A longtime Niagara Falls attraction has launched two new all-electric, zero-emission passenger vessels that will cruise along the majestic falls.
During an Oct. 6 press conference, representatives from the Maid of the Mist joined others from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, New York Power Authority and ABB Marine & Ports to share the news about these catamaran-style (double-hulled) ships.
In operation since 1846, the iconic boat tour attraction is welcoming these 2020 additions in response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s initiative in target of an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“The new all-electric vessels were designed to be in line with Cuomo’s efforts to make New York State a premier environmentally friendly tourism destination,” said John Percy, president and CEO of Destination Niagara USA.
The group-shared announcement also unveiled the involvement of each participating company, office and organization. According to a media release, the New York Power Authority will provide clean and renewable hydropower for the vessels to operate and technical support for their electrification along with ongoing monitoring of their electricity usage.
ABB Marine & Ports supplied and integrated high-capacity battery packs and a comprehensive integrated power and propulsion solution, including an onshore charging system, that will enable the vessels to operate both sustainably and reliably.
Percy of Destination Niagara USA also noted that the new vessels will provide passengers with an enhanced visitor experience in a new and appreciating way – with no engine noise. “The all-electric vessels offer a quieter ride, which allows visitors to hear the roar of the Falls more than ever before,” Percy said.
The boats are called James V. Glynn and Nikola Tesla. James V. Glynn is named in honor of the longtime Maid of the Mist Chairman and CEO James V. Glynn who is celebrating his 70th year with the corporation. Nikola Tesla is named for the Serbian-born engineer behind the design and construction of the world’s first hydro-electric power plant, located in Niagara Falls.
On each vessel’s exterior, a blue and green colored pattern symbolizes the Maid of the Mist’s investment in green energy. Each side of the vessels contains a water droplet icon with three elements: waves of water representing Niagara Falls, a lightning bolt to symbolize electricity and the turbine to characterize hydroelectric power, with a blue line representing the water flowing from the upper deck of the vessel into the turbine.
Maid of the Mist cruises start and end on the American side of Niagara Falls, which partly borders New York State.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Maid of the Mist has implemented a number of operational changes, including limiting occupancy in all boats and elevators at less than 50% capacity. Directional arrows and signage are to remind visitors to maintain social distancing. Other implementations extend to requiring all visitors to wear a face covering as a condition of admission; enhanced cleaning; and health screenings for all staff.
Tickets for the Maid in the Mist can be purchased online in advance or at the ticket booth within Niagara Falls State Park. Tours start daily at 10 a.m. EST and depart every 15 minutes throughout the day. The last day of operation for the 2020 season is Sunday, Nov. 8.