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.

Just when you thought you were set up for new equipment and wouldn’t be spending anymore money on gear, here are a couple of soon-to-be released products you might start saving for.

David Liebenberg and Willem Sandberg, described as a couple of college kids from Somerville, Mass., were at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum this spring, handing out brochures on the Trap Saver they had designed.

2014 0408 TrapSaverThe Trap Saver reduces the amount of traps lost from the buoy line being cut by a prop on a passing boat. (The average trap loss is around 12 percent or $8,000, for a lobsterman running 800 traps.)

The Trap Saver is attached to the buoy line on its own length of rope. Negative buoyancy keeps it below the depth of a passing boat. When the line is cut, the Trap Saver sinks to the bottom. There, a balloon deploys and floats the rope to the surface. You pick up the balloon and haul your string of traps aboard. (See or (203) 554-0993 for more information.)

Future product number two is the Knight Underwater Bearing, designed by Maine fisherman Rick Knight Jr., who is also a marine engineer.

The beauty of the KUB is that when it’s time to change out the shaft bearing that’s just before the propeller, you don’t have to haul your boat to remove the prop, and then go at the bearing with hacksaws, clamps and a hydraulic press. And it eliminates the few times when a shaft and rudder have to come off.

2014 0408 KUBIn fact, the boat can stay in the water while a diver or two with socket wrenches can replace one of Knight’s bearings in a fraction of the time it would take otherwise.

The KUB’s secret is that it’s a split bearing. Just remove eight through-bolts, and the retainers holding the bearing halves come off, exposing the bearing. Remove the bearings, inspect the shaft, put the new bearing on, bolt the retainers in place, and you are good to go.

KUB also has alternative waterflow ports. When rope gets wrapped around the shaft, choking off the aft end of the bearing, water still flows through the bearing. (See or (207) 251-0001.)

Both products are still waiting for production to begin, likely by summer.

Inside the Industry

Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.


The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is teaming up with leading shark-tracking nonprofit Ocearch to build the most extensive shark-tagging program in the Gulf of Mexico region.

In October, Ocearch is bringing its unique research vessel, the M/V Ocearch, to the gulf for a multi-species study to generate previously unattainable data on critical shark species, including hammerhead, tiger and mako sharks.

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