One of San Francisco’s oldest vessel operators is learning a new trick. Red & White Fleet, operating in the San Francisco Bay for more than 125 years, is a certified San Francisco Green Business with a commitment to sustainable tourism and a zero-emissions fleet. This September, the sight-seeing cruise company launched the largest, all-aluminum, passenger vessel powered by hybrid electric technology from BAE Systems.
Red and White Fleet President Tom Escher doesn’t expect the change to happen overnight, but he believes this is the start of something positive for all. He plans to share the knowledge he is gaining about clean vessels with his customers, competitors, and anyone else interested in a cleaner environment.
“Our company’s main objective is to create lasting, positive memories of San Francisco and the Bay in the most sustainable manner possible,” says Escher. “It’s important now and for the future that we work to make the smallest energy footprint in the Bay.”
The first step in this journey is the construction of the Enhydra, which was built by the west coast shipyard All American Marine, using BAE Systems’ proven hybrid electric system.
Escher says, “We chose to work with BAE Systems because of its expertise in systems integration and hybrid and electric technologies. We selected All American Marine because of its proficiency in working with light-weight aluminum and its readiness to partner with BAE Systems.”
All American Marine was eager to work with BAE Systems because it sees more interest from customers searching for viable solutions to reduce emissions, fuel consumption, and operating costs.
Matt Mullett, chief executive officer, All American Marine said, “Even with fuel prices hovering within the affordable range, vessel operators are looking for more efficient propulsion systems.”
Red and White Fleet is a leader in sustainable practices within the maritime industry. It repowered its fleet with EPA-tiered engines well ahead of compliance dates, and has been researching and using alternative fuels such as natural gas, bio-diesel, and now hybrid electric. Advancing further, the Enhydra hybrid electric vessel will be implementing a plug-in charge to achieve even more fuel and cost reductions by replacing onboard energy with renewable grid energy that is lower and more stably priced than diesel. Its next step in clean, marine technology is the first zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell ferry in the United States, using BAE Systems’ technology, which is currently powering more than 10,000 electric drive buses and nearly 20 hydrogen fuel cell electric buses.
The Enhydra was first recognized as one of the most significant boats of the 2018 and later at the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans, it earned the prestigious honor of being named, Boat of the Year.