Eco Boat: Green solar-recharged boat

tamarack-lake-boat-loonThe Loon, built near Orillia, Ont., on the shore of Lake Simcoe, makes emissions-free electric boating a viable option.

Solar boating is a little like sailing, since the wind that powers sailboats is also a result of the sun. But solar-assisted electric boats offer the advantages of being able to travel in zero wind, and can go directly into the wind without tacking.

The Loon pontoon boat is “solar-assisted” because it has a built-in battery charger that allows users to augment the solar energy input with electricity from the utility grid, usually from shore power available at marinas or dockside. Electric boats, unlike gas-powered boats, eliminate the discharge of hydrocarbons into waterways. Such pollution is dangerous to most things on which fish feed.

The advantages of an electric powered boat are many. An electric boat is quiet, environmentally sound, it encourages conversation and provides a smooth relaxing environment. In most cases the slap of the water against the hull is the prevalent sound. The absence of other appreciable sound is surprising to most people. Sailors especially appreciate the quiet motion of the electric motor propelled boat. Electric boats are also less expensive to operate and maintain in many cases.

As gas and diesel prices continue to rise and there is a greater appreciation for green living, I see exciting times ahead for electric boating.


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