New York’s Governor Cuomo announced a retrofitted electric canal boat to demonstrate benefits of no-emission engine; NYSERDA, NYSDOT partnership with Canal Corp. replaces diesel engine with electric motor
At 86, you might think it was long past time to retire.
Instead, the Tender 4 tugboat has a brand new all-electric engine, combining environmentally-sustainable engineering with retro yellow and blue style of the canal system in 1928.
The boat took Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri for a short ride after it was unveiled. The Tender 4 will be put to work removing buoys and doing canal maintenance work along the Utica section of the Erie Canal, New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton said.
The upgrade was made possible through collaboration with New York State Canal Corporation, NYSERDA and the New York State DOT, New West Technologies and Elco Motor Yachts.
Right now, about 54,000 homeowners get power supplied by the canal system, Stratton said. The all-electric engine was designed by Elco Motor Yachts and needs only to be charged at night before carrying out its duties on the Utica portion of the canal system.
The New York State Canal System is a navigable 524-mile inland waterway that spans upstate New York. The waterway connects the Hudson River with Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, and Lake Erie via the Niagara River.
The Canal System includes four Canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca; canalized natural waterways, plus five lakes: Oneida, Onondaga, Cross, Cayuga and Seneca; short Canal sections at Ithaca and Watkins Glen; feeder reservoirs, canals and rivers not accessible by boat from the Canal; and Canal terminals on Lake Champlain. The Canal System passes through 25 counties and close to 200 villages, hamlets and towns.
At one time, more than 50,000 people depended on the Erie Canal for their livelihood. From its inception, the Erie Canal helped form a whole new culture revolving around Canal life. For many, canal boats became floating houses, traveling from town to town. The father would serve as captain, while the mother cooked for the family and crew and the children, if old enough, would serve as “hoggees” and would walk alongside the mules to lead them along at a steady pace.
For those who traveled along the Canal in packet boats or passenger vessels, the Canal was an exciting place. Gambling and entertainment were popular pastimes on the Canal and often, families would meet each year at the same locations to share stories and adventures. Today, the Canal has returned to its former glory against a backdrop of tugboats and barges, tour boats and recreational vessels, fishermen and cyclists riding the former towpaths where mules once trod. The excitement of the past is alive and well.
The Erie Canal is famous in song and story. Proposed in 1808 and completed in 1825, the canal links the waters of Lake Erie in the west to the Hudson River in the east. An engineering marvel when it was built, some called it the Eighth Wonder of the World.