Eco friendly electric boats coming to Canberra


    Canberra, April 2011

    Last summer, many Australians enjoyed their local waterways on a power boat – without realising the impact motorboating has on the environment.

    Research shows that a few hours in a petrol powered boat has a bigger environmental impact than a return road trip from Canberra to Melbourne. Petrol powered marine engines are among the highest contributors of hydrocarbons, oxides, and nitrogen emissions in the country*.

    With restrictions on the use of petrol motors on Lake Burley Griffin already in place, the arrival of electric boats now brings boating on the lake within reach of every Canberran boating enthusiast.

    On the weekend of 30 April – 1 May electric boats and motors will be on display as part of the Traditional Boatfest at the Southern Cross Yacht Club and everyone is welcome to inspect the boats and come for a test ride.

    These luxury electric boats are emission-free, low- maintenance, will cruise for a whole day, and costs less than a dollar to recharge. They can be easily kept on a trailer at home, you don’t need a boat licence to drive them and best of all, they are one of few powerboats permitted to be used on Lake Burley Griffin. An all-around clear enclosure offers protection from rain and wind and makes them comfortable to take out on the lake year round.

    Steven Mullie, who operates Eco Boats Australia and is the Secretary of the recently founded Electric Boat Association of Australia says electric boats are the green alternative in boating. “The beautiful thing is that electric boats are so quiet,” he said. “It’s a lifestyle boat, perfect for relaxed day or sunset cruising on the lake with family, friends or business associates.”

    These new green boats employ the latest technology, but electric boats themselves have been around since the late 1800s. They remained popular into the 1920s, when the arrival of the internal combustion engine saw people fuelling their boats with the faster technology. That’s all changing now.

    Steven said the threat of global warming and rising fuel prices had generated a lot of interest in electric boats in his native Holland. “Electric boating is getting a lot of attention from councils who’ve decided to clean up their act, reducing noise and pollution on their waterways. Many rivers and canals already only allow electric-powered vessels” and so there are parallels with the waterways in the ACT and dams in the area.

    Just like a golf cart, with an electric boat all you have to do is flip a switch and grab the wheel. They run off batteries which recharge from normal household power or top up on the run from optional solar panels. “With top speeds of around 6 knots (11 km/h), a trip on an electric boat is all about relaxing and unwinding,” Steven said. “Some people want speed, but we’re offering a social event that brings friends and family together and doesn’t cost the earth”.

    Where combustion engines have hundreds of moving parts, which can all break down, an electric motor has just one moving part – they are extremely reliable and almost maintenance free.

    Visit ‘Try Electric Boating Weekend’ as part of the Traditional Boatfest on 30 April & 1 May from 10AM-5PM at the foreshore of the Southern Cross Yacht Club, 1 Mariner Place, Yarralumla. Learn more about this new green way of boating at or phone: 02 9929 8834

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