Hybrid Yachts Combine The Best Of Eco-Friendly Technology And Boating
Take sleek lines, a convertible interior and, not to mention hybrid propulsion, and you’ve got “the boat of the future.” Except it’s not the future. It’s here, and it’s now.
“Many people still think it’s new technology. … But it’s just new to you,” says Mike Kiely, the Greenline Hybrid Yachts brand manager for Denison Yacht Sales.
Since the hybrid yacht first came on the market four years ago, more than 400 Greenlines have been built. There are only 26 in the U.S. It’s truly the first hybrid yacht success story, Kiely says, who has sold two Greenlines.
The buzz is creating a new wave of sustainable and eco-friendly boaters who demand hybrid options. Phil Purcell with the Marine Industries Association of South Florida says, “It’s a trend that’s not reversible. It’s here to stay.”
Boaters are constantly looking for ways to save money and fuel costs, he says. So whether they turn to quick fixes like using LED lighting on their boat or bigger gestures like buying a hybrid vessel, sustainable boating is more mainstream now than ever.
“Anyone that shows up in America ... with an improved product that offers greater value, greater efficiency and incorporates technology, people will embrace it,” Purcell says.
Greenline has done just that with its latest model—the 48-foot, which is docked in Fort Lauderdale. Denison also has offices in Palm Beach Gardens and Stuart. The aesthetic of the boat has been perfected and refined so that it no longer screams green or eco-friendly.
“You don’t have that label of, ‘Oh, that’s a hybrid boat,’” Kiely says. Plus, he says, the company designed the boat from scratch. There’s no retrofitting or reusing of traditional parts. In other words, this isn’t a Prius on water.
So how does the Greenline work? The manufacturers started from the ground up with a protected hull design that was derived from the sailboat. Then, they added a hybrid (diesel/electric) propulsion system that includes hybrid drive, a solar roof and lithium batteries. Lastly, they designed the boat with recycled materials reducing the weight of the boat to half that of a traditional yacht without losing the heavy ride.
All of this means that the boat costs less to run, requires fewer fuel stops and drastically cuts carbon dioxide emissions to preserve the environment. And it’s safe—the batteries are designed for heavier use with a much lower voltage compared to a battery in a hybrid car.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s a beauty of a boat.
That’s what first attracted Bob Zulkoski to a 40-foot Greenline at a Rhode Island boat show last year. Zulkoski eventually purchased the yacht from Kiely in Fort Lauderdale.
“I loved the interior and the use of the space in the 40,” he says. “It’s open, bright and functional. For a 40-foot boat, they were quite sensible with the layout. It has the feel of a bigger boat.”
Zulkoski has taken his Greenline on extended trips to the Keys, and along the Intracoastal Waterway. He docks it on the west coast of Florida in Naples. “It’s performed incredibly well,” he says.
One of the selling points—and there are many—is that the Greenline serves as a great vessel for entertaining because of its nearly silent engines in electric mode. “There’s hardly any noise,” Kiely says.
A few other key points about the 48 include its open layout, which can comfortably sleep six and accommodate even more on day trips; multiple storage lockers for dive gear or scuba equipment; a flybridge with a sink, grill, icemaker and refrigerator; plus, an interior that includes a full-size refrigerator, freezer, washer and dryer that can all be solar and battery operated.
Another bonus—the Greenline, which comes in varying sizes including a 33, 40, 48, is easy to operate.
“You throw a switch and turn the ignition back on and it goes from diesel to electric,” says Zulkoski, who operated his Greenline on battery power for a few days while anchored in the Everglades. “Between the amount of battery you can hold and the battery bank, and the fact that it recharges, we ran all of the systems without any concerns,” he says.
The yacht’s $1.1 million price tag, plus its hybrid technology that promises additional cost savings, are attracting men and women alike, Kiely says. “The wives seem to be dragging the husbands on the boat,” he says.
Despite all of the yacht’s positives, there is one imperfection that Zulkoski says needs to be addressed. “Overall, I’m very happy with it with the exception of the air conditioning in the boat,” the Greenline 40 owner says, adding that the units are too small and poorly engineered for the Florida heat.
Kiely assures that the AC has been improved in the latest 48-foot model.
Still, if that’s the only criticism of the Greenline, it’s positioned itself nicely to remain the leader in hybrid boating. And most importantly, as Kiely puts it, on the Greenline “you’ll spend more on beer and ice than fuel.”
That’s enough to keep any boat owner happy.