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Flying Boats to Help Save Venice

La Serenissima is slowly sinking into the sea...

While rising sea levels are partly to blame for this, there is a less commonly-known contributor to this issue called “moto ondoso,” also known as wake pollution, whereby the wake from boats bashes into the sides of houses and other structures to cause erosion.

This is further compounded by the acidic pollution caused by boats with traditional fossil-fuel burning engines. The acidity further damages the city's sensational buildings. With giant cruise ships shortly to be banned - a major first step - a company called Candela has developed a new water vehicle that will eliminate the damaging wake that conventional motorboats cause.

Candela’s 'flying' boats use hydrofoils and computer-controlled underwater wings to lift the hull above the water, therefore reducing its wake to a humble 5cm high bump that is comparable to the wake of the traditional Venetian gondolas.

If widely adopted, this design could significantly reduce the damage from traditional motor-boats and the associated acidic pollution. Candela demonstrated its flying electric boats last weekend at Venice's Salone di Nautica. The hydrofoils and wings optimize energy usage, enable silent travel and decrease the force of friction on the water by 80 percent in comparison to taxi boats.

Not only is it a greener option that can save the medieval architecture of Venice, but it's also efficient. It can maintain a high cruise speed of 20 knots for over 2 hours, which is much longer than electric boats. Furthermore, because hydrofoil boats are lifted above the water, they can avoid choppiness making the journey much more comfortable for those on board.

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