Electric Boating: Quietly Go Where No Boat Has Gone Before

Discover the near-silent bliss of cruising across a lake with the help of an electric outboard motor

By DAN NEIL

Environmental awareness has also played a part. “Tesla made it easier to imagine,” agreed Dean Heinemann, Elco director of sales. But the bigger driver was the rise of lakes restricted to electric drive only. Some of these are designated water-supply reservoirs; some are surrounded by homes; others are delicate habitat under pressure from duck hunters and fishermen. Often all three.

But they also have fish. And where there are fish, there are anglers in a hurry to catch them. The growth in electric outboards, said Mr. Heinemann, reflects these sportsmen’s desire for stern units with a little more oomph than the traditional trolling motor, which is not designed for sustained, max-speed operation.

Electric-only fishing tournaments are now commonplace, and they are just like their gas-powered counterparts, except that instead of roaring away at the start, they hum.

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