Category Archives: Green Dock

Green Dock

Green Dock


In our attempts to cover our Green Dock mission to deliver information that concerns all aspects of how we can work towards the betterment of our watery environment, we would like to pass on information about Ports of Cause.

Ports of Cause logo

The organization is the result of the passion and dedication of interior yacht designer Joyce Clear, founder of the Clear Group, and devotee of all things nautical.

Joyce clear

Joyce Clear with Damien Durchon, captain of the Mari Cha, a 150-foot ketch whose interior Clear refitted, is firmly committed to the task ahead.

Her concerns run deep and she describes her organization as a social enterprise with a philanthropic mission to support non-profit organizations that are focused on the global water crisis and the protection and preservation of our oceans. “Our mission is to serve as a catalyst for social responsibility, marketing, education, awareness, action and fundraising for these critical issues of our time.”

Ports of Cause sponsors1Clear, along with many other supporters, kicked off Ports of Cause (POC) at this past Palm Beach Boat Show with a gala affair with lead sponsors Active Interest Media and Element Financial. POC plans to propel a series of newly refit luxury yachts into the global marketplace as ambassadors for non-profit organizations and corporate social responsibility.

POC will be working to heighten exposure, education, action and fundraising for multiple organizations including Plant A Fish, Waterkeeper Alliance, International Seakeepers Society, Thirst No More and Join the Pipe. POC-designated yachts will have fundraising events for these foundations in the future as well.

Ports of Cause sponsors2png“It is POC’s goal to refit a vessel every year as well as create an exclusive POC membership club. All the vessels in the fleet will fly the POC flag as proud supporters of our water-based causes, a representation to the world that this industry cares and will affect change,” explains Clear. Ms. Clear and POC Co- Founders Shelley Furse, Eric Dahler and Peter Vogel share a passion with other leaders in the industry that the time has come to create a vehicle through which the world is educated about the positive philanthropic, economic, technological and design impact provided by the global yachting industry.

Joining the cause is the yacht Highlander. First built in 1967, she was owned by Forbes’ founder Malcolm Forbes and not only entertained kings, potentates, and celebs, but the movers and shakers who made the wheels of business and industry hum around the world. A fire took her to the waterline in 1980 but as you can clearly see, she has been lovingly restored to her classic Feadship lines. Highlander will be paired with Posh, a Hacker designed-Huskins-built vintage 1937 commuter yacht, as good will ambassadors at upcoming boat shows and other functions.

posh underway

If you would like more information about Ports of Cause, please contact them at 43 Ravenwood Drive, Suite 10H, Weston, CT 06883.

GREEN DOCK is dedicated to supplying a forum to discuss important issues, products, and trends that can better help all of us protect the environment. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and desire to make a change is most welcome.


Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Green Dock


Tags: ,

Green Dock

Green Dock

The Shape of Things to Come

The buzz, or perhaps the hum, on hybrid and electric outboard engines.

By Ken Kreisler

Here’s an excerpt from a forum thread I picked up on while researching this topic:

“I have been doing some drawings using a 18V cordless drill and a 90⁰ drive. I would like to build a prototype but don’t want to spend a lot on proof of design model. Maybe this winter? It might be what the canoe, kayak people are looking for?”

Then this response:

“For a little boat, you might just try a cordless drill as-is. Attach a prop to the drill and hold it underwater. Just might work fine in water. Haven’t tried it myself.”

Okay, so I don’t think the drill thing is going to work. Better scrap that idea and move on. But I couldn’t resist this last one to kind of dog the hatch here:

“Also wanted to add that many power tools will also operate just fine on DC rather than AC power. So for example, you can take a beefy angle grinder and run it on 24v battery power, which would probably spin it at an RPM more useful for a prop than 120v”.

We’ve seen it before. A need addressed usually results in some sort of solution, however circuitous or less travelled the path might be. I even remember way back, in my yard snipe days, hearing some of the old timers lament about this new ‘Loran thing’. But certainly, with today’s geopolitical climate being what it is, and whether you ascribe to any doomsday theories about the end of oil supplies or not, the often rollercoaster and volatile price at the pump is certainly driving research into not only alternative fuel sources but in the direction of energy replacements as well. Enter the idea of the hybrid and electric outboard.

The original Elco Electric Launch as used in Chicago in 1893.

The original Elco Electric Launch as used in Chicago in 1893.

