Why is Electric Boating Becoming So Popular?

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The popularity of electric boating and how more boaters are going electric with small boats and electric motors

For some boaters, it may seem like electric boating has become popular almost overnight. Suddenly every major boat show has an electric boat showcase and dozens of new electric models debuting.

The truth is that marine electric propulsion is just now catching up with where the overall market has been going.

Recreational marine industry veterans often admit that the boating market tends to follow the automotive industry with a five to ten year lag. Given Tesla’s meteoric rise over the last decade and recent promises by auto industry giants Ford and GM to go all in on EVs, it should be no surprise that boaters and boating industry manufacturers are coming around to the idea of zapping along the waterways.

At the same time, electric outboard motors are becoming more powerful and affordable, making it easier for boaters to choose an electric motor rather than a standard gas motor for a small boat.

Electric Boating Advantages

Recreational boating is highly pollutive, and most people think the main reason boaters are choosing electric outboard motors is because of the environmental impact of gas motors. Although many of those environmental reasons are factors for buyers, many boaters are now realizing that the convenience of electric is a big incentive.

Boat ownership can be somewhat of a chore that can take away from the joys of spending a day on the water. Hassles like winterization, oil changes, swapping fuel filters, replacing impellers, avoiding E15 fuel, and navigating busy gas stations on holiday weekends with a trailered boat in tow are all directly connected to gas powered engines.

Electric motors largely eliminate these issues. An improved ownership experience coupled with lower total cost of ownership due to virtually zero maintenance requirements and the negated cost of fuel is resulting in many American boaters converting to electric boats.

Small Boat Options for Electric

Although its exciting to see big new electric boats hit the market, many of these boats are simply not attainable for the average boater. Smaller boats are a great entry point for electric boating.

The idea of “electric-ready” boats means that these boats fit the criteria needed for an electric outboard motor to essentially convert that boat to an electric boat. Generally this means a boat with a lightweight hull and a transom that can easily mount an outboard.

Small electric boats can include jon boats, skiffs, tenders, inflatable dinghy boats, RIB boats or even fishing kayaks by simply choosing to use an electric motor instead of a gas engine.

Electric outboard motor options include higher horsepower outboard options or electric trolling motors. The affordability of small boats and electric motors, along with the benefits of electric use, make transitioning to electric boating popular and attainable for a larger population of boaters.

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