How Technology Is Changing Boats

By: | September 17th, 2018

Boating used to be a lot simpler — you’d just put your boat out into the water and navigate using the sun or the stars, relying on the turn of the Earth and your own instincts to guide you safely back to port. It was a different period, and as with most things, times have changed.

Technology is shaping and changing our world, and that is extending to boats now, too. How is technology changing boats and boating in general? Here are three ways.

  1. Sustainability at Sea

Sustainability is a popular buzzword right now — green energy, renewable resources, and other eco-friendly options are popping up everywhere, even in boat-building technology.

Taiwan has created Polli Boats, which are constructed entirely of recycled polymers or plastics. British adventurer, environmentalist, and ecologist David de Rothschild also built a boat with nothing but recycled plastic bottles.

Wind power isn’t a new concept for boating — it has been used to power ships and carry them across the seas for centuries. Using wind turbines to power motors, on the other hand, is a newer concept, as is solar power.

Solar sails, which you usually only see on spacecraft, can capture both wind and solar power for boats at the same time. While these are currently only used for unmanned ships, we could easily adapt them for larger passenger watercraft, reducing our reliance on gas- or diesel-powered engines that create emissions and can pollute the waterways.

  1. Attracting Fish

Fishing is fun, unless you spend days out on the water without ever getting a bite. Technology is helping with this, too — electronic fish attractors are expensive, but they can help even the worst fisherman catch something worth posting on social media.

These devices work in many ways, either by generating bait-fish sounds or vibrations that mimic the movement of fish. They may not always be allowed depending on where you’re fishing, so make sure you check local laws and regulations before you drop a fish attractor in the water.

  1. Colorful Protection

Painting your boat is a relatively new concept — it began in the 1980s as a way to protect the hull and ensure longevity, but it hasn’t changed much since then. We still spray the paint on, it still contains harsh chemicals that can contaminate the surrounding waterways, and you still need to reapply it periodically to ensure it doesn’t break down.

Gel coatings can provide a variety of different colors — even custom graphics — with a layer that will protect your boat for years to come. These coatings last longer and are safer for the environment — they don’t chip or peel off like paint does, so they won’t potentially contaminate the waterways you’re exploring while you’re enjoying your boat.

Technology is changing the way we think about a lot of things, including boating. If you’ve got an old boat taking up space in your dock, why not take the time to upgrade it? You might find yourself spending even more time on the water — simply because it’s more fun!

Marshall Smith

Technology, engineering, and design enthusiast.

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