Electric boat underwater radiated noise and its potential impact on species of conservation interest

Mar Pollut Bull. 2024 Feb:199:115937. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2023.115937. Epub 2023 Dec 26.


Electric boats are thought to be noiseless, but in-situ measurements are generally rare. The Underwater Radiated Noise (URN) of 8-m Trimaran Pontoon Boat with two outboard electric engines was measured in the Miramare Marine Protected Area (Trieste, Italy), together with the URN of a fibreglass 5-m boat, with a outboard gasoline engine, for comparisons. International standards and guidelines for shallow waters were considered. URN were provided in one-third octave band and in narrow band spectra. The electric boat produced a low input of underwater noise at low frequencies. Given a low-frequency hearing sensitivity, the listening space reduction (LSR) was lower when generated by the electric than by combustion engine boat for the brown meagre, a local Teleost fish. No difference was found for the bottlenose dolphin LSR although continuous, tonal, high frequency components generated by the electric boat are expected to be highly detrimental for the bottlenose dolphin.

Keywords: Bottlenose dolphin; Brown meagre; Marine protected area; Northern Adriatic Sea; Recreational boats; Underwater Radiated Noise.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bottle-Nosed Dolphin*
  • Fishes
  • Hearing
  • Noise
  • Ships*