Witch has been building specialised clean-up boats for over 50 years, with some 200 debris and trash retrieval workboats deployed in harbours and waterways around the world. More than just an eyesore, it’s estimated that 300 million tons of plastic have entered the water since the 1940s, harming marine life and damaging ecosystems on which humans rely. Harbours are often the last opportunity to intercept plastic before it enters the ocean, where it is much more difficult to remove.
The Liverpool-based boatbuilder has announced that Torqeedo electric power is now offered as a replacement for the standard four-cycle outboards on its whole range of Versi-Cat litter collection craft and pontoon workboats.
“This is a clean, green, safe, zero-emission solution with long life, low maintenance and minimal operating costs,” said Water Witch director Jackie Caddick.
The Torqeedo propulsion package consists of a Cruise 10.0 outboard with two Power 48 intelligent lithium-ion batteries weighing just 36 kg each. A cockpit control panel gives the operator a view of system status, including range at current speed. The system delivers six to eight hours of service between charges.
The response from customers, according to the company, has been overwhelmingly positive.
“From high-end marinas to commercial harbours and even hydro-electric dams, the environmental benefits of a completely zero-emission solution have really sparked interest,” said Caddick. “In fact, many of our owners are also enquiring about converting their existing vessels to an all-electric drive. Retrofitting is very easy, basically just a straight swap. It’s a very cost-efficient option, and backed by the support of Torqeedo’s extensive worldwide warranty and after-sales support.”
This year, Water Witch is introducing a new, larger 8.0-meter boat to its Versi-Cat series with Torqeedo electric power as standard fit. The new model has a more traditional hull shape, which is designed to improve transit speeds to 10-11 knots using the same propulsion and provide better seaworthiness for operating in coastal waters. The new design also offers a more varied range of functions, including oil spill response.
“We have been impressed with the reliability and advanced technology of the latest Torqeedo electric mobility range,” Caddick said. “We are passionate about the environment, and we see this technology as a critical step towards being carbon-neutral in our efforts to keep plastic pollution from entering our oceans and landing on our beaches.”
“The main advantage of working with Torqeedo is, as a builder and vessel designer, we benefit from the engineering and technological developments put into the products, their highly efficient performance and reliability, and most importantly a cost-effective option for electric drive,” she added. “And the support available for professional installers is very impressive.”
Caddick believes that electric mobility will be the wave of the future for their specialised vessels. “Clients are increasingly looking towards green technology to support their water and waste management services, reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and create a better environment for their own stakeholders. We believe our fully electric solutions meet all these goals.”
“It just makes good sense that a boat working to clean up pollution should not add to the problem by causing pollution in the water or through emissions.”