Going Green

The latest news on eco-friendly boating on the waterways.

Welcome to this week’s round-up of news from the world of green boating on the waterways.

Narrowboats: Ortomarine has announced its intention to only build boats with some form of electric propulsion. The Worcestershire-based company has developed its range of boats over the last few years and, having now built some 30 boats, the company has now changed its branding to reflect this more environmentally friendly approach to boat building (as shown above). All of their boats are now supplied with the companies own power control system, Ortomate, to simplify the monitoring and control of these sometimes complex systems. 

Outboards: Although the use of outboards on the waterways is limited there are a number of boats that do use them and, due to their size, they are by far the easiest engine to replace. So it was interesting to see that Torqeedo, the German company that develops and manufactures electric and hybrid drives for recreational use, has launched a new product called the Travel 603 outboard.

This new motor is the latest addition to their line-up of portable electric outboards and can be seen in this video. The two-horsepower-equivalent, direct-drive, short shaft motor is, according to Torqeedo, the lightest in its power class, weighing 15.5 kg (34 lbs) complete, including battery. The electric drive is designed for small racing sailboats, tenders, light freshwater fishing boats, and canoes up to one ton.

Social prescribing: Although not normally a subject associated with electric propulsion but one more closely associated with greener boating, is that of social prescribing. CRT, this week, announced that people in Nottingham could be prescribed an afternoon of paddleboarding, wellbeing walking, or canal-side gardening. The project is a partnership between Canal & River Trust, Nottingham Community & Voluntary Service, Notts County Foundation, Canalside Heritage Centre, Nottingham Photographers Hub, and local foodbank Himmah.

Green technology: Plymouth Live has reported that MDL Marina’s are planning to host a boat show that highlights the latest in eco-friendly technology. The Green Tech Boat Show is to be held at the Queen Anne’s Battery between the 19th and 20th June and is said to be the first of its kind. 

Black Pearl: Seems the eco-friendly message has reached almost all sectors of the boating community with the locally familiar Black Pearl to vanish from the River Severn, reports the Shropshire Star. The boat, which has been a regular feature at the Shrewsbury River Festivals for some years, will be seen no longer as the company that owns it has signed up to the Shropshire Climate Action Partnership, the aim of which is to reach net-zero by 2030.

Old Nick: Having already mentioned Ortomarine it would be wrong not to mention another of the boats built by the company, namely Old Nick. The boat, which sports some impressive specifications, has been reviewed by myself, for Towpath Talk, and by Plugboats via Vetus, who supplied much of the equipment on board. 

Solar Power: Scientists in California have come up with an idea to put solar panels over their waterways! The idea would help to stop evaporation while helping to produce a huge amount of electrical energy. The idea was publicised in Wired and is guaranteed not to happen here in the UK! 


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