Motorboat Expert

Independent Yachting Magazine

How electricity is changing attitudes towards motor yachts

Updated on June 8th, 2024

More recently, just a few years ago, many sailing fans were incredibly active in attacking motor yachting enthusiasts and powerboat owners, calling them, at best, fake sailors, in order to make claims about their disrespect for marine life and ignoring environmental problems. Of course, most of these attacks were caused by their own psychological complexes, a way to amuse the ego on the principle of “I’m better than you” and even, in many cases, ordinary envy.

It is important to clarify that we personally have nothing against sailing, because we ourselves are crazy about it and sometimes even participate in regattas.

It has always been natural for sailors to forget that their yachts are also, to put it mildly, not green. They have an engine, fiberglass hulls, and sails made from oil, which wear out and need to be replaced periodically. And absolutely incompetent, but arrogant sail lovers, causing problems for other yachtsmen, can also be found in every marina. We all know this.

However, every year it becomes more and more difficult for sailors to make their typical claims to motor yachts, which are becoming more environmentally friendly and quieter. As expected, the electrification of transport is slowly but surely turning the world of yachting in a new direction.

Yes, we still have all these problems with batteries, with their production and disposal. And also with energy intensity, safety and cost. But in the end, we will also solve these issues. Pessimists can be asked to look back in history to understand that the air and water in civilized cities have never been cleaner than they are today. Today, we are not only aware of the problems with plastic waste in the sea, but also trying to solve them. Many projects no longer exist “on paper” but are being tested in the real world.

And, paradoxically, we needed all these problems so that we could understand the consequences and learn how to eliminate them. Perhaps in the future we will be more careful with new discoveries, assessing their potential harm and looking for ways to neutralize it even before it appears. Artificial intelligence will inevitably take an active part in this. Be that as it may, right now, in all areas of engineering, the environmental friendliness of the product and its production is the most important requirement on the part of the new generation of consumers. And, if this trend continues, we will go in a good direction.

Everyone knows about the toxicity of the production and disposal of electronics, but no one is ready to refuse to buy a smartphone. We, too, love yachts so much that we will never be ready to give them up. Therefore, we will actively welcome new solutions, including the production process, that make them more friendly to nature.

Electricity, sometimes in conjunction with hydrogen fuel cells, is making its way into the yachting industry at an extremely rapid pace. Most superyachts now have at least a hybrid propulsion system. The efficiency of solar panels has increased several times in a decade. Now, traveling around the world on a motor yacht without a single drop of diesel is no longer a fantasy. And, best of all, you can do it in near-total silence. Without exhaust gases and vibration.

We often had to service and repair internal combustion engines. As you understand, this is a rather complex contraption, in which thousands of parts are under constant load. And this means not only the high cost of repairs, but also the high probability that something will break at the most inopportune moment. After diesel engines, the simplicity and reliability of the electric motor gives us children’s delight and euphoria.

It is believed that electricity and water are incompatible. This is a deeply erroneous opinion. Think rays and eels. With proper insulation of equipment from sea water, you can not worry about this. The use of electricity on yachts is their most natural evolution. Yes, engineers can and will certainly find a new way to produce and store it, but the basic principle will probably be used for a very long time, since we have not yet discovered another, more predictable, relatively safe and controllable source of energy that we can so accurately control.