First, in the case of the electric outboard, let’s skip the intensive physics lesson concerning electromagnetism or the laws of Newton, Ampere, Ohm, and Kirschhoff, and instead cut right to the chase. At its most basic, an electric motor takes electrical energy, such as that produced by a battery, or enhanced/backed up by solar power, and turns it into movement. So instead of an internal combustion engine under the cowling, there is an electric motor turning the driveshaft to move your boat through the water.

The concept is not new. You could say it began in Chicago at the World’s Columbian Exposition on the afternoon of May 1, 1893, where well over one million passengers would take rides on 55 electric-powered boats designed and built by the Electric Launch Company, better known as Elco, over the course of the event.Today, there are several electric outboard engine manufacturers in the forefront of the technology whose designs, in some applications, offer a sensible, quiet, economical, and non-polluting alternative to internal combustion power.

Campion and ReGen have teamed up with an electric rig capable of pulling waterskiers and wakerboarders.

Campion and ReGen have teamed up with an electric rig capable of pulling waterskiers and wakerboarders.

Ft. Lauderdale-based ReGen Nautic has been creating quite a buzz with its 180- and 130-hp, fully electric outboard engines. Joining forces with Campion Boats, Canada’s largest producer of fiberglass boats, they already have a Chase 550 Bow Rider and 180-hp electric engine off to a Swiss dealer.

ReGen 180-hp Outboard“This technology has to start somewhere and we feel it is with us,” said ReGen’s president and CEO Pierre Caouette. “Among the most important aspects are our concerns about the safety systems we design into our products, ones that are well-understood by our company. Improved battery technology is some three years out and we are positioning ReGen Nautic to be there when it happens.”

The ReGen 180, with its 38.4 kWh lithium-ion battery bank, has gone for about 20 minutes at near peak power before having to go in for a charge. “With hi/lo operation, we’ve gotten two hours before recharge. And the boat has easily pulled water skiers and wake boarders,” said Caouette. However, it may make sense in a more practical application, such as that for a megayacht tender, where the engine can be easily recharged by a big boat genset system, or in a multi-engine configuration instead of running gasoline-powered engines for slow bell operations when entering a harbor or navigating a long stretch of no-wake zones.

Ray Electric OutboardMorton Ray, the guiding force behind Ray Electric Outboards of Cape Coral, FL, built his first prototype in his basement in Annandale, Virginia in 1973. “I am proud to say, that since my first motor was manufactured back in 1974 and of the thousands of motors manufactured since then, approximately 99% of our motors are still in service,” states Ray.

The Ray line up incudes the System 200-2.5 HP, 36V Series Motor, System 400-4.0 HP, 48V Series Motor, and System 500-5.0 HP, 60V Series Motor. Chargers and either Deka or Exide batteries are extra as is some optional equipment. Pricing for lithium-ion batteries is also available.

Winner of the 2012 DAME Innovation Award at this past year’s METS gathering in Amsterdam, Torqueedo, the German electric outboard motor company, with 13 offerings from 1- to 15-hp, is relying on its new 80-hp DEEP BLUE engine to propel it forward and into a strong position in this market.


The Torqeedo Deep Blue is making quite a splash while leaving a nice wake in the electric outboard field.

According to the company’s fact sheet, the DEEP BLUE System incorporates top to bottom specifically designed engineering. Among other features are a matched gearbox, and a waterproof venting and breathing seal, this to prevent any moisture from affecting the battery, compensate for temperature variants, and, in the unlikely event, to safely vent any gases. The connection box is the system’s nerve center connecting all the electrical and signal cables while providing a connection for two to four batteries.  And an on-board computer and touchscreen display, with 14 different screens, covers a wide range of information including GPS-based range and battery charge status. Pricing for the DEEP BLUE System, options, and battery information is available upon request.

The 30-hp Aquawatt seems a good match for a tender/dinghy.

The 30-hp Aquawatt seems a good match for a tender/dinghy.

Aquawatt, based in Austria, has four offerings in its electric outboard line; 11-, 18-, 28-, and 30-hp. The company has done extensive research and development in both AGM and Lithium Ion battery technology as well as in the solar power market and will therefore, have the ability to match up specific needs for various applications. All the engines are constructed with seawater resistant aluminum, have highly efficient water-cooled AC induction motors, and are suitable for saltwater use with zinc anodes.

