Skip to main content

Maine gets stimulus funds for repowers

Maine has gotten creative in securing federal stimulus dollars for its marine industry.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection was granted $1.2 million in federal funds to help repower at least 40 commercial vessels, from lobster boats to ferries.

The Environmental Protection Agency approved the move that would repower all 40 boats with cleaner diesels that are Tier 2-compliant, said Susan Swanten, executive director of the Maine Marine Trades Association. Local boatyards many of which service both commercial and recreational boats will do the work, keeping mechanics busy as an already sluggish season slows for winter.

"We're really excited about that because it's a totally different approach to boosting our economy here, and it's a huge environmental initiative because it will remove an incredible amount of pollutants [from the air and water]," Swanten said. "With diesel engines, you're worried about nitrous oxide and particulate matter, so these owners will get to breath easier when boats are repowered."

Though the program was rolled out just last week, a few boats have already been repowered. Because the program uses stimulus money, the work has to be completed by August 2010, Swanten said.

The grant picks up half the cost of the new engine and half the cost of the repower work. The balance will be paid by the vessel owners, who are largely lobstermen.

"It's not easy for them, as you can imagine," Swanten said.

However, a technician who has completed one repower told Swanten that vessel operators should save around 20 gallons of fuel a day, which should eventually offset their share of the expense.

The Harvard School of Public Health has also gotten involved. The school has performed baseline testing with 20 of the commercial operators to examine their lung functions. A year after the repowers, the school will check the owners again for changes.

— Reagan Haynes



Rays of Light

A key indicator of U.S. consumer confidence rose for the first time in four months in August as the economy added 315,000 jobs.


Yanmar Announces Sales, Marketing Hires

The company has hired Bas Eerden as global sales manager and Michele Durkin as global marketing manager.


So, You Want To Be a Yacht Broker

Tips to help build a network through an online presence which is essential to success


Ian Explodes Into Category 4 Hurricane

The historic hurricane is expected to make landfall this afternoon between Naples and Venice, Fla.


Premier Marine Announces New Minnesota Facility

The pontoon builder recently completed a 150,000-square-foot building with new corporate offices and expanded manufacturing facilities.


Scout Boats Recognizes Top Dealers

Seven Seas Yacht Sales of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., was recognized as the boatbuilder’s top dealer worldwide.


TowBoatUS Vessels Go Pink

Five of TowBoatUS’s response fleet are going pink for the month of October to help increase breast cancer awareness on the water.


Fork in the Channel

Boat registration totals for July mostly revealed considerable weakness compared with a year earlier, and tumbled back into a steeper downtrend than the prior month’s comparisons.


Inflation Stymies Boat Sales

Inventories of new and used boats are improving at the retail level but are still considered comparatively lean, according to the results of the monthly Pulse Report survey.