The Green Cheapies

Green Adventures in Boating

Tony Parete
Remember your grandfather’s old boat? Smelly, oily, rotten, and parked behind the garage under a tarp for ten years? As they used to say in those Virginia Slims cigarette ads, “we’ve come a long way, baby!” Everything in boating today is light years ahead of the old days, especially in terms of being environmentally friendly. Back then, it seemed like you killed more fish with the boat’s filthy exhaust than you caught with your fishing rod. Well, no more!

To start with, you’ve got Evinrude’s E-Tec series of engines - fuel-injected two-strokes that meet the EPA’s most stringent requirements ever in terms of emissions output. Smoke-free, these engines are rated from 25 horsepower up to 300. A big plus with the E-Tec is the fact that you don’t have to add any oil to the gas – simply put the oil into the engine’s own internal tank and the engine will do the rest. No mixing, no mess, no problem.

Then you’ve got four-stroke engines, engines that are just like your car engine, engines that require no extra oil for the gas whatsoever. Just fill ‘er up, turn the key, and go. Easy, peasy, Japanesey.

Even better than that, you can go the all-electric route. JON boats, smaller aluminum boats, and one- and two-man plastic or fiberglass boats are perfect for Minn Kota trolling motor 12-volt battery set-ups. And as technology advances, larger electricity-powered boats are slowly but surely making their presence known. For example, Campion Marine of Canada builds an electric 14-foot fiberglass model that’s just as stylish as any of their gas-powered models. I asked Campion’s local dealer, Parma Marine, for a quick run-down on Campion’s product, and I found out that Campion is one of the greenest boat builders out there.

“Campion uses a manufacturing process called Bio Resin,” reports Joel Morrison, Parma’s shop manager. “Old epoxy boat resins and fiberglass adhesives were highly toxic, and boat builders years ago all had to wear protective breathing apparatus. Campion’s new Bio Resin process uses materials that are completely non-toxic, so much so that workers no longer need any such masks or respirators.”

In terms of prices, Parma’s owner, Hart Morrison, tells me that prices run anywhere from $595 for one-man personal watercraft, up through $100,000 for a decked-out Campion ski boat that would be the envy of anything on the North Coast. Used boats constitute a good part of his sales as well, and if you’re interested, check out Parma’s website either on Facebook or at www.parmamarine.com. They’ll also be at the I-X Center Boat Show, along with numerous other boat dealers, from January 13th through the 22nd.

Boating…it’s a neat thing to do! It beats the heck out of spending all weekend in front of the TV. Fresh air, awesome sunrises & sunsets, and a cool nautical lifestyle…what could be a better prescription for Cleveland’s dreary winters?
Photo courtesy of Parma Marine