There is little doubt that the shape of things to come will be more efficient, less polluting power for our engines, both inboard and outboard. In the case of the electric models, there is the inefficiency and extra weight of the battery systems. But as long as the need is there, a solution will be found. We’ll keep you posted on how things are progressing as we move forward with this technology.

I have a final thought on this topic concerning both its social, political, and economic implications that is mine and mine alone: If this country can send a $1+ billion, one ton, car-sized, electric/solar-powered vehicle to the surface of Mars, and then communicate and operate it to run around and explore the planet’s surface, then most assuredly, we should already be much further on down the road then we are in terms of alternative energy sources, sustainability, and limiting the use off fossil fuels. What do you think?

If you have any thoughts on this subject, please feel free to contact me by using the Leave A Comment feature at the bottom of the page.

GREEN DOCK is dedicated to supplying a forum to discuss important issues, products, and trends that can better help all of us protect the environment. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and desire to make a change is most welcome.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Green Dock



Green Dock

Green Dock

Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen

If you are in any way concerned about the health of our oceans and what that means to the overall well-being of our planet, and you don’t know who Sylvia Earle is, then it is imperative you do so…and now.

By Ken Kreisler

Her resume and background reads like just what you would expect from this dynamic woman whose passion and very being is connected to protecting the world’s oceans. Known with genuine affection as Her Deepness or The Sturgeon General, Dr. Sylvia Alice Earle is an oceanographer, aquanaut, and lecturer.

I want to get out in the water. I want to see fish, real fish, not fish in a laboratory.

I want to get out in the water. I want to see fish, real fish, not fish in a laboratory.”

She is the author of more than 125 publications concerning marine science and technology including the books Exploring the Deep Frontier, Sea Change (1995), Wild Ocean: America’s Parks Under the Sea (1999) and The Atlas of the Ocean (2001), she has participated in numerous television productions and given scientific, technical, and general interest lectures in more than 60 countries. Children’s books that she has written include Coral ReefsHello FishSea Critters, and Dive!

In 1986, Earle tied the world solo dive depth record in a sub (and setting the record for a woman), going 1000m in Deep Ocean Engineering’s Deep Rover. She was a chief scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1990 to 1992. Since 1998 she has been a National Geographic  explorer-in-residence; was named by Time Magazine as the first Hero for the Planet; was leader of the Sustainable Seas Expeditions; sat on the council chair for the Harte Research Institute for the Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; was founder and chairman of the Deep Search Foundation; and finally, the chair of the Advisory Council for the Ocean in Google Earth. And in her spare time, Dr.Earle has founded three companies which includes Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER Marine Operations), a company now run by her daughter Elizabeth, which continues to design, build and operate equipment for deep ocean environments.

In 2009, Earle won a TED Prize. With TED’s support, she launched Mission Blue, which aims to establish marine protected areas (dubbed “hope spots”) around the globe. With Mission Blue and its partners, Earle led expeditions to prospective hope spots: Cuba in 2009,Belize in January 2010, the Galápagos Islands in April 2010, and the Mesoamerican Reef in July 2011. There is more but I think you get the picture of who we’re dealing with here.

Recently, Dr. Earle reached out to the owners, captains, and crews of superyachts during a meeting in Ft. Lauderdale for help in furthering not only existing research, but assisting in critical data collection for future studies.


“We are united in the common interest in the blue part,” Earle said, pointing to the oceans on a spaceshot of Earth. “I want to know how the power of megayachts might be used in a positive way. This is a community of people who already care. It must begin with awareness,” she said.

“Sure, the problems are what we put in the oceans and what we take out,” Earle remarked. “But the biggest problem is to recognize that the oceans are in trouble.”

Kevin Hardy of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography seeks yachts to help his group deploy instruments to measure data at the sea bottom. He showed video of one of the small robotic machines he invented that, when dropped overboard, fall to the sea floor, record data, and floats back to the surface.

“Practically every time we do this, we discover a new creature,” he said.

Hardy has traveled to the ocean’s major trenches on every type of superyacht, boat, fishing trawlers to research vessels. “The hard part is getting out to these areas.”

As Expedition Leader of the Deep Ocean Odyssey crew during Fall 2000, Fabien ran extensive tests on one of the revolutionary Deep Rover subs. Here he is at 1,400 feet maneuvering the sub through the Mediterranean Sea.

As Expedition Leader of the Deep Ocean Odyssey crew during Fall 2000, Fabien ran extensive tests on one of the revolutionary Deep Rover subs. Here he is at 1,400 feet maneuvering the sub through the Mediterranean Sea.

