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Hybrid ferryboat cruises to Alcatraz

Planning to tour one of the US’s most infamous prisons? Now you can do so while minimising your carbon footprint too.

Alcatraz Cruises, which contracts with the US National Park Service to provide sightseeing ferryboat service to Alcatraz Island, last week launched the Hybrid Hornblower, a vessel powered by wind, solar and diesel energy.

Billed as the nation’s “first known hybrid ferryboat,” the Hornblower sports two 10-foot-tall (3 meters) wind turbines and a solar cell array on its rooftop. Both systems feed into battery banks that provide power for the vessel’s electronics and propulsion.

The cruise operator says it eventually plans to bring similar hybrid ferryboats into service for other tours in San Francisco, as well for cruises to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York City.

The Hornblower is green in other ways as well: it employs all-LED lighting, features interior countertops made from recycled vodka bottles and meets the US Green Building Council’s criteria for recycled materials. In fact, the entire 64-foot (19.5 meter) vessel is itself recycled: it was once used as a catamaran for commercial diving operations.

“The Hornblower Hybrid is not only the next step in Alcatraz Cruises’ goal of becoming the greenest concessioner in the National Park Service,” said Terry MacRae, the cruise company’s CEO. “With this vessel we hope to become a model of environmental innovation for the city of San Francisco and state of California.”

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