Electric Sofa Boat Wows Crowds

If you attended last week’s Abu Dhabi Yacht Show, then no doubt you saw this unusual tender. You may have even hitched a ride onboard. It’s called the electric sofa boat. And it’s being marketed as a zero-emission, more appealing method of transport particularly for families and women. Measuring 3.5 meters (about 11½ feet), the electric sofa boat is the brainchild of a company called Abra Marine, based in the United Arab Emirates. Martin Mai, managing director of Abra Marine, says, “I wanted to offer boats that were ...

2nd March 2010.
By Diane Byrne

electric sofa boat

If you attended last week’s Abu Dhabi Yacht Show, then no doubt you saw this unusual tender. You may have even hitched a ride onboard.

It’s called the electric sofa boat. And it’s being marketed as a zero-emission, more appealing method of transport particularly for families and women.

Measuring 3.5 meters (about 11½ feet), the electric sofa boat is the brainchild of a company called Abra Marine, based in the United Arab Emirates. Martin Mai, managing director of Abra Marine, says, “I wanted to offer boats that were enjoyable to women and families – low noise, easy-to-handle craft that are perfect for quiet sundowners or a more glamorous arrival at a private yacht than in a tender.” A joystick takes care of steering, and it runs on rechargeable batteries that reportedly allow 12 hours of continuous, quiet operation.

Creature comforts include a sun canopy over the seating area, which can also be folded down, as seen in the photo above. The soft-foam perimeter should prevent marring your superyacht when it pulls up alongside. Options include leather seats, cocktail tables, a stereo, and even a two-sofa setup.

Abra Marine is also developing a solar-powered sofa boat, with solar panels that are said to generate 1,000 kW at their peak, translating to 10 continuous hours of operation. In the meantime, an alternate choice is the “B2B” model, which is being promoted as a way to have confidential business meetings on the water. Whether the idea catches on or not, it’s worth noting that the B2B includes laptop docking stations and a handy refrigerator.

The electric sofa boat is available through Belevari Marine, an Abu Dhabi-based brokerage and charter company. The basic model is offered at AED59,000 (United Arab Emirates dirhams), which is about $16,070. Belevari Marine also anticipates chartering the boats within Abu Dhabi.

Some of you may be shaking your heads over this sofa boat, but something tells me it’s going to appeal to at least one owner.


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Diane Byrne

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Diane M. Byrne is the founder and editor of the website Megayacht News. A longtime yachting writer, she contributes to Super Yacht World, Superyacht Business, Boat Exclusive, and other magazines. She is additionally a member of the International Superyacht Society Board of Directors and a founding member of the U.S. Superyacht Association.
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