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Roundtable: Work together to ‘green’ the industry

Marine dealers and manufacturers need to work together toward the common goal of "greening" the boating industry, industry experts said at a roundtable discussion sponsored last week by the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association.

More than 60 people attended the event, held at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., on the "green" trend and how marine businesses can take advantage of green technology to boost the boating industry.

Featured speakers included marine technical expert and writer Nigel Calder;  John Burman, vice president of Kingman Yacht Center in Cataumet, Mass.; Richard O'Meara, owner of Core Composites in Newport, R.I. and Fred Hashway Jr., director of government affairs for the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation.

The event was organized and moderated by John Stier, marine systems instructor at the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, R.I.

Calder discussed the possibility of boatbuilders looking at the design of vessels and how they could be more energy efficient, using devices such as hybrid power and batteries.

"The power distribution in boat systems has remained virtually unchanged since the 1970s," says Calder. "We have the potential for radical improvements in reliability and efficiency."

Burman spoke about solar power by discussing how Kingman Yacht Center installed 474 SunTech STP210 PV panels on three of the company's roofs in 2009. With state and federal discounts and grants, the out-of-pocket cost to the company was $79,320. Estimated energy savings for the company over 25 years could be up to $500,000, according to Burman.

O'Meara discussed opportunities for boatbuilders to look into other aspects of manufacturing, such as using boating composites for lighter construction materials for buildings.

Hashway discussed how wind farms will soon be a part of the state's future, as well as the country's. Hashway said the state is working with Deepwater Wind, a national wind farm company based in Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Texas, to conduct an environmental feasibility study for a wind farm near Block Island.

A more detailed report on the event will appear in the April issue of Soundings Trade Only.

- Elizabeth Ellis

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