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Old Boats Get New Life In Annapolis

| October 13, 2011, 05:31 PM | 4 Comments

Annapolis Mayor, Josh Cohen (right) and Harbormaster Flip Walters inspect the new boat

Annapolis Mayor Joshua J. Cohen announced that the City has received the first of two cutting-edge propulsion systems, mounted on Harbormaster boats, helping to save the Bay while saving the City money.

Only a dozen of these hybrid diesel-electric-solar propulsion systems exist worldwide and Annapolis was awarded grant money to purchase two of the twelve. The system updates were available through grants awarded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Canadian Government. The EPA funded $300,000 of the $400,000 price tag to update both boats and the Canadian government funded the remaining $100,000. Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association (MARAMA) was responsible for securing the EPA grant for Annapolis.

The patrol boat will be used to collect mooring fees and will also be used as a water rescue boat as needed. The second boat, due to arrive in Annapolis in January of 2012, will have the propulsion system mounted on a pump out boat.

“As part of the City’s Clean & Green initiative, this project addressed the need for resources on the water directly affecting the health of the Bay,” Mayor Cohen said. “I want to thank the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association for leading the effort to get the EPA grant money for this project. It’s one more example of how municipalities are relying on partnerships to generate large outcomes with limited budgets.

County Councilman, Chris Trumbauer gets an up close look.

The patrol boat is operated by the Harbormaster’s office and will run on battery power for one-half of its life cycle, which is about 20 years. Overall, the city will see a 50% savings in fuel costs over the life of the boat.

“The new Harbor Patrol Boat being rolled out today blends hybrid diesel, electric and solar technology to ensure that public funds are well spent in carrying out important public-sector functions,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. “From collecting fees to water rescue, this new patrol boat is state-of-the-art and will provide the City of Annapolis with an important resource.”

“The EPA is pleased to see cleaner, more efficient diesel engines in the Annapolis Patrol Boat and the pump out boat, each of which will help bring cleaner, healthier air to the Annapolis Harbor and its surrounding communities,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “We are proud of our partnership with MARAMA and the City of Annapolis working to sustain needed operations while doing what’s necessary to protect people’s health and the environment.”

The City of Annapolis owned both the patrol and pump out boats prior to the addition of the new hybrid systems. The vessels were sent back to the original builder, Metalcraft Marine in Kingston, Ontario for the state-of-the-art updates.

MARAMA executive director, Susan Wierman, is very pleased that the project has been a success. “The Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association is proud to be involved in the unique Annapolis Diesel Engine Boat Repower Project,” she said. “Embracing new technologies is an important component of improving air quality. This project is a good example of what can be accomplished when people come together with a common goal and work together to come up with solutions that improve air quality for all.”

The City of Annapolis’ two diesel powered harbor boats are fitted with a Steyr Hybrid D solar-electric-bio-diesel propulsion system. The system operates the boats on solar power and batteries for up to three hours at speeds up to six knots without a requirement to turn the diesel engine on. Three-quarters of the harbor is subject to a six knot speed limit imposed by state law. By using emergent solar and renewable fuel technologies fuel consumption is reduced by up to 50% and emissions by over 50% in a given period.

Because of the new engines, in low speed situations, the diesel engine will not even be required. This is a key element in the program as ninety percent of the harbor patrol and pump out boat activities are conducted at speeds less than six (6) knots. At these speeds, under ordinary circumstances the diesel will not be used, therefore will burn no fuel, and emit no pollutants.

Due to gains in efficiency, the Steyr engine will produce 20 to 35 percent more power than the existing engines when needed for higher speeds. They also weigh less than the engines being replaced and burn significantly less fuel. Additionally, the new replacement engines will burn bio-diesel fuel providing even more environmental benefits.

For more information on the patrol boat, contact the Harbormaster’s Office at 410-263-7973

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About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Bob McWilliams says:

    $400,000 to repower two small boats; you’ve got to be kidding.

    Grant money is not “free” money.

    Since when is the US Federal government in the boat engine business?

    What’s the payback? There’s a 50% savings in fuel, but an incredible $200,000 cost for the engine. Did anyone run the numbers? Probably not; there’s no need to when you’re spending someone else’s money.

  2. John Frenaye says:

    Bob, I agree that $400K likely would buy two or more brand new boats. However, the excessive federal government spending (grants) is something out of our pay grade. We have been buying $100K toilets for decades.

    That being said, it is an improvement for the City and the waters surrounding it. It did not cost us anything other than some down time on the boats and maybe a few labor hours to learn the operation and maintenance–and of course the photo ops.

    Let’s say an eccentric Uncle gave me $20 million to spend on a house with the stipulation that it be spent on a home in Hunt Meadow. Being that it is free money and all, would you be willing to give up that commission on the sale because I would be overpaying for the house?

    I agree, the price is ridiculous, and to create any change, it is going to have to happen in DC, not Annapolis, and on a much larger platform than this site.

  3. Bob McWilliams says:

    The federal government, like the city government doesn’t have money to be giving away.

    And, no, I wouldn’t participate in someone else’s gross negligence, whether it’s spending $200,000 to repower a $20,000 poop boat, or using $20 million of someone else’s hard earned money to buy a $500,000 house in Hunt Meadow.

    Condoning our the massive irresponsibility of our federal, state and local governments is why we’ve got this mess.

    Someone with some common sense and competence would have stood up and said, “this isn’t the time to be spending $400,000 on repowering two small boats, no matter where the money comes from.”

  4. Steve Cernick says:

    $ 400,000 to retrofit 2 old boats to hybrid configs adding electric motors and some solar panels?? – mainly used to collect mooring fees Crazzy – particularly when the boats could have been replace with new 16 ft boats with 20 hp outboards ( all they need) – for less than $ 15000 each…and I notice no one mentioned the payback on this investment or the HP of the electric motor drive – my guess about 15 HP or less – they probably could have bolted on a couple of bass boat electric trolling motors for $`1000/ea – with batteries with the same results. Bottom line, another rediculous price tag for another minimally green project. Once again the taxpayers take it on the chin for this foolishness. Green at any Price….So where was the adult supervision?

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