5 Reasons to Consider an Electric Pontoon, Fishing Boat or Waverunner
The only predictable thing is change. What worked in the 1970s may not work so well in the 2030s. They used to have a word for that. Oh yeah, progress. Our grandchildren may be fascinated by our stories of pumping a clear, smelly, flammable liquid into our boats to make them go. "Why not just plug them in, Papa?" Well, gas was plentiful and it was relatively cheap. But it was a pain in the outboard to maintain over time.
I don't have a lock on the future, but I'm a big fan of electric tools (Ego and STIHL) and I drive an electric car (Tesla Model 3 Performance) so yeah, I guess I'm already drinking the Kool-Aid. At some point battery innovations will show up in the boating industry. Wait, it's already happening!
And yes, going electric is still more expensive than gas-powered, no question, but prices are coming down and options are increasing. It may still be early for most people to make the jump to battery-operated boating, but early adopters are already taking advantage of plug-and-play boating. The battery-powered pontoon above is made by Pure Watercraft in Seattle, and it has 40 miles of range on a single battery charge.
An electric fishing boat? Why not. Here's a nice option from TwinTroller that might make the fish nervous. So why consider charging up a battery every night? ACEL Power has a list of advantages, including:
Although electric boat motors can cost more upfront than conventional gas-powered engines, they are frequently more economical in the long run. Electric motors can be recharged using renewable energy sources like solar or wind power and have lower operating costs and maintenance requirements. (This has been my experience driving an electric car: a little more money up-front, but there is a real ROI, a return on investment, with far less maintenance than a gas-powered vehicle).
Boat Trader has a good post focused on the 10 Best Electric Boats of 2023 you may want to check out.
2). Efficient Performance
Electric motors can provide quick acceleration and better overall performance because they have instant torque. This is crucial for watersports because you must be able to accelerate and decelerate rapidly and smoothly. (I can't tell you the number of times my old 1995 gas-powered pontoon hasn't started up over the years. Nothing is absolutely foolproof, but electric-power has fewer parts, less hardware that break down over time).
I still have a 2006 waverunner (Sea-Doo) and 2 gas-powered boats (Malibu ski boat and a Chris Craft) but I'm getting itchy for new options that are easier and less expensive to maintain, with a lower hassle factor.
The Orca Performance Waverunner (above) is spendy (just under 20K) but it can go for 2 hours and reach a top speed of 60 mph. If you like going fast on the water.
3). Quiet Operation
The ability to operate quietly is another great benefit of electric boat motors. The noise pollution and disturbance to other boaters and marine life are important to keep to a minimum when participating in watersports. (I do like the idea of stealth mode and operating quietly on my favorite lakes).
4). Reduced Environmental Impact
The fact that electric boat motors are significantly more environmentally friendly than conventional gas-powered engines is one of their biggest advantages. Electric motors are much better for the air and water quality because they don’t emit any harmful gases or pollutants.
If you are concerned about climate change, water pollution and sustainability, an electric or solar-charged watercraft is putting your money where your mouth is. Prices will continue to come down, range will increase as batteries get bigger and better, and options will increase over time.
5). Take Advantage of Free Solar Power
I have a ShoreStation lift powered by (free) sunshine. No AC power to the dock. The sun is out most of the summer and I always have enough charge to raise and lower my boat. Why not take advantage of all that free solar power to charge your boat too?
At some point the numbers might make sense. I'm keeping an open mind and marveling at all the new options.
The future is going to be pretty amazing!