Hi gang, Rick here at Used Pontoon Boats. Boaters can go green on the water this year with Star craft's new EcoStar electric- powered deck boat that is featured at the Cleveland Boat and Waterfront Lifestyle Expo, which opens next Friday at the International Exhibition Center in Cleveland.
The sleek, 20-foot fiberglass boat has six batteries under its sturdy deck to power a pair of electric motors, as well as two batteries to power the electronic gear. The cruising speed of the 10-passenger boat won't set race records, but the EcoStar will provide all-day power after an overnight charge at the dock or at home.
"There are a lot of lakes around Ohio where the EcoStar will be a perfect fit," said Greg Yarbrough of Catawba Island, the local sales representative for the Indiana boat builder. "It's a well-built cruiser, can handle a crowd of people, and is an excellent fishing boat. If you're casting for bass or trolling for walleye, the EcoStar is up to the task."
The two 3-horsepower electric motors, three-blade brass propellers and brass rudders give the boat a zero turning radius, and a very quiet ride. It can slip through the water at 6 to 8 mph and, with a full charge, run at a cruising speed of 2 to 3 mph for up to nine hours on the maintenance-free batteries.
The comfort features include a full sun deck, Bimini top, stereo and speakers with an MP3 plug, an automatic bilge and unique stern entry. It also has a fishing rod locker, pop-up mooring cleats, sport helm with seat and storage and an integrated freshwater sink and standard pump faucet.
The local Starcraft dealers -- Cranberry Creek Marina in Huron and Vic's Sport Center in Kent -- will show off a full line of aluminum fishing boats at the Cleveland Boat and Waterfront Lifestyle Expo. The EcoStar will be docked at Angler's Alley, while the 20-foot Starcraft STX 2050 tournament walleye boat is at the show's Fishing Stage.
"The EcoStar had been in the design stage for two years," said Starcraft engineer Keith Pelfrey. "We feel it is the boat of the future, especially with $100 per barrel oil and high fuel prices. The real appeal is the environmental aspect of the EcoStar. You can ride around all day without a drop of oil going into the water or exhaust into the air. We have yet to pin down the savings of using electric power over gasoline, but our tests show it will be substantial."
There are electric boats on the market, with EcoStar the first made by a major boat maker. It is not a lightweight, with more than 400 pounds of batteries and a sturdy fiberglass hull and deck.
Twin electric motors are not an option.
"A single-propeller electric boat is hard to steer," Pelfrey said. "With EcoStar's two independent drives and propellers that are counter-rotating, the boat can turn on a dime. Our drives are also very sturdy, using the same heavy-duty brass shafts,
propellers and rudders you'll find on competition ski boats."
More electric boats are on the drawing board, said Pelfrey, including the pontoon-style boats so popular on Ohio's reservoirs.
"We want to take electric power to some of our other lines of boats," he said. "The high cost of marine fuel is opening the door, and the environmental-friendly aspect of electric power is expected to bolster the demand."
Thanks to D'Arcy Egan, Plain Dealer
Used Pontoon Boats, By Cathy Henry and Rick Ostler
Used Pontoon Boats-North American Waterway
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