How Sustainability Is Shaping The Future Of Boating

01 Dec, 2023 · 3 min read
DIBS 2024

The marine industry is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by the imperative of sustainability. This article explores how eco-friendly boating is not just a trend but a necessary evolution in the maritime realm. Innovations including electric and hybrid vessels, wing sails, and sustainable manufacturing practices, are at the forefront of this shift. These advances represent more than just technological achievements; they are steps towards a more responsible and sustainable future in boating.

Electrifying The Seas: Hybrid & Electric Boats

The boating industry is witnessing a remarkable transition with electric and hybrid boats becoming increasingly prominent, vital to advancing sustainable practices. These innovative vessels are at the forefront of reducing air and noise pollution, playing a significant role in lessening their environmental impact. This shift towards electric and hybrid technologies is not just a trend but a fundamental change in how the boating industry operates. Some companies have begun to adopt 100% electric propulsion solutions, demonstrating the industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship. This move towards electric and hybrid boats reflects a broader industry trend of prioritising sustainability and showcases the potential for significant environmental improvements in maritime activities.

Harnessing The Wind: The Rise Of Wingsails

Wingsail technology is transforming the concept of sustainability in the yachting industry, offering a practical and impactful solution for reducing emissions. In 2023, a significant development in this field was the introduction of BAR Tech WindWings by Yara Marine. This project, a joint venture between Cargill and BAR Technologies, has successfully tested new technology that brings advanced wind propulsion to commercial shipping for the first time​​. This system stands as a testament to the industry’s commitment to sustainability, aiming to make a substantial impact on environmental conservation. 

Additionally, innovations like Bound4Blue’s system demonstrate the potential of wingsails to significantly lower fuel-related costs and pollutant emissions, with estimates of up to 30% reduction​​. These advancements are not merely incremental improvements but represent a fundamental shift towards a more sustainable and eco-responsible boating industry.

Sustainable Manufacturing: A New Standard Of Boating

Sustainable manufacturing is introducing a new paradigm in boat construction, and serves as another important facet of the shift to sustainability in the industry at large. This approach involves carefully selecting materials, prioritising those that are renewable, recyclable, and have a lower environmental impact. Boat builders are adopting innovative techniques that not only enhance the longevity and durability of vessels but also reduce their ecological footprint. This shift extends to the manufacturing process, where energy efficiency and waste minimisation are key objectives. The result is a new breed of boats that align with environmental conservation goals, setting a precedent for future developments in the industry.

Alongside material selection, the boating industry focuses on revolutionising its production practices to align with sustainability goals. This includes implementing energy-efficient technologies and systems in manufacturing facilities to reduce the overall carbon footprint of production. Boat manufacturers are also exploring ways to reduce water usage and manage waste more effectively, ensuring a more sustainable production cycle. These efforts are complemented by a growing emphasis on lifecycle assessments of boats, considering their environmental impact from cradle to grave. This comprehensive approach to sustainable manufacturing is not just a trend but a fundamental shift, signalling a more responsible and environmentally conscious future in boat building.

Ferretti Yachts’ Infynito line is a prime example of this trend, featuring yachts fitted with a solar roof that generates electricity to charge the onboard lithium battery pack. Speaking at DIBS 2023, Bogdan Borascu, Marketing Director of Ocean 360, the exclusive UAE dealer for the Ferretti Group brands, said the industry is seeing more innovation in watercraft and water toys. “Here, we see that the push for green energy is even stronger and easier to achieve, because of the smaller size of the craft,” he said at the show. “In line with this, Belassi, the ocean manufacturer of the Burrasca – a marine hypercraft – is preparing to introduce a fully electric stand-up jet ski.  We also have the SEABOB brand, which, since its inception, has focused on green energy and they have electric-powered water sleds.”

Sailing Towards A More Sustainable Horizon

The Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS) plays a crucial role in highlighting and advancing the boating industry’s journey towards sustainability. As a platform where the latest innovations in electric and hybrid boats, wingsails, and sustainable manufacturing are showcased, DIBS is not just reflecting the current trends but actively shaping a more sustainable future for boating. The event provides a unique opportunity for industry leaders and enthusiasts to witness firsthand how these eco-friendly practices are integrated into modern boating

Its commitment towards a greener way of life also extends beyond trade visitors to lifestyle consumers. At the 2023 event, DIBS debuted S.E.A Mission: Sustainable, Environmental Action, to provide visitors with a range of solutions that cater to a sustainable way of living, from refillable water bottles to SPF in eco-friendly packaging.

Register your interest in the 2024 Dubai International Boat Show now and witness the latest sustainable boating advancements when the event kicks off!