million for each phase, Mr. Davis said.