World Ocean Day ships into Marblehead

Sustainable Marblehead hosted its third annual World Ocean Day celebration Sunday afternoon, featuring the Hood 26E, a brand-new, all-electric center-console boat designed by the Marblehead-based CW Hood Yachts. 

The purpose of World Ocean Day is “to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans,” according to the United Nations.

World Ocean Day is June 8, though Marblehead’s celebration was originally scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 4. It was rescheduled due to inclement weather. 

That, however, was not the case this time — with clear, blue skies and the sun shining down on the harbor. 

The event featured a number of stations focused on educating the public and spreading awareness about the impacts that single-use plastics and climate change are having on the ocean. 

Sustainable Marblehead board member and Sailors for the Sea Skipper Rob Howie said the focus of events like these is to spread awareness, with the end goal being getting people to create change.

“You first have to create awareness of what all this stuff is about and why people should care,” Howie said. “From there, you create understanding. Now I’m aware of it and I understand it, and then ultimately, a personal commitment.” 

Multiple stands were featured including one that showed waste collected from four of Marblehead’s beaches. Those who went up to the stand were invited to guess which beach the waste was taken from. Sustainable Marblehead Executive Director Elaine Leahy said that it’s important for people to see the types of harmful materials that are finding their way into the ocean, affecting wildlife and habitats.

“One of our goals at Sustainable Marblehead is reducing waste and keeping our beaches clean,” Leahy said. “If any of these things wash out to sea, there’s going to be microplastics, plastic and danger for the ocean critters.”

Just before 2 p.m., C.W. Hood founder Chris Hood cruised into the harbor with the Hood 26E, which made little to no noise due to its lack of a gas-powered engine. 

The 26-foot boat was designed by Hood and Yacht Designer David Robison. The process began roughly five years ago.

“Going all-electric was a lot of fun because we got to really design from the ground up,” said Hood. 

The high-speed boat can reach a top speed of roughly 40 knots and has an inboard-outboard motor so that it can be beached or driven in shallow waters.

With the boat being fully electric, Hood said it will be a perfect fit for Marblehead and the surrounding area because of short drives to places like Brown Island that will help conserve the battery charge. 

Robison said they started building the boat when “electric boats didn’t make any sense yet,” but knew that it was only a matter of time before they did. Five years later, they are showcasing the prototype to the public. 

Though there are no charging stations on the harbor currently, Robison expects them to come to town within the next few years as electric boats like the Hood 26E become more accessible, similar to the growth in electric-car availability.

“It’s closer to being the right boat for a lot of people. As the technology comes around, the batteries are getting better and better,” Robison said. “We think it’s the right time for this. Everybody knows a lot of this change is coming.”

“We don’t have charging stations on the harbor yet but how many years ago was it that we didn’t have charging stations in the rest stops?” Robison added.