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Brand New Outboard Diesel Engines – A First in Hawaii!

Extra! Extra! Really exciting news here! We just became the first tour boat operator in the state of Hawaii to invest in diesel outboard motors. This is a big deal; a huge upgrade! For most people out there, who aren’t marine motorheads, let us break this down. Diesel motors have a lot of advantages over gasoline motors—they’re more fuel-efficient, emitting 35.5% less CO2, more reliable, safer, quieter, and require less maintenance, to name some of the big ones.

Hanalei boat tours

Unfortunately, diesel motors have never really been realistic in the marine outboard setting because they were heavy and the ratio of horsepower to weight just didn’t work.

Until now! The future is here! There’s hot new marine diesel technology and we just invested in it!

Our two rigid-hull inflatable rafts Adventurer II and Adventurer III are now sporting shiny new twin 300hp OXE diesel outboard motors!

Here’s how it came to happen…

In 2017, Kevin Millett (our company’s founder) and Adrian Bertsch (stockholder and our lead engineer) took a little trip down to Tampa, Florida for IBEX. As described on their website, “IBEX is a highly focused marine technology trade show dedicated to advancing the business of boating.”

So, Kevin and Adrian are wandering around, checking all the booths and displays out, and they come across a company called OXE, which, as described on their website, is producing “the world’s first high-performance diesel outboard engine, built and designed for the demanding commercial user.” Interesting! Kevin and Adrian were intrigued and impressed, and they’ve been keeping their eyes on these guys ever since.

Fast forward to 2021— when the stars aligned for us and our new diesel motors.

See, Adventurer II and Adventurer III have always run on twin 225 horsepower Yamaha gasoline engines–those are pretty much the industry standard. But thanks to the good old Covid-related supply chain crisis, Yamaha was saying they couldn’t promise any new motors until January 2023. Two years from now?!?!? The motors we currently had were working just fine but we always need to have a couple backup motors on hand. (The tour boat industry, especially in Hawaii’s rough waters, is a motor-heavy industry– it’s just a fact.)

Yamaha was straight up out of stock, and that was disconcerting.

But guess what motors were in stock and available? That’s right—OXE diesels! Shiny, new, light, efficient, quiet, diesel marine motors.

This was our sign! We knew it was time to take the leap and make a huge investment– in our company, in technology, in the future.

We found a dealer on the west coast, Diesel Outboards Northwest, and ordered six– two each for Adventurer II and Adventurer III, and two spares– because you never know. Adrian and his team in the maintenance department (Steven, Brennan, Danny, Nate, Ciro, and Steve) designed and built fiberglass composite positive-buoyancy motor brackets to mount them on our boats. KJ and Eric from Diesel Outboards Northwest even flew out from Washington state to check the installation. Like we said, this is a big deal! After all the planning and designing and modifying, installing, and testing– we are GOOD TO GO!

These are the BIG benefits of our new diesel motors:

  1. Fuel economy—we’re expecting to use around 30% less fuel! THIRTY PERCENT! We have the potential to save around 6,500 gallons of fuel this season alone
  2. Safety—diesel is way less volatile than gasoline—chances of an explosion is slim to none
  3. Reliability—diesel motors are simply more reliable, which means our tour schedule is less likely to be disrupted by engine problems
  4. Less maintenance—diesels require less maintenance which also means less waste—fuel filters, etc.
  5. The new diesels are significantly quieter than the old Yamahas– improving the overall quality of the experience for our guests and our employees!

There’s just so much to be excited about. Efficiency has always been the name of the game with Holo Holo Charters. Kevin Millett will be the first to tell you, “We’re always looking for ways to take better care of our people, our equipment, and the ocean.” By making the switch from gasoline to diesel motors on our north shore RHIB boats, we achieve all three of those ideals. Yay!

boat tours out of Hanalei

Our Hanalei season starts April 20th. Book now to experience the captivating beauty of the Napali Coast, as well as the latest and greatest in green marine-technology!


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