An Island and an Engineer: The Inspiring Story Behind Three Mile Island’s New Electric Boat

AMC’s path to zero greenhouse gas emissions winds through some unexpected places. Today, it’s a boatyard in an industrial park beneath Boston’s Tobin Bridge.  

This hangar-sized work area is the headquarters of custom builder Boston Boatworks. A group from AMC Three Mile Island, a volunteer-run camp in New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee, is here for a status update. The boat they’ve come to see, the boat they’ve all worked towards for years, is different from the rest. It’s all-electric. 

Three Mile Island is remote—the island’s name comes from the distance to the shoreline town of Center Harbor. Since 1913, the volunteer community here has owned and operated a small boat, called a launch, to transport visitors to and from camp. This keeps the island accessible to campers of all backgrounds, not just boat owners.   

The current launch, Appy V (Appy is short for “Appalachian”), has been in service since 1980. We’re here to see its replacement, Appy VI. The former is a gas guzzler. It uses approximately 600 gallons of gasoline per year and accounts for more than a third of the island’s carbon footprint. The new Appy’s electric engine will be fully offset by solar panels at AMC Cardigan Lodge. 

“That’s the essence of electric propulsion. You can generate power through renewable sources [like] solar and wind. There’s only one source for gasoline,” says Boston Boatworks owner Scott Smith. 

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