(Editor’s note: Seattle’s Pure Watercraft is one example of a manufacturer that sells outboard motors for boats using the same kind of technology as electric cars.)
The auto industry is well into the early stage of an economically painful transition period that will eventually result in 100 percent electric or driverless vehicles on our highways in probably 20-30 years, maybe sooner. With the exception of a few homemade recreational vessels, the boating industry has not even broached (no pun) the subject on a commercial level. Hey, whaleboat operators wake up to this ready-made opportunity and solution. The first one to come up with a quiet electric-powered marine engine that can push a whale-watch-sized boat is going to make a fortune and be allowed to continue doing business. So how about following the money and dedicate some of those “kabillions” of tourist dollars that you point out are at risk with regulations into tech research aimed at eliminating those greasy, smelly, loud, petroleum-spitting marine engines? The auto industry has figured that out. This community and the world is not going to simply let boats continue to pursue our three unique pods into extinction, so you might as well start working on the inevitable: quiet vessels. It will not be painless, changing the status quo never is, but it’s the right thing to do. Get on with it!