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Electric propulsion continues to gain supporters - MarineBusinessWorld North America newsletter

by Peter Rendle 28 Jun 2023 14:00 PDT
Monterey Bay Eco Tours opts for electric propulsion © Martin Flory Group

Electric power continues to make inroads at the entry level of the power spectrum. Such technologies are important at California's Monterey Bay, where the stunning blue waters owe, in part, its legendary abundance of seabirds and marine mammals to adjacent Elkhorn Slough, the first estuarine sanctuary established in the United States.

When Wendy Kitchell decided to start Monterey Bay Eco Tours, a charter tour business highlighting this critical natural resource, she wanted it to have minimal impact on Elkhorn Slough's wildlife and fragile ecosystem. To power her 32-passenger power catamaran, El Cat, she opted for clean, quiet Elco electric outboard propulsion. Elco's outboards are friendly to more than just the Slough's wildlife, too. "Having an electric vessel is what sets us apart from other tour operators," said Kitchell.

"Passengers constantly remark on how quiet and vibration-free the trip is, especially when we idle and observe wildlife. Plus, we don't have to constantly position the boat to keep exhaust fumes downwind from our guests."

Meanwhile speed limits along our Atlantic coast continue to concern industry members. Coming out of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries oversight hearing on June 6, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) President Frank Hugelmeyer and other marine industry stakeholders testified, national and local media continue to take note of the recreational boating industry's concerns with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s proposed changes to the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule.

The proposed changes would impose significant restrictions to boating and fishing along the Atlantic coast, putting boaters in danger and risking the $230 billion economic impact of the recreational boating industry.

Dependency on technology is paramount to the success of any business these days. However, it does have its downsides as the Brunswick Corporation recently experienced. On June 13, Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC) reported an IT security incident that impacted some of its systems and global facilities. The Company activated its response protocols, which included pausing operations in some locations, and engaging leading security experts and law enforcement to assist.

Since that time, thanks to the hard work of Brunswick's IT and business teams, and their many outside partners, Brunswick has made significant progress restoring the functionality of its systems and restarting operations at facilities where production or distribution was paused. All primary Brunswick global manufacturing and most distribution facilities are now operational, with the remaining production and distribution facilities expected to restart within a few business days.

People in the news this week includes TACO Marine® Marketing Manager Dana Koman, who has been recognized by Boating Industry magazine as one of 2023's Women Making Waves in the marine industry. Dana got her start in the marine industry as the Junior Sailing Program Administrator for the Edgartown, MA Yacht Club. She joined Miramar, FL - based TACO Marine, a leading supplier of rub rail, hardware, seating and sport fishing equipment, in 2017. In 2020, she was named to the Boating Industry list of the top 40 marine industry professionals under the age of 40.

"In my work at TACO, I've focused on more diversity in our marketing campaigns featuring women at the helm. Personally, I want to be successful and effective in my role and to be known as a knowledgeable resource for others. I hope to be an example to other women in the industry and show that anything is possible through hard work, passion for the job and dedication," Dana said.

Fishing plays an important part in the boating industry, and industry leaders bring experience and perspective to address issues that impact the recreational fishing industry and fisheries conservation. Four members of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) were elected to fill two At-Large seats and two regional seats on the board of directors. Their three-year terms begin October 1, 2023.

ASA is the national trade association that represents the sportfishing industry. The association has six regions: West, South Central, Great Lakes, Southeast, Northeast and Northern Plains and Inter-mountain. Each member company or organization is assigned to the region where that member's principal business is located.

Dream Yacht Sales & Ownership welcomes Amanda Haley as new Yacht Sales Director for North America. Amanda joins the company with years of industry experience in both yacht brokerage and most recently charter ownership sales for Navigare Yachting. Living aboard a 50-foot monohull herself, Amanda found her passion in helping other individuals find just the right boat for them and educating boaters about the vast possibilities charter management programs offer to make their sailing dreams a reality. She now brings this expertise to her new role of Yacht Sales Director North America for Dream Yacht, where she continues to inspire others to pursue their dreams on the water.

And in recognition of people's achievements, nominations are now being accepted for the 2023 NMMA Hall of Fame Award through July 21. NMMA's most prestigious recognition, the annual Hall of Fame Award honors industry icons— visionaries whose outstanding contributions have and continue to advance, guide and transform the recreational boating industry. The NMMA Hall of Fame Award will be presented during the IBEX Industry Breakfast on October 3 in Tampa.

Submit an NMMA Hall of Fame Award nomination now.

New products from Garmin (NYSE: GRMN), who announced the GMR™ xHD3 series open-array radars that combine high-definition imaging with the latest platform technology to deliver new levels of confidence, clarity and performance to cruisers and anglers alike. A first for Garmin magnetron radar, the xHD3 series incorporates scan averaging that helps filter out sea clutter and interference on the display to provide mariners with enhanced consistent targets.

Target size processing utilises pulse expansion to help optimise on-screen object shapes for better interpretation at all range scales, and true echo trails display a historical "trail" of boats on the water, removing relative motion influence to help quickly identify moving targets and potential collision threats.

And news of a boat brand being revived. The name Pantera Boats conjures up memories of Miami's notorious Thunderboat Row and the rousing days of offshore powerboat racing, when tough men fought rough waters in new hulls to earn trophies and bragging rights. Says legendary offshore racer, race boat builder and author of Tales from Thunderboat Row, Allan "Brownie" Brown: "The heart of these boats, the hull shape, was drawn by a small number of visionary architects. Some were ugly, some 'wet,' some fell apart. The survivors, Formula, Cigarette, Magnum, Apache, Cougar, Donzi, and Pantera, are all still existent in one form or another.

"I just learned that Pantera was rescued by a young and willing builder who intends to integrate today's space age materials with the well-known ride and performance of the Pantera. Should be a good fit!"

More industry news at

Stay safe,
Peter Rendle -

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