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Unlocking the Value of Fresh Water: Lilypad's Mission in the Great Lakes Blue Economy

Lilypad solar boats fresh water

The Value of Fresh Water

While Michigan is home to more freshwater shoreline than any other state in the U.S., it has over 11,000 inland lakes, tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams, and several thousand miles of water trails. At Lilypad, we strongly believe fresh water ecosystem services and experiences are significantly undervalued by conventional economic measures and currently lack mass market access.

Lilypad was founded upon values of fresh water and the blue economy. As a solar boat manufacturer, our mission is to solve the limitations of current consumer access and experience issues, while simultaneously ensuring the long-term health and productivity of our freshwater ecosystem.

The Great Lakes Region holds over 23% of the world’s fresh water and supports a $6 trillion regional economy. The Great Lakes Blue Economy is fundamental to shipping, transportation, fisheries, and agriculture, plus numerous critical industries along with tourism and recreation. The tourism industry alone in Michigan is a $50 billion-dollar business.

The State of Michigan, and specifically the Traverse City area, have made significant investments and efforts to lead in the development of the Great Lakes Blue Economy. This encompasses various investments in assets and infrastructure aimed at fostering innovation within the Great Lakes Blue Economy, such as dedicated incubators and technology deployment facilities.

Lilypad is proud to be a participant within this ecosystem. We applaud this effort and feel the Blue Economy is, and remains, significantly undervalued.

Why Fresh Water is Important

Fresh water is essential for all life on our planet. The fact that Michigan is uniquely positioned within the epicenter of the world’s supply of fresh water is an underappreciated fact.

The most valuable resource on the planet isn’t gold, or platinum, or lithium, or copper … It is fresh water.

You can’t survive more than two or three days without access to drinkable fresh water; the objective is how can we get more individuals to recognize the value of the ecosystem services that fresh water provides, and ensure that we are doing enough to protect it for current and future generations.

How Lilypad Improves Access to Fresh Water

Lilypad believes that a business model based on time rental rather than private asset ownership will unlock the ability for many more consumers to get out on fresh water. It is much more affordable to pay for “time on water” than owning a personal boat—ask anyone that owns one!

Spending time on water and in nature offers a multitude of physical, mental, and emotional benefits.

The value of connecting with nature and engaging in social activities on or near fresh water goes beyond mere recreation; it contributes to overall well-being and a sense of connection with the environment. People rarely have a bad day on water.

Lilypad solar boats are specifically designed as a “social first” and “café table on water” experience. Fresh water and nature serve as a backdrop for our social interactions. Plus, our sustainable boats travel at a slow speed and are silent in operation, as Lilypad prioritizes conversations and quality time with others.

It is a relatively simple equation that the more people that have access to a resource—and in our case fresh water—the more the resource will be appreciated and valued.

In addition, Lilypad is solar powered, silent, and provides a very intuitive controller that minimizes the typical stress of operating a boat. All that a Lilypad solar boat requires is that you relax, sit back, and simply enjoy your fresh-water setting and conversation.

Shift to Slow Living

We think that Lilypad is part of the shift to slower living. A shift to a lifestyle that embraces slower, high quality, and more socially engaged aspects of everyday life. Consumers are taking steps to avoid degrading into a lifestyle of constant “always on” stress by relocating, switching off technology, and searching for meaningful “real” experiences. This is Slow Living.

At Lilypad, we believe that increased access to quiet social time on water is part of the solution to societal division, stress, and burnout.

Lilypad’s philosophy is not “miles per hour” but “smiles per hour!”

Learn more about the "Slow Living" trend here.

Lilypad Sustainably Supports Michigan’s Freshwater Ecosystem

The other primary factor motivating Lilypad is ensuring the long-term health and productivity of our freshwater ecosystem. The marine transportation and water recreation industries are not doing enough to protect the Great Lakes waters.

Lilypad is solar powered and 100% carbon-free in operation. Our sustainable solar boats do not require gasoline or oil and will never leak a drop of toxins into a body of water that we operate upon. Additionally, our Lilypad hulls are entirely aluminum and recyclable at end of life.

We are focused on the Great Lakes water communities and require no capital expenditures or special modifications to a dock. As a matter of fact, every dock is a potential location as we are 100% powered by the sun—no plug-ins required!

We are proudly focused on local sourcing and building the Michigan-based Blue Economy.

Most of our suppliers and wherever practical are Michigan based. We feel that this is a circuitous loop as the skills and talent are here in-state, and hopefully our business will, in a small way, help them grow.

Lilypad's Mission in the Great Lakes Blue Economy

In summary, the value of spending time in nature and on fresh water extends to physical health, social connections, environmental awareness, and mental well-being. We dream of a future that all citizens have access and are regularly incorporating water-based outdoor activities into their overall quality of life.

We hope for a future where the Great Lakes Region is the recognized world leader in the Fresh Water Blue Economy.

At Lilypad, we aspire to do something more than “no harm,” and rather, that we once again provide abundant fisheries (without dietary warnings), drinkable water (without industrial scale filtering), abundant clean-tech jobs, and world-class tourism within a collaborative and innovative growing Blue Economy.


Discover more about the Michigan solar boat manufacturer, Lilypad Labs Inc, in these articles.
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