California Commercial Electric Propulsion


Since 2009, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has had commercial harbor craft regulations that required older diesel engines to be upgraded to cleaner engines with reduced emission in order to reduce NOx, ROG and PM10 emissions.

Many of these engine replacements have been partially funded by CARB’s Carl Moyer Program administered through 35 local air districts

In March of 2018, CARB staff proposed that further emissions reductions were needed and updated commercial harbor craft regulations were needed to:

  • Achieve reduction in community health risk, particularly disadvantaged communities
  • Attain regional air quality standards
  • Mitigate climate change

With these regulations, California will be the first state in the United States requiring some categories of commercial vessels to be electric. Specifically, the proposed commercial harbor craft regulations would require:

  • All short-run ferries with a run less than 3 nautical miles to be zero-emission by January 1, 2026
  • New excursion vessels (whale watching, sunset cruises, etc) are required to be zero-emission capable hybrids that are at least 30% powered by zero-emissions energy sources

Other categories of vessels categories that were excluded from the previous regulations, such as pilot boats, are now included and required to upgrade their engines to cleaner technology. Vessels that were already regulated have new compliance dates for upgrading their engines to EPA Tier 4 diesel engines or pursue an alternative compliance pathway such as low-emissions fuels or electric propulsion.

For the vast majority of vessel categories electric propulsion can be an effective strategy for:

  • Reducing emissions
  • Decreasing maintenance due to wear and tear at low RPMs on clean diesel engines
  • Increasing funding available for vessel repowering
  • Futureproofing a vessel against any regulatory changes
  • Providing a quiet, fume-free experience for passengers and/or crew

If you have a commercial vessel in California and would like to consider using electric propulsion to satisfy the harbor craft regulations, Green Yachts would like to help you understand your options.

Fill out the form below and Green Yachts will schedule a call with you and give you the following information:

  • The compliance deadline according to the new regulations
  • The Moyer funding available to you for a clean diesel repower or an electric propulsion conversion based on your boat’s horsepower, hours of operation and engine tier
  • Provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the different electric propulsion strategies
  • Provide a ballpark estimate of how much an electric propulsion conversion would cost
  • Components and specs for an electric propulsion system that would meet your needs
  • Share references in California you can contact to learn about what it is like having Green Yachts do an electric conversion




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