Green Propulsion Helping Preserve Water Access
Clean water — especially in urban areas — is becoming more and more of a hot button topic all across the United States. As additional source-water bodies are being protected, boaters and anglers are finding themselves in the crosshairs of restricted access. Fortunately, some innovative anglers and new technology are helping change that.
One such example of actually expanding public access in a time of dwindling on-the-water resources are the Metro Reservoirs, located just outside Baltimore, Maryland. The Metro system, comprised of Liberty, Loch Raven, and Pretty Boy reservoirs, is the primary source of water for the city of Baltimore. Restricted to the use of electric motors only, these impoundments are some of the most pristine waters found anywhere in close proximity to a major metropolitan area.
Freeland, Maryland resident Mike Beck operates Beck’s Gunsmithing. In addition to providing bespoke gunsmithing services, Beck is one of the foremost authorities on converting and rigging conventional boats with electric propulsion for use on source-water bodies like the Metro Reservoirs. He’s been involved in the business for more than 35 years.
“A number of years ago, there was a move to shut these reservoirs down due to zebra mussels,” says Beck. “But Baltimore had allowed access to them since they had been built. No one in government really understood the commerce that these bodies of water generated.”
Beck said that after just one year, the closure caused a ripple effect with the closures of marine-related businesses, tackle shops, and other related businesses. The re-opening of the reservoirs was spearheaded by a coalition of both fresh- and saltwater fishermen.
“This is the only water access you really have close to Baltimore,” says Beck. “And it was really important to people that didn’t want to have to travel to get out on the water.”
The re-opening of the Metro Reservoirs was a big deal, and eventually spawned two major bass fishing clubs that host competitive events on the three impoundments. Beck has custom rigged a number of single and twin engine installations with remote, tiller, or stick steering for competitors.
From the beginning, Beck has seen a number of changes in the all-electric world: “It’s gone from just kind of putting around with traditional electric trolling motors to actually being able to get out and cover ground with actual electric-powered outboards like the Torqeedo,” says Beck.
Although he says that the company’s Cruise 4.0 is one of the most popular options for reservoir bass fishing, Beck said there are a number of
considerations to take into account when putting together an electric-only bass rig.
“Most guys let the customer determine how the boat is going to be rigged,” says Beck. “But you’ve got to consider what type of batteries you are going to use, as well as how to distribute them.”
Beck says lithium batteries like those manufactured by Torqeedo are less of a concern with regards to distribution because of their lightweight, compact design. But traditional lead acid batteries offer different challenges.
“Heavier batteries need to be distributed between the bow and the stern of the vessels, and you also need to make sure you’ve got adequate battery storage,” says Beck. Most boats that are converted weren’t built with that in mind.”
If too much of the load is distributed in the bow, Beck says body weight alone can’t compensate in helping to trim the vessel. That can translate into a loss of overall speed as well as a safety issue if the bow pitches too far down.
Beck’s personal rig is a 16-foot aluminum SeaNymph, weighing in at 560 pounds. With lithium batteries and twin Torqeedo 4.0s, he’s able to cruise at 11 mph with a maximum of 1 hour and 45 minutes run time.
“If it’s just me in the boat, I can reach planing status at 14 mph,” says Beck. “If you want easy access to fishing, this is the way to go.”
But not all are refurb boats. A new market segment is emerging and supporting custom boat builders like Reservoir Boat Works that are pushing the design envelope and specifically building electric-only watercraft.
To learn more about Beck and his unique electric conversion services, visit www.becksgunsmithing.com. To learn more about Torqeedo, the world’s leading manufacturer of green power solutions and and its unique line electronic propulsion and accessories, visit www.torqeedo.com.
Original Source; Sportsmans Lifestyle.com