Fabian Cousteau, grandson of legendary marine explorer Jacques Cousteau, shared a sentiment from his grandfather, that people with interest and ability have an obligation to use them. “It’s time we stopped living on this planet and start living with it.”

The scientific panel was sponsored by SeaKeepers International, a non-profit organization that fits superyachts with an ocean and atmospheric monitoring system, to bring researchers and yachts closer to their similar goals.

“What are we waiting for?” Earle asked. “We’ve been to the moon. Let’s send people to the ocean’s depths. Yachts have helicopters, she said, so why not more submersibles? Explore what is underneath the boat,” she said.

In recognition of her many accomplishments, Dr Earle was awarded the 1997 Seakeeper Award.

In recognition of her many accomplishments, Dr Earle was awarded the 1997 Seakeeper Award.

She knows what’s underneath a yacht; Earle set a record for her dive in an atmospheric diving suit in 1979 (to 1,250′) and she holds the women’s record for a solo dive in a deep submersible (to 3,280′).

“Yachts can be especially valuable for the opportunity they provide others to appreciate the oceans,” she said, even by offering scuba diving. “And when people know the waters more intimately, they will appreciate and care for them.”

“Our ability to deplete resources is at an all-time high,” Earle opined. “But so is our ability to restore.”

While the title of this essay has biblical roots, for me, its literal interpretation rings with a far clearer and more resonant understanding of our place on this planet and what our stewardship has meant to it so far. Sylvia Earle is truly one of those people who displays a certain kind of quality in which humankind finds possibilities. Her lifelong commitment to rise above mediocrity and defend the planet is shared my many but so far, only a few have chosen to follow. How about you?

Sylvia Earle on a reef“People ask: Why should I care about the ocean? Because the ocean is the cornerstone of earth’s life support system, it shapes climate and weather. It holds most of life on earth. 97% of earth’s water is there. It’s the blue heart of the planet — we should take care of our heart. It’s what makes life possible for us. We still have a really good chance to make things better than they are. They won’t get better unless we take the action and inspire others to do the same thing. No one is without power. Everybody has the capacity to do something.”
—Sylvia Earle
If you have any thoughts on this subject, please feel free to contact me by using the Leave A Comment feature at the bottom of the page. You can learn more about SeaKeepers International and Sylvia Earle by visiting their Websites:, 

GREEN DOCK is dedicated to supplying a forum to discuss important issues, products, and trends that can better help all of us protect the environment. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and desire to make a change is most welcome.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Green Dock


Tags: ,

Green Dock

Green Dock

To Use or Not to Use: Is it really a question?

Boaters are squaring off on the controversy of having E15 added to the fuel used in their engines.

By Ken Kreisler

According the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) summary of The Clean Air Act of 1970 “ [it] is the comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources. Among other things, this law authorizes EPA to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and public welfare and to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants.” Sounds like a plan to me. I mean, who doesn’t want clean air? But as widely attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux in about 1150, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Fast forward to the 2007 signing of the Energy Independence and Security Act. In essence this tome included, among many other objectives, one that most boaters can relate to: Reducing petroleum use and increasing the utilization of alternative fuels with a stipulation that, according to Forbes contributor Larry Bell in a 9/23/12 Op-Ed article, “…a certain amount of ‘renewable’ fuel must be introduced into the market each year, an amount that will rise to 36 billion gallons in 2022.” In October of 2010, after an almost year- long urging from Growth Energy, a coalition of Ethanol supporters, along with over 50 Ethanol manufacturers, that same EPA decided to allow a bump up in the percentage of Ethanol from 10%, known as E10, to E15 in a selected group of gasoline engines.

corn-1847037_1280Here’s where things get contentious. E15 is a 15% solution of Ethanol; the alcohol fuel made from the sugars found in grains, with the most popular being extracted from corn and, in harmony with marine industry thinking, not a very good thing for internal combustion engines.

Firstly, it is hygroscopic by nature and attracts moisture and will therefore encourage internal engine rusting and other downstream problems. It also tends to dissolve and release destructive engine gunk which plug fuel filers, clog injectors, and play havoc with carburetors. Then there’s possible gasket and rubber hose failure and an issue with the decomposition of fiberglass fuel tanks manufactured prior to 1991. And while there are conditions with being able to use E15 with 2001 model year engines and newer in cars, light trucks, certain SUVs, and FlexFuel vehicles, it seems as if marine warranties are voided should the brew be introduced into the boat’s fuel system.

