Page 84: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (May 2019)
Propulsion Annual - Green Marine Tech
Squid: The All-Electric Dolphin Watcher
Deep in the blue waters of Key West, Hon- est Eco’s founding captain, Billy Litmer, said its dolphin watching tours help their guests “understand and interact with wild- life from a curious yet courteous proximity.”
In creating his eco touring company, Lit- mer invested in everything he needed to guarantee an unforgettable experience for his guests; knowledge, custom boats and quality gear.
His boat is called Squid, and Litmer built it from the hulls up. He asked David Walworth, an MIT educated boat designer and builder,
President of Walworth Yacht Designs, to de- sign the perfect boat for the dolphin watch- ing excursions. Walworth suggested that the multihull boat would be a great platform for going electric. The combination of the Sun- ? are panels and the lithium batteries make electric propulsion possible—and accom- plishes much more than the usual 12-volt battery that runs the lights and radio and other small onboard electrical needs. Squid has two BMW i3 batteries. That’s about 1200 pounds of lithium ion battery. That meant the solar panels themselves had to be light. The12 custom-sized modules produce
Honest Eco’s founding captain, Billy 2000 watts of power and weigh as little as
Litmer (right) asked David Walworth, 120 pounds combined; or 25% of the weight of traditional solar panels.
an MIT educated boat designer and
Squid is a one-of-a-kind vessel. It’s the ? rst of its kind plug-in, lithium ion battery- builder, President of Walworth Yacht powered, hybrid charter boat with purely
Designs, to design the perfect boat for electric motors. Electricity is stored in the batteries, which can be recharged from shore the dolphin watching excursions. power, the Sun? are panels, or when the dol- phins are hard to ? nd, a top EPA tier diesel range extender generator. When the dolphins are easy to ? nd the boat will often not re- quire any use of the generator on the second trip of the day, running purely on battery and solar.
The design ensures that on the longest days on the water, the boat burns only 3 gal- lons of diesel fuel per trip compared to 14 gallons per trip. Since the Squid can carry just over twice the passenger load of the old boat, the per person fossil fuel consumption drops from 2.3 gallons per guest to 0.25 gal- lons per guest.
It’s also one of the ? rst near-coastal hybrid catamarans to make it through the challeng- ing United States Coast Guard certi? cation process. Litmer said, “there was not much precedent for getting this boat certi? ed.
There was no rule book.” He said on a few occasions they’d work for weeks on the boat just to have the Coast Guard ask him to re- build what they’d thought they had ? nished.
All image courtesy Honest Eco and Sun? are 84 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • MAY 2019
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