New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that Maid of the Mist, which has been navigating the waters of the Lower Niagara River since 1846, will launch later this year two new all-electric, zero-emission passenger vessels constructed in the United States.
Rendering of the new electric Maid of the Mist vessels
The catamaran-style vessels will provide more than 1.6 million guests from around the world with an up-close, iconic view of Niagara Falls. The vessels feature a wide stance, resulting in a smooth, quiet ride, allowing guests to better enjoy the roar and majesty of Niagara Falls.
Designed by Propulsion Data Systems, the new totally integrated vessels are currently under construction by Burger Boat Company in Manitowoc, Wisc. In mid-May, the modules will be transported to Niagara Falls and lowered onto the Maid of the Mist dry dock and maintenance facility for assembly. Following completion of construction, launch and certification, the new vessels will be placed into service in mid-September.
ABB will supply a comprehensive integrated power and propulsion solution for the new-build vessels, including lithium-ion battery packs and an onshore charging system, enabling sustainable operation with maximum reliability.
Powered by ABB’s zero-emission technology, the two fully-electric vessels will take tourists to the heart of the Niagara Falls, undisturbed by engine noise or exhaust fumes. Batteries will be recharged for seven minutes after each trip to 80% capacity, allowing for maximum efficiency and battery life.
The hull of the new vessels features an icon of the electricity symbol within a water droplet surrounded by a turbine with Niagara Falls in the background. The color scheme is environmentally-friendly green combined with the blue of the water.
Maid of the Mist VI (1990) and Maid of the Mist VII (1997), will be retired from service when the new vessels begin operating.
New York is leading the way in the transition to an electric transportation system. The Maid of the Mist’s conversion to an all-electric fleet is a bold move that shows the world we take our commitment to lowering carbon emissions seriously. The Niagara Power Project has been a long time partner to the Maid the Mist and we are pleased to support the Maid going electric and making our environment cleaner and greener with every trip.— Gil C. Quiniones, President and CEO at the New York Power Authority
Maid of the Mist first launched in 1846, making it one of North America’s longest running tourist attractions. Maid of the Mist vessels have been continuously operating tours to the base of Niagara Falls for 134 consecutive years, providing guests from around the world with an iconic experience.
In 2012 Maid of the Mist faced closure in the absence of storage space for its boats on the New York side of the river. Governor Cuomo struck a deal to keep the boats running and produce increased revenues for Niagara Falls State Park. The Maid of the Mist Corporation agreed to invest $32 million in the former Schoellkopf Power Station site near the falls to make it suitable for the winter storage and maintenance of its boats. Under the memorandum, the company agreed to increase its license payments to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, totaling $105 million over 30 years—three times the revenues that were projected for the 30-year period when a contract was initially approved in 2002.
The new Maid of the Mist vessels build on a $70-million revitalization of Niagara Falls State Park. The initiative has renewed the park’s major viewing areas including Luna Island, Prospect Point, Lower Grove, Three Sisters Islands, North Shoreline Trail, Luna Bridge, and Terrapin Point with new pedestrian walkways, enhanced landscaping, new benches, light posts and railings. Under Governor Cuomo’s NY Parks 2020 program, the state has made a multi-year commitment to revitalize state parks and includes $110 million in the 2019-20 State Budget for park improvement projects.