Case in point, Mercury Marine’s take on using E15: “E10 is considered acceptable but fuels with higher levels can void the warranty.”  Mercury’s David Hilbert, a Thermodynamic Development Engineer, in his November 2, 2011, testimony before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, United States House of Representatives, reported the following paraphrased findings of a 300 hour test performed during 2010 and 2011 on three Mercury outboard products using E15:

Ethanol damage done to engine parts.

Ethanol damage done to engine parts.

“We were able to complete the entire test running E15 in a 9.9 HP engine…results indicated poor running quality, including misfires at the end of the test, an increase in exhaust emissions, increased carbon deposits on the underside of the pistons and the ends of the rods indicating higher engine temperatures. Additionally, deterioration of the fuel pump gasket was evident, likely due to material compatibility issues with the fuel blend.  This deterioration of the gasket could lead to fuel pump failure, disabling the engine.

“The 300 HP four-stroke supercharged engine did not complete the test, encountering a valve failure after 285 hours. One valve broke apart and two others developed cracks. Analysis showed the cause of these fractures was deteriorated mechanical strength due to high metal temperature.  The 200 HP two-stroke engine also failed a rod bearing at 256 hours of testing, resulting in catastrophic destruction of the engine. There was so much damage to the engine that we could not determine the exact cause of failure.  It is important to note that two-stroke engines of this architecture mix the fuel and the oil and use that mixture to distribute the oil to the critical interfaces such as the bearings and cylinder walls.  Ethanol may have an effect on the dispersion or lubricity of the oil as it is mixed with the fuel.  More testing of such engines is necessary to understand the ramifications of an E15 blend fuel on this type of lubrication system, as it is not well understood at this time.”

To move the information-gathering process forward so as to be able to understand what is at stake here, I went back to the proverbial horses’ mouth—although some would say it was another anatomical region of that most noble breed of equine—and perused more of the aforementioned EPA site. Among the listed factoids and talking points I found, clearly listed under the What Vehicles May Not Use E15 heading, this:  “…all off-road vehicles, such as boats and snowmobiles.” But as with those most annoying infomercial pitchmen, there’s more.  And this one is a real eye-opener: The E15 Waiver.

In essence, the Clean Air Act gives the EPA the authority to disregard the exclusions on E15 use as long as, “…the prohibited fuel or fuel additive will continue to meet their emission standards over their ‘full useful life.’” Enter some data, such as that from the Biotechnology for Biofuels site, a Euro-based research group, where, in its conclusion of testing in the UK and Sweden—remember, we are not in this alone—pointed out that the large amounts of electricity used during the conversion process may actually increase greenhouse gasses so much so as to diminish any gain in reported exhaust emissions. Then there is the whole land use discussion and how it impacts not only our own economy but that of established and emerging nations as well.

Cap warningWhile E15 remains on the EPA’s Do Not Use List, it can find its way into the boating fuel supply. “A majority of boats are pulled on trailers. You get to the pump and fill up your tow vehicle and then fill up your boat. That’s the way people have been doing it for years and will continue to do it,” said Jim Currie, NMMA’s Legislative Director.

Most recently, a D.C. Court of Appeals ruling denied a suit brought forth by the Engine Products Group (EPG), of which our own National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is a part of, in its opposition to the higher concentrations of Ethanol in gasoline.  “The ultimate goal is to get the law changed.  Our plan for the 113th Congress is to re-open the Renewable Fuel Standard, the law that requires ever-increasing amounts of renewable fuel—like Ethanol—in the marketplace. We’d like to have the Congress pass legislation that would basically freeze the standard for Ethanol where it is, at about 10% by volume,” Currie added.

And finally this from NMMA president Thom Dammrich: “E15 is a disaster for boaters and the environment. We need to have everyone learn as much as they can and to get in touch with their members of Congress and let them know we need to change the requirement that is driving this process to get more Ethanol into gasoline.”

If you have any thoughts on this subject, please feel free to contact me by using the Leave A Comment feature at the bottom of the page. Future discussions will feature a lengthy interview with the NMMA’s Thom Dammrich.

GREEN DOCK is dedicated to supplying a forum to discuss important issues, products, and trends that can better help all of us protect the environment. Your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and desire to make a change is most welcome.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Green Dock


Tags: , ,