Copper Country Boat Tours offers electric boat experience this season

The tour boat, the 'Dragonfly', is powered by 16 6-volt batteries with a lifespan of six years and comes equipped with a heating system for colder rides.
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 6:52 PM EDT
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HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - After a long winter, Copper Country Boat Tours is entering its third season of business.

Owner Dominic Snell offers a variety of rides aboard his boat, the ‘Dragonfly’, out of Hancock. The ‘Dragonfly’ is a fully electric Duffy boat, powered by 16 6-volt batteries, which last for about six years each.

According to Snell, he offers the only electric boat tour in Michigan.

“It’s like sailing without the work,” said Snell. “It’s a beautiful ride, and by the end of the day you don’t smell like fumes, or your ears aren’t ringing from the loud thunderous engine noises.”

The batteries also power a heating system, keeping passengers warm on colder rides. Separately, a solar panel power lights aboard the boat for night tours.

Snell says the batteries allow him to drive for hours on end at the right speeds.

“At full speed ahead, that’s 6 miles per hour, I can get about 12 hours out of that,” continued Snell. “So, if I go half the speed, I can get half the battery life, which is about 6 hours.”

Snell also says an electric boat gives a better tour experience than other boats. He doesn’t have to speak loudly over the sound of the engines when talking about points of interest. It is also environmentally friendly, with no noise to scare nearby wildlife, or the chance of leaking oil or fuel to pollute water.

Following his first ride aboard, passenger Matthew Roberts noticed these differences compared to other rides.

“The fumes are usually a problem for my wife, for one,” said Roberts. “She has a major problem with the fumes of diesel or gas on boats, so this was quite the experience for that. Very quiet.”

Snell says he is looking to replace the current batteries with lithium ones for better efficiency and lifespan. He also says he will be hiring a captain in the near future to handle tour operations.

The price for a historical tour is $28, and $30 for sunset and twilight tours.

For more information and to schedule a tour, check out the Copper Country Boat Tours website by clicking here.