Boating is one hobby that has a high degree of connection to the environment. Those who like to be out on the open water are keenly aware of the importance of keeping that water clean and safe.
So it’s a natural fit for boat builders to do what they can to make their products as eco-friendly as possible. And they are. The companies launching the world’s greenest boats are incorporating an array of features that help reduce the carbon footprint left by both the construction and operation of their craft.
While innovation is triggering a wide range of green improvements, they fit into three main areas.
One essential need aboard a yacht or cruiser is the ability to power the accessories that provide the comfort of being on dry land. Televisions, lights, appliances, and many more necessities for comfortable travel and docking long have been powered in much the same way as electrical accessories in cars, which is by the main engines of the vehicle.
But with the quest to reduce fuel consumption on boats has come the need to figure out a better, greener way to operate those creature comforts. Considering that bright sunshine is a very popular reason to be at sea in the first place, solar panels are an obvious solution. The market is showing that solar is a realistic option, so boat construction is taking note.
Solar panels are placed on the roof, connected to deep cycle marine battery systems below deck, and they power everything except the movement of the boat. Which brings us to our next point.
Heavy, bulky vessels require a lot of power to get moving. So one of the first steps in getting a boat built to a greener standard is cutting down on weight, which is already a logical move for maritime construction but has gone to a higher level as a fuel conservation measure.
But the engines themselves will still require lots of horsepower, and it has to come from somewhere. As a result, biofuels and even electrical power are being developed as options for driving the propellers that will get you from port to port.
Wind has long been a popular avenue of exploration for generating electricity, but it is making a resurgence in boating as well. Sailboats are far more than just beautiful antiquities anymore. They are a legitimate option for traveling at sea without using fossil fuels.
Comfort At Sea
So once you’ve successfully powered your accessories and transported your party to whatever beautiful cove, dock, or open water has called your name, you just want to relax. And if you are environmentally conscious, you want to relax without the guilt of knowing your dream boat has created pollution.
Ship builders have been upgrading the materials they use for upholstery and structural finishes to accommodate a greener construction system. They’re getting away from petroleum-based synthetics and favoring natural materials like cotton and even hemp fiber as a sustainable source of durable, comfortable fabrics for furniture. Paints and stains are moving away from oil as well, and boat windows have been treated for insulation value as well as incorporating greater sunlight exclusion to keep interior temperatures down.
Almost anyone who boats in some form has an appreciation of the importance of keeping the world’s waterways clean, and from there they understand that the entire ecosystem should be protected. With today’s boat and yacht builders finding more ways than ever to meet that need, it’s easier every day to find a vessel that lets you commune with nature without polluting it.