Lia Morris, Island Institute, Community Development Officer


I was born and raised on Mount Desert Island and my father was a boat builder, so my childhood was spent playing under the wharf at the boatyard and exploring the woods and waters of the island and downeast Maine. We always preferred to be under sail or paddle, and I remember every time we got in our power boat to go out to an island my dad would say “it is time to take the stink pot”, so working in marine electrification feels particularly resonant to me.


I love the challenge of working with a technology that is so nascent (electric marine propulsion) and with that exploring the systems and supports we will need in place to allow scalable adoption for Maine’s commercial boaters. An added bonus is the opportunity to build relationships by spending time talking to people who make their living, in various ways, along Maine’s working coast.

Many people I have talked with are eager to electrify and would have done it already if not for some of the technological barriers and financial barriers still at play.  There is not currently a one size fits all motor/battery pack, so supporting people to make the transition away from internal combustion engine motors needs to be done on a case by  case basis. That said, I am optimistic that the tech and financial barriers are both moving in positive directions.

What I love most about my job

What I love most about my job at the Island Institute are the people who choose to make their living in Maine’s marine economy. There are so many bright, talented, independent, hard-working people.

I am most excited to have the opportunity to continue to lead the conversation around electric marine propulsion and marine electrification, while tracking other technologies that may prove beneficial to Maine’s working coast. Having benefited from growing up in a working waterfront space, if my work can help to sustain marine related business in the coming months and years then I will consider myself successful.