Boatie bows to hire power

July 2011 News

ONE Noosa tourism operator is quietly fighting back against the "summer from hell" trading downturn with the first electric pontoon boat for hire in Australia.

It is so impressive Tourism Queensland has been touting the eco-friendly innovation.

Dolphin Boat Hire at Noosa Marina has been a silent player in the leisure-cruising experience on Noosa River since the start of the year after owners Jo and Monique Van Os opted to go with a cleaner drive system that is proving a success with clients.

Jo, who has an engineering background and set up the electrical system in-house, was attracted to pioneering a green experience when he turned his back on the normal petrol and oil-based propulsion system.

And to fire up others to follow suit he is planning an electric boat regatta in September or October and will invite electric-boat owners and operators from throughout Australia to take part.

Tourism Queensland in its latest newsletter urges the market to Queensland to "reduce your carbon footprint with Dolphin Boat Hire".

"The electric boat seats 12 and cruises at five knots for four hours at maximum speed, or drop it back a notch for an easy full day of travel before charging," the online newsletter states.

Jo plans to expand the pontoon fleet.

He said times had been tough due to the weather and the high Aussie dollar, but the feedback from the electric pontoon hire had been positive.

"We believe in Noosa and you are always going to get one or two tough years," he said. "We think this is the perfect time to start investing."

He said one of the real attractions to going electric was there was no noise and no fumes to spoil the river experience and a six-knot speed limitation on hire craft meant the electric system was perfect for the river.

"We are also receiving a lot of interest from commercial operators because of the savings. It costs only $1 a recharge."

"We believe in Noosa and you are always going to get one or two tough years. We think this is the perfect time to start investing."

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