Welcome to Electric Boating Holidays on the Norfolk Broads

The Brinks Prelude Electric Holiday Hire Boat

14 January 2024

Are you seeking a relaxing and sustainable boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads?

Look no further than our new electric holiday boat called the Brinks Prelude. As the world shifts towards more sustainable practices, Barnes Brinkcraft is excited to be a leader in introducing sustainably powered boating holidays on the Norfolk Broads.

Take the 360 Tour

Check The Brinks Prelude Availability Now!

Look around our first fully electric Broads holiday boat, designed and built in Norfolk.

You enter the boat through double doors at the rear into the rear cabin.  We recommend that the person who walks the dog in the morning bags this spot!  This very comfortable queen size walk around makes for a great night’s sleep.  The en-suite bathroom is well proportioned, with its own full-height shower (a rarity in many boats on the broads).  Walk through and you will find the second cabin on the starboard side.  It can be made up as a double or a twin.   Turn to port and you’ll find a galley kitchen. Complete with induction hob, twin under counter fridges, electric oven, separate microwave and of course a kettle

Into a very large and comfortable saloon. The saloon has a large electrically operated sunroof providing light and air. The interior helm seat can be altered to your preferred height.

Down the stairs, you’ll find another starboard cabin configured as a double or 2, to port you will find the second bathroom with a separate full-height shower.  And to the fore is a spacious queen-size bed with easy access and storage plus an overhead sunroof.

Heating via electricity alone remains a challenge, but the days of only using the heating only when the main boat engine runs are long gone on these boats. The boat is heated using 2 x 4kw diesel heaters.  One heating the forward end and saloon, the other heating the back of the boat and galley.

The Brinks Prelude delivers a peaceful and exciting holiday boat experience, helping sustain the Broads National Park’s amazing and delicate ecological environment. We love the quiet experience when using an electric boat; there is no better feel than pootling along with just the sound of the wash against the hull.

We launched our first Brinks Prelude Electric towards the end of the 2022 season and are confident that she will run on the electric batteries over a standard day’s cruising, and you will have plenty of power to run the heating, lights, hot water and cooking facilities.  In the summer the Prelude can run for two days on one charge.

Let’s explore the features and benefits of this new electric holiday boat compared to traditional diesel-fuelled holiday boats.

The benefits of Electric Holiday Boats on the Broads

Climate change and the increasing cost of fuel are driving all of us to think and act towards cleaner and more efficient means of propulsion, and this is particularly relevant to the holiday boating industry operating in areas of outstanding natural beauty with a finely balanced diversity of wildlife, flora and fauna that we all want to preserve and protect.

Our latest electric boats are propelled entirely by electric and can be driven for around 5 hours a day, before needing a backup or shoreline recharge. In operation, the electric propulsion system has zero emissions and provides a smoother and much quieter holiday boating experience than traditional diesel-fuelled propulsion systems.

At this pioneering stage, we realise that there aren’t sufficient shoreline outlets available at all mooring sites, so we have added an auxiliary backup engine to recharge the electric propulsion system. One day we hope there will be enough shoreline outlets to make auxiliary engines on electric boats on the Broads a thing of the past.

The no-compromise electric holiday boat experience 

The cabin of the Brinks Prelude contains everything needed for a comfortable boating holiday.  The Prelude has standard-size domestic appliances.  Two fridges built into the space under a 4 ring induction hob, a full oven and microwave are installed in the roomy galley.  All cabins have a least one standard double socket.  All of these contain 2 USB sockets, ideal for charging mobile devices.  The Brinks Prelude has free onboard Wi-Fi which also supports the streaming on the three smart tv’s and Bluetooth music system.  As long as there is a mobile signal you have unlimited data as part of your holiday.

Other features include an electric table lift to allow you to set the table at the perfect height, an electric sunroof, two large shower compartments with hot water, electric flush toilets, integrate heaters, and electric bow and stern thrusters that make the manoeuvrability of the boat much easier. The boat has inbuilt solar panels that help recharge the boat’s batteries.

For all intents and purposes, Brinks Prelude looks very similar to many boats built for the Norfolk Broads.  She is built to travel under all but the smallest bridges, providing access to around 85% of the beautiful Broads National Park. She has a low wash hull and is governed down to a maximum speed  – ensuring the local wildlife won’t be washed off their nests.

Thoughtful design features

Dual steering makes her a great all-year-round boat.  Enjoy the vistas from up top in the summer and choose a cosy spot below when needed. The upper deck is a new layout for Barnes Brinkcraft.  You can seat 3 by the helm, and you have two generous sunbathing cushions and a social spot for eating alfresco around a fixed table

Note the little window by the helm it contains a very useful hatch for passing refreshments up to the top deck. Grab and toe rails are positioned strategically and with a wide deck make her an easy boat to move around. The rear bathing platform provides easy access to paddle boards or rowing boats available as optional extras to make your exploring even more exciting. It’s also a super spot to enjoy fishing from.

