National Fisherman

Boats & Gear 

Michael CrowleyThe Boats & Gear blog is overseen by our Boats & Gear editor, Michael Crowley. It explores new construction projects, electronics, gear and equipment for the commercial fishing industry.

The last weekend in June the U.S. Navy was due to sea trial a new 509-foot destroyer out of Pascagoula, Miss. The ship would have been operating in the gulf at least four days. But then the Navy started thinking about what all that oil floating in the gulf would do to the engine’s cooling system. Sea trials were canceled.

Just because your boat is less than 500 feet, lacks four gas turbines delivering about 108,000 horsepower, doesn’t run easily at over 30 knots, and isn’t outfitted with Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles for deck gear doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be worried about oil contamination.

Of course, those with the most to worry about operate boats in the Gulf of Mexico, but if oil swings around the tip of Florida and starts floating up the East Coast, then the class of concerned boat owners becomes even larger.

Oil and dispersants in the oil are most likely to affect anything rubber — hoses, gaskets, seals, impellers — and cooling piping.

In a recently released service bulletin from Caterpillar, owners of Caterpillar engines — and this would apply to diesels other than Caterpillar — are advised that the following components are at risk: pumps, heat exchangers, aftercoolers, seals, hoses, and any other component in contact with the polluted water.

Outboards have some of the same problems. A bulletin to Mercury Marine repair centers listed things to be concerned about after running through oil contaminated water: thermostats, water strainers, and coolant passages can be blocked by oil; water pump efficiencies are reduced with an oil-water mixture; an oil-coated cooling system leads to higher than normal engine-block temperatures.

About those rubber-based components — hoses, impellers and engine mounts. Mercury says they can absorb oil and swell. That means less rigidity and strength, followed by possible failure.

What to do? Well, Mercury advises you to monitor the cooling system and when you are back at the dock then flush out the cooling system with 150-degree water for 10 to 15 minutes with the prop removed.

For its inboard engines, Cat says to check fluid levels, inspect for leaks and monitor coolant temperatures, inlet air, and the exhaust. Additionally you can monitor the flow rate of seawater by measuring the pressure drop across pumps or coolers.

For cleaning operations, Cat says to refer to the owner’s manual.

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14

In this episode:

NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first

 

Inside the Industry

Fishermen in Western Australia captured astonishing footage this week as a five-meter-long great white shark tried to steal their catch, ramming into the side of their boat.
 
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EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she'll be able to count them.
 
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