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First All-Electric Tender & Glass Bottom Boat on Great Barrier Reef

Sailaway Port Douglas launches 'eTender' EV Discovery


Advanced Eco Tourism and Climate Action tourism operator, Sailaway Port Douglas, has launched the world’s first all-electric tender and glass bottom boat providing a “whisper quiet” sustainable experience for guests heading to the picturesque Low Isles on the Great Barrier Reef.

The 22 passenger ‘eTender’ EV Discovery is 100% electric and is designed to operate as both a transfer tender and a glass bottom boat for coral viewing of the Reef’s rich underwater biosphere.

Using the latest technology from Torqueedo (the global leader in electric marine power), the EV Discovery pairs 48v lithium-ion batteries with solar power to drive the vessel’s 12R outboards. Direct sun alone is sufficient to propel the vessel for glass bottom boat tours, offering a minimally intrusive experience for wildlife interpretation and marine life viewing. The vessel is a prototype for further e-vessel development.

Developing the sea-worthy vessel with the highest eco credentials was a no-brainer for Reef operator and owner Steve Edmondson whose corporate philosophy is, “Its all about the environment.”

“Low Isles was the first place for coral research in 1928. So the fact that we are operating the world’s first eTender glass bottom boat to this carbon neutral island is a nice addition to that record,” said Steve.

“I like to think Sailaway is an inspiration for increasing awareness and appreciation of our fragile, yet beautiful natural environment. Successful Eco Tourism has the privilege to connect people together from around the world to natural attractions at a time when we all must strive to be kinder to our planet Earth of eight billion population.”

Hailed as one of the first Advanced Eco Tourism Operators and Climate Action Leaders in Australia, Sailaway Port Douglas has been offsetting carbon through contributions to local tree planting project Eco Shamba Tree Farm since 2013. Further to running a small fleet of luxury sailing vessels that focus on wind power, the company is now constructing another larger 30 seat AMSA NSCV vessel for Sailaway’s Outer Reef destination.

Steve believes his developments are paving the way for future fully “off-grid” sustainable power boating to pristine environments including islands, environmentally threatened sites, small passenger transfers, dive and snorkel tender, birds and wildlife spotting, education and eco-tourism resorts.

Sailaway’s 100% electric tender was designed by Sailaway’s Steve Edmondson and built by Ocean Blue Boats in Cairns and the expertise of Pasma Electrics. The eTender harnesses the latest technology from Torqeedo, the global leader in electric marine power. The fully electric Cruise 12R outboards and paired 48v lithium-ion batteries are perfect fit to operate in iconic natural locations.

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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