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Yachting and Sustainability in South Florida

Karena Korbin, 2021 Summer Internship Program
Marketing & Advertising • July 12, 2021

The marine industry is expected to continue to grow at a CAGR of 11% globally by the year 2025. Along with a growing concern for the environment, the marine industry has seen innovations in adopting sustainable solutions and environmentally-conscious boating and yachting is becoming more than a passing trend. Recent innovations that combine luxury and green alternatives will likely continue to influence other leaders in the marine industry to come.

Recent innovations that combine luxury and green alternatives will likely continue to influence other leaders in the marine industry to come.

Environmentally-conscious changes in the marine industry begin with innovative designs. One solution is using solar energy to power boats. Based in Key West, Honest Eco Tours uses solar panels to power the “Squid”. In addition to solar panels, the Squid is also powered by a lithium ion battery making it a hybrid charter boat with electric motors and the first electric charter boat in the United States. The electricity stores can be recharged on shore, or at sea by the solar panels. During four-hour long dolphin watching trips and snorkeling tours, the Squid burns 3 gallons of diesel fuel per trip, or about one quarter gallon of fossil fuel per guest. The specialized solar panels from Sunflare are exceptionally thin and lightweight, weighing only a quarter of the weight of traditional solar panels. This is crucial, as more weight requires higher energy usage and helps to offset the 1200 pound lithium ion battery. The boat also has narrow hulls allowing the Squid to glide through the water without producing a wake, limiting any interference with the sea animals and their environment.

Taking into consideration the future effects of climate change, the Arkup Houseboat combines luxury and environmentally-conscious design.

Docked off of Palm Island, the Arkup is an innovative solution to the possibility of rising sea levels.

According to the Southeast Florida Climate Change Regional Compact Sea Level Rise Work Group, South Florida sea levels are projected to rise 6 to 12 inches by 2030, 14 inches to three feet by 2060, and 31 inches to seven feet by 2100. The Arkup is completely self-sustaining, equipped with a rain-catch system that purifies the water. The Arkup is carbon neutral, uses no diesel fuel and is powered by solar panels. Solar power can power the boat for 20 nautical miles before using rechargeable battery power. Its steel hull can even withstand a Category Four hurricane. The luxurious boat has floor to ceiling windows, two decks, with a 2600 square foot interior and 1750 square foot outside space.

Fort Lauderdale-based yacht designer Kurt Strand has unveiled plans for an eco-friendly super yacht, the “Florida”. At 525 feet long, the Florida would be placed among the five longest yachts in the world. A 262-foot retractable sail supported by three carbon fiber wing masts will be covered in solar panels that can automatically move to follow the sun’s rays. This would allow the Florida to sail no matter the wind

conditions. In order to ensure the solar panels are able to capture as much energy as possible, the panels are automatically cleaned each time they are retracted. When there is no wind or sun to receive power from, the Florida will run on hydrogen fuel cells. The furnished interior is also environmentally-friendly, made of upcycled materials, carpentry from reclaimed wood and vegan leather. The Florida boasts accommodations for 24 guests and 40 crew members, a spa, theater, two-story bar and helipad. 

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