Electric Boats for Lakes & Harbors
Electric boats offer silent cruising perfect for community lakes, small lakes, and harbors. You won’t have the hassle of refilling your gas tank. All you have to do is plug in or purchase one with solar panels to completely go off the grid.
Cruising on an electric boat usually occurs on either a pontoon boat or on a cruiser, or as I like to call them “jungle cruisers” like the famous ride at Disneyland. Below we will cover the popular models that we have seen and tested on our community lake (lake Serena).
Pontoon boats ride higher than cruising boats as they are, of course, on top of pontoons. Pontoon boats are generally stable unless you pack too much weight/too many people into one of the corners of the boat. Be sure to use a bit of common sense as you distribute your weight. Tell your guests not to be offended if you have to split up some of the heavier folks for better weight distribution.
I find that pontoon boats are quite a bit easier to enter from dockside as they are raised up. You won’t have that awkward step down that you get when you enter a cruiser party boat.
Popular makers of these style of boats are, Apex Marine, Bennington, and Electracraft.
Although a bit less popular than pontoon boats in our community lake, cruiser boats hold their own in salt water ports. They are extremely popular in the southern California ports from New Port all the way to Ventura Harbor. It’s a bit of a chore to step into this style of boat, but once you are inside it feels like you are a part of the water.
Popular manufacturers of lapstrake hull cruisers are: Electracraft and Duffy.
Electracraft is based out of Westlake Village, California, so they have a large west coast following. They carry both pontoon style boats and lapstrake cruisers. Prices range from $21,000 to $39,995 for full electric powered boats including custom sized trailers.
Electracraft Pontoon Designs
They currently offer three styles of pontoon boats:
The 15 foot trimaran (152TR) seats 8 and is the least expensive of the series. The 16 and 18 foot versions seat 10 and 12 adults respectively.
In our community lake, lake serena, these are the most popular boats. The 18 foot variety is the largest offering that fits within our particular lake regulations. Be sure to check with your community to verify if the 182TR is small enough to meet your community’s standards.
Electracraft Lapstrake Designs
Electracraft offers 2 versions of their lapstrake (think Disneyland’s jungle cruiser) design. The 15LS and the 18LS. As with their pontoon names the 15 and 18 are the measurements for the hull of each vessel. Expect to pay a bit over $20,000 for the 15 foot version and $31,000 for a 2020 18LS.
Apex Marine Qwest Pontoon Boats
Apex marine’s Quest lineup has weight limit and distribution issues which have swayed me away from purchasing one. They sell new 2020 models in the $20,000 range making it so that one has to consider them.
The Gillgetter and LS options look attractive, but when I see them cruising around our lake I am reminded why I haven’t picked one up. One or two heavy people on any of the corners will make it appear as if the boat is ready to sink. Of course, all the captain needs to do is make sure that the weight is evenly distributed and there won’t be any issues.
One of my favorite options on the LS models are the fold out bench seats. Once folded down they make perfect lounging positions for grabbing some summertime rays. However, a person over 6 feet tall won’t be able to lounge comfortably as their feet will hang off the ege.
The electric benningtons that we see on our community lake are SUPER SEXY. When I ride with my friends or I tour their local showroom I ALWAYS want to buy one. My debate is that I can’t have multiple boats, so I need to really narrow down my search and be absolutely sure.
Besides the awesome look of their pontoon boats, the quality of the seats is unrivaled. To make an all-weather material that is as comfortable as many mattresses is no small feat.
Duffy cruisers are extremely popular, if you have ever been to New Port Harbor you have probably seen thousands of them. If you haven’t and don’t believe how popular they are in some ports check out the background of this video from the Duffy founder, Marshall Duffield.
The 16 and 18 foot designs are similar to the 15LS and 18LS boats made by electracraft. However; Duffy takes it to a new level by also selling three 22 foot versions of their vessels.
Expect to pay from $40,000 to $55,000 for these elite party cruisers.