I recently interviewed Jürgen Huber who designed and built a unique solar powered houseboat called Bauhaus. Originally from Germany he is an admirer of both the band Bauhaus and the principles of the famous Bauhaus school of art and design. The design of his electric boat combines sophisticated insulation and the most up to date technology to enable sustainable living and cruising.
This reminded me of a few of our member organisations who run electrically powered boats as part of their community projects.
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust run three trip boats, the newest of which is Wiggonholt. This electric boat can carry up to 50 passengers and is wider than a conventional narrowboat. It has an access lift for passengers with mobility difficulties. Their boats are based on the Surrey/West Sussex border.
The Beauchamp Lodge Settlement in London also has an electric barge. Moored in Paddington this environmentally friendly boat runs on electric batteries instead of a diesel engine. Beauchamp is the only boat of its size on London’s canals to be fully accessible to wheelchair users. The wheelchair ramp, electric lift and accessible toilets mean that anyone can enjoy the boat. The charity uses the boat as a floating classroom providing opportunities for learning and leisure on London’s canals.
In addition to their community work, projects like these raise awareness of alternative sources of energy. Jurgen would like to get more boaters considering alternative power sources. He says,
“Look for alternative options. If you only cruise a few miles in the summer months solar power may suit you. Take away what you can from Bauhaus. Don’t just think you have to buy a diesel motor.”
His website www.bauhausbarge.com offers advice on how to make your boat more sustainable or ecological.
To find a community boating project near you search here: NCBA members.
Image credit: Wey and Arun Canal Trust