Pilot’s Point builds new sewage pump-out boat for Connecticut

Torqeedo, Crystal Lake, Ill., has supplied an integrated electric propulsion system for the world’s first full-size solar-electric sewage pump-out boat, which was recently delivered to the township of Branford, Conn.

The 25′ aluminum boat was built for the East Shore District Health Department by Pilot’s Point Marina in Westbrook, Conn., to provide free sewage pump-out service for boats, preventing the discharge of untreated human waste into the area’s waterways.

The propulsion system for the boat consists of two Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 outboard motors, four Torqeedo Power 48 lithium-ion batteries and four chargers, as well as a cockpit control panel that gives the operator an at-a-glance view of system status, including range at current speed. The motors are driven by electricity from the batteries, which are recharged by eight 100-watt solar panels, providing 400 watts to each battery bank. The batteries also drive the boat’s 48V 2-hp pump and provide enough reserve capacity for a full day’s work.

The East Shore District Health Department collaborated with Yale University’s School of Public Health on the research for the new boat. Funding was provided by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection under the Federal Clean Vessel Act as well as local fundraising efforts. The Clean Vessel Act provides assistance to build and maintain pump-out stations, pump-out boats and dumping stations that enable recreational boaters to dispose of sewage in a safe and responsible fashion, keeping it out of the U.S.’s waterways.

“This new solar-electric vessel will set the standard for future pump-out boats in coastal communities worldwide,” Steve Trkla, president of Torqeedo, said in a statement announcing the project. “It’s a clean, green zero-fuel, zero-emission solution with long life, low maintenance and minimal operating costs.”

Michael Pascucilla, CEO and director of health for the East Shore District Health Department, commented: “Today we are the proud owners of the world’s first full-size solar-electric pump-out boat. This is a historic moment for our local shoreline communities, our state and our country. This vessel not only protects our local marine recreational beaches and shellfish/kelp farm beds, but it also addresses the very real issue of climate change that is impacting Connecticut’s coastal communities. As a public health agency, we see reduction of carbon footprint as an important part of our duty to safeguard our communities’ environmental health. Our research into current solar-electric technology for this vessel demonstrated that is a viable alternative to traditional internal combustion engines for recreational and commercial boats, and we hope the success of this project will lead to wider acceptance of this technology across the marine industry.”

About the author

Ken Hocke

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.

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