The Working Waterfront

Electric outboards show their stuff

Island Institute, Pendleton Yacht Yard partner on project

Posted 2023-09-22
Last Modified 2023-09-22

In an effort to “electrify the working waterfront” in Maine, staff from Island Institute (publisher of The Working Waterfront) along with Gabe Pendleton, owner of Pendleton Yacht Yard on Islesboro, put new electric outboards through their paces on Rockland Harbor on July 27.

Pendleton Yacht Yard’s new fully electric boat, named Take Charge, will be used to demonstrate electric marine propulsion in a partnership with Island Institute.

“We’re thrilled to be using an electric boat for our business,” Pendleton said. “We’re just beginning to appreciate the benefits of electric propulsion and look forward to sharing what we learn from this demonstration project with other businesses in the Midcoast.”

The business will use the boat—powered by a 40-horsepower Flux Marine electric outboard, charged with solar power—for service calls, moving marine equipment and materials, and other working waterfront needs.

Gabe Pendleton of Pendleton Yacht Yard on Islesboro is at the helm of a boat powered by a 40-horsepower electric outboard. PHOTO: JACK SULLIVAN
Gabe Pendleton of Pendleton Yacht Yard on Islesboro is at the helm of a boat powered by a 40-horsepower electric outboard. PHOTO: JACK SULLIVAN

While the boat is in use, data will be gathered using a “baseline usage device” to help inform improvements in future electric boat hull design.

As part of the partnership, Pendleton will host a number of sea trials for other businesses and individuals interested in electric propulsion, offering first-hand experience with this emerging technology.

“We have a vision for a fully electric working waterfront in Maine,” said Kim Hamilton, Island Institute president. “It’s right for the environment and right for business resilience. This partnership with Pendleton Yacht Yard, and others in the works, are important steps in moving our state towards its climate goals—seeing is believing.”

Electric outboard motors offer many benefits including significantly reduced Co2 emissions (even when charged with non-renewable energy sources), less water pollution, more predictable operating costs, and quiet operation.

In addition to funding the partnership with Pendleton, Island Institute’s Center for the Marine Economy is working in a number of areas to advance the electrification of Maine’s working coast including creation of an introductory course on electric boats (with Maine Community College System and Mid-Coast School of Technology—and a follow-on course planned for electric outboard maintenance), solar energy installations at wharfs and docks, and seeking to improve the charging infrastructure on Maine’s coast.

The boat’s name—Take Charge—was the winning entry in a contest that drew almost 300 entries. The winner was Judy Long of Orrington.