A Kelowna man’s electric boats are gaining world-wide attention.
Mark Fry’s first boat, the Cruiser C26, a 29 foot-long vessel, is currently on the market for $149,000.
It’s the first plug-in boat in Western Canada and features a bathroom similar in size to an airplane’s, a fully enclosed helm with a central heating unit, USB ports, a swim platform and tables.
There have been inquiries about using his boats for a taxi service in Victoria, as well as to cart supplies and be used for tourism in Zambia and India.
“Currently the boats they use (in Zambia) to look at giraffes and hippopotamus, they smell the fuel and they hear the engine and they (flee) so electric boats eliminate all that,” Fry said.
Besides the cruiser, Fry has designed four different boats, a water-taxi, a fully-enclosed sedan, an ambulatory vessel and a light cargo boat for transporting water filters up the flood plains in Zambia.
The cruiser can mosey along at up to 14 km/hr and can last for seven to eight hours on one battery charge. It can be charged overnight on a standard 1-10 socket.
Fry has also made an effort to source the boat’s parts from Canadian-made material.
“I went through some statistics for boats and found some 70,000 Canadians buy boats from the Unities States every year and that really irked me. I thought why don’t more Canadian boat builders building more boats? There used to be a lot more Canadian boat builders than there actually are,” he said.
He said in the U.S., Canadians are paying more with the difference in the currency rate.
“So my whole concept was I want this built in Canada, I want this built in the Okanagan and I want this build in Kelowna and I want as many parts sourced and manufactured in Canada,” Fry said.
The idea started when Fry and his wife wanted to buy an electric boat and when they couldn’t find one, they decided to create their own. He started Templar Marine Group in 2017.
“A majority of electric boat manufactures from around the world only made small 10-foot, 12-foot boats,” he said. “The reverse side of that is that you a 50-foot catamaran that was semi-electric for $5.5 million and you had a tinkly electric boat for $750,000, but there was nothing out there for the size we wanted.”
So far, he’s sold five boats with 72 people interested in seeing the trial runs, including BC Ferries.
As Canada has 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water, he’s hoping the interest in electric boats will take off.
“What concerns us as parents is what kind of planet are we leaving for our children? It’s terrible and to be honest, the more electric boat manufactures the better and the more of them that are built in Canada the better,” Fry said.
The company is working on sourcing manicuring parts in Canada, but there are some parts of the boat that can’t be sourced including the engine, which comes from Germany.
As a sailor for more than 20 years, Fry was born in Toronto but grew up in Ireland. He’s helped design boats with companies around the world.
“It’s a career I started when I was 19 for the first time and I spent 20 years at sea. It was something I loved to do and I started my first company… I’ve been around the world 10 times, I’ve got over 300,000 miles at sea,” he said.