The electric winch makes dropping a mud weight a push-button exercise. This anchor is specifically designed for mooring in the middle of a Norfolk Broad.

Under the water level, there are both bow and stern thrusters.  For those who are not familiar with the terminology they act as mini engines, enabling you to manoeuvre the boat easily.  You can move this boat sideways, taking the stress out of mooring up. The tinted windows provide privacy, whilst beautifully framing the environment outside

How is our Norfolk Broads Electric Holiday Boat Powered?

Like in an electric car, a lightweight 50kw lithium battery pack is at the heart of the Brinks Prelude’s hybrid system. We estimate regular batteries would weigh around 750kg more than the lithium batteries used on board Prelude. These batteries power a 10kw inverter supplying enough mains electricity to run an average house.  It also powers the 20kw drive motor turning the boat’s propeller and running many other systems onboard.  The large capacity batteries are charged by shore power or, if not available, starting the generator (a diesel engine at the back of the boat that charges the battery when running).  The boat’s solar panels also produce power on sunny days to boost the batteries.

To avoid noise on peaceful moorings, we advise that the generator is used to charge the batteries while the boat is underway.  The dash panel and generator screens show how much battery power is available so you can start the generator when convenient.  Don’t worry if you forget to charge the battery the generator will start automatically if the battery gets too low while cruising on the river. So, no need for range anxiety on this electric boat.

Energy usage on a boat is not straightforward to predict, because you can’t just use distance travelled.  Temperature, wind and tide play a part.  Go with the wind and the tide and you use significantly less energy. Need to heat the boat and you will use more fuel.

The onboard computer next to the helm wheel provides a clear view of battery levels. Plug her in and she will charge up overnight, ready to go in the morning.  We provide hirers with a map and an app that clearly details where electric charging points can be found.

Boating holidays with a sustainable future

Brinks Prelude maintains already established best practices. Sewage is captured in holding tanks , pumped out at boatyards, and disposed of in the same way at home.  The hull design is used to reduce the wash that can be so damaging to birds and wildlife nesting in or near river beds.  Boat speed is also restricted for this reason. The electric power supply also reduces the chance of diesel spillage in this special environment.

The hull and superstructure of the boat can and will be refurbished during its time in our fleet, extending expected usage to around 40 years. This is significantly longer than a car’s expected lifetime.

Boating safely and easily on The Broads

All boats available for hire must have a Boat Safety Certificate and Brinks Prelude passed with flying colours.  You can check the requirements of the boat safety scheme here.

The boat has life jackets and buoys, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers and blankets. Wiring and appliances are well maintained and regularly checked and serviced. In addition, Barnes Brinkcraft is a member of  British Marine and the Broads Hire Boat Federation, as part of that membership we are required to become a Quality Accredited Boatyard.  Part of that accreditation covers our tuition and handover procedures when showing the boat to our customers.

 Help and support there should you ever need it.

Whilst on board you can keep an eye on battery levels.  The on-board computer also enables you to track water and sewage levels in the tanks.  Enabling you to plan your route accordingly.

We have onboard telemetry for almost half our fleet now, so our engineers can also see the information you see on your boat control screen, enabling them to fix quite a few things from the comfort of their boatshed!

Electric Holiday Boats make the Broads even more special.

We have some very useful 3 and 7-night itineraries aimed at helping you explore the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads, but if we are honest – the best itinerary is the one you design yourself, just let wind and tide take you and enjoy where you wash up.

Our customers have thoroughly enjoyed these boats and they have become our most in-demand boats. We are building more as fast as we can, but only have the odd short break left until we start the 2024 season. Watch this space though as we expect Brinks Prelude 3 the be launched and available on holiday hire shortly.

Barnes Brinkcraft, pioneers in greener boating holidays.

We first launched a hybrid boat in 2004,  Rhapsody is still in our fleet and offers an excellent experience. However, she runs on diesel for the majority of the time.

For a little business that started on the Norfolk Broads in the 1960s with just two boats, we remain in the same family ownership and are pretty chuffed to be able to launch Brinks Prelude.  A holiday hire boat that can and does run on electric.

We won’t be resting on our laurels as we have lots planned for the future of green boating holidays on the Broads. We’ll be really pleased when we no longer need to launch boats with a backup diesel engine. We have a great team who worked together to launch Brinks Prelude and we are proud of her. We know you will like her too!

Make your next boating holiday electric with Barnes Brinkcraft

Check The Brinks Prelude Availability Now!


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