Supported by the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, the project proposes a shuttle boat route to carry passengers through the Boka Bay, providing an alternative to the busy and often paralyzed summer roads. At the same time, the project would offer a beautiful way to experience the bay and the coastal cities from a new and exciting perspective. The project includes the construction of 9 vessels intended for the transportation of passengers and bicycles, as well as the development and installation of 13 berths in Herceg Novi, Tivat, Risan and Kotor with the introduction of three maritime lines: Herceg Novi - Tivat - Lepetane - Perast, Perast - Risan - Morinj and Herceg Novi - Tivat - Lepetane - Perast.
The concept is similar to the Swiss model of the seagulls (mouettes) - the small, yellow water taxis that facilitate easy transport around Geneva. Throughout the year, these public transport boats operate between 4 harbors in the city center to link both banks of Geneva Lake. The modern and comfortable boats, with a capacity of 60 seats, run every 10 minutes every day of the week, including holidays. Tickets run at an affordable price, ranging from 2,5 to 3 CHF (compare that to the current Lepetane-Kamenari ferry prices: 1 euro/bicycle and 4 euro/car, though free for pedestrians). This seems to be a brilliant concept and convenient way of transporting both locals and tourists. Instead of going around the bay on narrow and crowded roads, travelers could quickly take a boat and enjoy a trip on the sea, saving time, fuel and their sanity.
However, the Swiss experience we can adopt here is the design of the solar-electric boat as solar collectors already power some of the Geneva mouettes. Intended for short-distance travel, these boats are perfect for coastal and bay waters. The solar-powered electric boats also navigate in total silence, which is a significant bonus for reducing noise pollution. This further proves they are ideal for inter-island transport. The project is an essential step in the realization of the Low Carbon Montenegro initiative and is an excellent turn into the green direction of practical new technologies (naval architecture small craft design, mechanical and electrical design), with a rational design and engineering approach, and safety and reliability methods.
The vessels proposed by the project are the trimarans which have a capacity of 30 passengers and a hybrid electric/diesel engine for inland waterways navigation. The motors will be powered by two groups of 16 Crystal Plomb 200AH batteries filled with 30 photovoltaic panels installed on the vessel's roof. Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight into electricity and store it in batteries. Each panel has 279W or a total power of 8.1 kW. Without the power supply, it can operate up to 10 hours. The project includes the installation of four charging stations for the trimarans around the Bay.
By now, the memorandum of cooperation and support of the Sustainable Water Transport in Boka Bay was signed by the mayors of Kotor and Tivat. The administration of two municipalities is supposed to provide assistance with all necessary permits and navigation licenses for the establishment of sealine traffic. This also includes obtaining licenses for stations to board passengers, licenses for creating and displaying the electric boat schedule, and the project promotion both locally and internationally. Unlike their neighbors, the administration of Herceg Novi is hesitant towards the project because of the proposed technical specifications of the vessels. According to them, the hybrid engine performs a solar power vessel nominally, while the actual power is produced by diesel, making the ecological background of the whole project very questionable.
Under the memorandum, the International Grants and Consulting company is obliged to establish a company for the project implementation and engagement of the necessary sponsorship from international funds such as Life, Horizont, and others. Hopefully, by the next summer season, tourists in Montenegro will have a chance to take a trip around the Boka Bay using an ultra-modern and silent solar boat, enjoying its unique beauty without leaving a carbon footprint.