Electric boats tend to be somewhat purpose specific in regard to
capacity, use, type of waterway, length of trips, weather etc. There
is the tendency to select the boat that speaks to us. You know,
the pretty boat at the boat show, that makes the heart palpitate
and the wallet open. This effect is amplified further by the
assistance of a persistent and persuasive sales person. The wrong boat is
often chosen in this manner.
So, what to do?
There is a solution (below) which you might want to consider.
First of all, before you even look at a boat, ask yourself a series of questions:
- How many people will use this boat?
- What boating activities do your family and friends enjoy? (water skiing is now possible)
- How often will the boat be used? This helps you to evaluate appropriate size , accomodations and cost.
- How protected are the waters you plan to use this boat in? (open bay, small lake,
large lake, stream, river, etc.) This will help to select a boat that is seaworthy (safe)
and seakindly (comfortable). Larger boats are generally safer in open water than smaller boats, but
the suitability is also related to hull type, balast (battery location matters), freeboard and other stability
and comfort factors. It's best to get informed or expert impartial advice on this matter. River use requires carefull
consideration of the range. You may be caught with river flow against you in both directions. For day trips, recharging
at a marina may not be feasible (it takes about 4-6 hours to charge many electric boats).
- How far do you plan to go with this boat (maximum for each trip)? You need to know this upfront as electric boats vary
considerably in range capacity. Some boats have room for greatly expanded battery banks which will greatly expand the range.
- Will marina's or other charging facilities be available, How far apart are these facilities?
- What accomodations for sleeping / eating / toilet use / showering etc will you want?
- What electronics do you plan to use, if any? They all draw electricity, so consider this in range assessments.
Sometimes a solar panel assist is the answer for this problem.
- How much can you really affford to spend on this boat? Nothing in your price range? You might want to consider adding electric power
to a boat you already own, or setting up a small boat with one of the many electric outboards available.
(see my Electric Boat Powering and Conversion page)
- Where will you probably keep this boat? Will there be a charging receptacle for the boat?
- Will you need weather protection for your passengers? Some manufacturers offer complete enclosures
and some boats are more appropriate for enclosues than others.
- Its also appropriate at this point to assess your boating experience. Consider a boating safety class
Second, do a broad on-line survey of the electric boats available. You will be amazed at the
variety now available.
consulting my electric boat manufacturers page and electric boat powerering and
conversion page is the easiest way to do this. After that,look deeper into the types of boats which appeal most to you.
Pricing is not available on most of these websites. Once you've narrowed your search, you can contact some of the manufacturers for price information
and catalogues. Used electric boats are a little hard to find in most of the US. You may want to try some of the big boat seller
Third - Ok, now's a good time to go out and look at some electric boats.
I hope you find this approach useful.
Happy electric boating
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Created and maintained by Jim Kerr
Last Updated: Aug. 20th, 2009