Photon Defined

Nick Schoeps

June 25, 2023

definition: photon /noun/ : a particle representing a quantum of light or other electromagnetic radiation.

A sensible concoction of Greek and English that even Germans would approve of, “photon” has no relation to marine, aquatic, or watery environs whatsoever. We might just as soon call ourselves “Becquerel Marine” (Becquerels are units of radiation) . . . but Photon is just damn enjoyable to say. If I didn’t know better I’d think Photon meant 2000 pounds of Vietnamese soup (Pho + Ton), which would also be damn enjoyable.

I love our name. It perfectly describes our light-speed pace of development. Photon has birthed three prototype vessels in thirteen months. Three different motor designs with countless tweaks and improvements folded in. We’re savoring the messy pre-product phase and maximizing our understanding. Yes we’ve blown up a few motors and found ourselves adrift with a blown bearing. It’s called development. We’re a team of professional “fail-ers” who make up for it by fixing just as quickly and capably.

But I’ve spoken too soon! Today we’re in Halifax NS, 3000 miles from home, preparing vessel #3, for its maiden voyage. The path that led us here began with a humble zodiac.

Photon’s first foray into electric propulsion the “P80” prototype was targeted at eco-tour RIBs. We failed very early with our first motor, but it sowed the seeds of a team that can now iterate rapidly. We outgrew “Electric Guppy” all too quickly as our P300 prototype came together.

The market demands more power, and the P300 answers. Massive torque makes electric a great fit for work boats. This time Photon partnered with a fellow graduate of Maritime Blue Accelerator: Silverback Marine in Tacoma Washington. Silverback redesigned their 21ft grizzly aluminum work skiff to our specifications. With the looming deadline of a boat show in Miami, FL (almost as far as Halifax!), the Photon team had just 16 days to fully integrate an electric propulsion system into a prototype vessel.

While none of my engineers want to relive the month of January leading up to that show, we are relishing in our accomplishment. The “Stargazer” is a stunning watercraft that can easily cruise on-plane for an hour at 25 knots and has a deftness of control that only electric propulsion can deliver. Combined with Sharrow Propellers, the torque and efficiency can’t be matched.

Why then is it time for yet another vessel? Rest is for the weak! We’re doubling down for Ocean Week in Halifax with legendary boat-builder Rosborough Boats. Rosborough makes rugged runabouts for the toughest Canadian waters, including arctic patrol boats. They bring a wealth of knowledge and history but also have the agility and foresight to move to where the puck is going - decarbonization.

Doubling down means twin motors and twin batteries powering a Rosborough 10.5 PRO Fiberglass RIB. When we’re done with her she’ll be the fastest+quietest workboat on the planet.