Greener Options for Recreational Boating

| 11/20/2014 8:47:00 AM

Twin Vee

Whether you live or travel on the coast, next to a lake or along a river, we often find ourselves setting foot on a boat. For many fishing enthusiasts, a boat is as necessary as the bait and tackle. The same is true for aquatic adventure seekers, whether diving or snorkeling. For me, there’s nothing more enthralling than gliding over the waters in a sailboat, spinnaker raised.

On a recent trip into the Miami area when working on a three-part ecotourism blog, I had a chance to attend the Miami International Boat Show, to learn about some of the ways the boating industry is greening itself, from new all-electric touring boats to propane-powered engines. While numerous issues remain related to fuel use and construction materials for what most people view as luxury items, the fact remains that many of us do, in fact, like to get out on the water. And sometimes a kayak, canoe or surfboard won’t do the trick. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, 88 million Americans participated in boating in 2012, with 12.1 million boats registered in the US.

So, when self-propelled boats or boards are not an option, here are few of the boating choices and technologies along the continuum of sustainability.

Solar-Powered Touring Boat

There’s no noise and no pollution with the 22-foot Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company’s Loon, a pontoon cruising boat that’s propelled by a 4 kW motor drawing juice from an on-board battery bank. Accommodating up to 10 passengers, the roof canopy sports a .7 kW PV array. As the world’s first solar assisted pontoon boat, it’s ideal for boaters who like to troll inland waterways, lakes and calmer waters. It’s for those who don’t want to have the equivalent of “two sticks of dynamite” on board, as Tamarack Lake President Monte Gisborne likes to say, referring to the engine and fuel on most boats.

Twin Vee Catamarans

If you have a need for speed and getting out on the open waters of an ocean, the Twin Vee twin engine catamarans are among the most fuel-efficient options. Because the boat hydrofoils, the Twin Vees use about half the fuel of any other boat in size and price range, says to Roger Dunshee during our test ride. The catamaran design reduces drag in the water, making it more efficient that other boats. This durable and highly stable boat is well suited to the open waters, whether to hook your fish dinner, dive to spearfish the exotic and problematic Lionfish that are decimating reef fish populations, or go on a snorkeling expedition.

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