Niagara Falls operator orders first US-built all-electric passenger boats


The following is text of a news release from the office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

(ALBANY, N.Y.) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced that Maid of the Mist, which has been navigating the waters of the Lower Niagara River since 1846, is preparing to launch the first two new all-electric, zero-emission passenger vessels constructed in the United States. Once launched later this year, the catamaran-style vessels will provide more than 1.6 million guests from around the world with an up-close, iconic view of Niagara Falls. The vessels feature a wide stance, resulting in a smooth, quiet ride, allowing guests to better enjoy the roar and majesty of Niagara Falls.

"Maid of the Mist tours of the world-famous Niagara Falls waterfalls and of the Niagara River Gorge are a signature tourism attraction of western New York," said Cuomo. "The new zero-emission boats will continue that proud tradition, while enhancing our efforts to make New York state a premier environmentally friendly tourism destination."

"The Maid of the Mist is one of the most iconic parts of the tourism experience here in New York and around the world," said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who made the announcement. "For generations, people from all walks of life have been able to get an up-close look at the majesty of Niagara Falls thanks to the historic Maid of the Mist attraction. Today, we are advancing it into the next century with a new fleet of all-electric vessels, which will transport visitors while protecting the health of our waterways and environment."

"It makes perfect sense for Maid of the Mist to be a world leader with the implementation of this green technology," Maid of the Mist President Christopher Glynn said. "The new vessels will carry our guests to the base of Niagara Falls, one of the world's largest sources of clean hydroelectric power."

Designed by Propulsion Data Systems, the new integrated vessels are currently under construction by Burger Boat Co. in Manitowoc, Wis. In mid-May, the modules will be transported to Niagara Falls and lowered onto the Maid of the Mist dry dock and maintenance facility for assembly. Following completion of construction, launch and certification, the new vessels will be placed into service in mid-September.

ABB, a pioneering technology leader in digital industries, will supply a comprehensive integrated power and propulsion solution for the newbuild vessels, including lithium ion battery packs and an onshore charging system, enabling sustainable operation with maximum reliability.

Powered by ABB's zero-emission technology, the two fully-electric vessels will take tourists to the heart of the Niagara Falls, undisturbed by engine noise or exhaust fumes. Batteries will be recharged for seven minutes after each trip to 80 percent capacity, allowing for maximum efficiency and battery life.

The hull of the new vessels features an icon of the electricity symbol within a water droplet surrounded by a turbine with Niagara Falls in the background. The color scheme is environmentally-friendly green combined with the blue of the water.

Maid of the Mist VI (1990) and Maid of the Mist VII (1997) will be removed from service when the new vessels begin operating.

By Professional Mariner Staff