National Fisherman

At the top of his game

A Nova Scotia fisherman designs himself a double-decker of a lobster boat

By Carla Allen

Trucks slow to a crawl and a steady flow of men climb out to have a gander at the Papa Russ, Curtis Rodgerson's new double-decker lobster boat tied up at the Sandford (Yarmouth County) wharf in Nova Scotia.

The battleship-gray painted boat appears too short for its height and has a bow that towers over the conventional lobster boats that are tied alongside. There is much discussion about the odd-shaped wheelhouse, which has a large see-through section above the hauler, on the starboard side.

"I've been fishing 14 years and I've never seen anything like that," says one fisherman as he peers into the multi-angled pilothouse that's 20 feet above the waterline.

Built from "eight years of doodling" as ideas came to him, Rodgerson says he designed Papa Russ specifically for safety and comfort and a need to get "up and over" the work being done on deck.

"The ideas came mostly from a desire to resolve small problems with certain aspects of the way a conventional lobster boat worked," he says.

One of the biggest problems was being in front of the men as they worked and having to continually turn around or step aft to monitor the crew. Thus the raised fiberglass and plywood wheelhouse is designed with two identical helm stations: the one on the port side is for steaming and docking, while the helm station on the starboard side is directly above the pot hauler and used when the boat is fishing.

From the fishing station, Rodgerson can look down through large, angled windows below his feet at the pot hauler, which he controls, as well as at the hydraulic boom with a hauling block that helps bring the traps aboard. All the crew has to do is gaff the buoy and put the line in the hauler.

Rodgerson has an unobstructed view of the most dangerous equipment and easy access to the hydraulic kill switch, an arm's length from his seat. From this high vantage point, he can easily watch other boats and monitor the crew as they work on deck.

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15

In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.

National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15

In this episode:

March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received

Inside the Industry

NMFS announced two changes in regulations that apply to federal fishing permit holders starting Aug. 26.

First, they have eliminated the requirement for vessel owners to submit “did not fish” reports for the months or weeks when their vessel was not fishing.

Some of the restrictions for upgrading vessels listed on federal fishing permits have also been removed.

Read more...

Alaskans will meet with British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, when he visits Juneau next week and will ask him to support an international review of mine developments in northwest British Columbia, upstream from Southeast Alaska along the Taku, Stikine and Unuk transboundary rivers.

Some Alaska fishing and environmental groups believe an international review is the best way to develop specific, binding commitments to ensure clean water, salmon, jobs and traditional and customary practices are not harmed by British Columbia mines and that adequate financial assurances are in place up front to cover long-term monitoring and compensation for damages.

Read more...
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