National Fisherman


Tuna boat continues to evolve; fisheries patrol takes new boat

Not quite two years ago, Atlantic Boat Co. in Brooklin, Maine, brokered a deal for one of its Duffy 42s that had been built in 1997 as a towboat with an open stern. The person who bought the boat is a tuna fisherman, and since the sale he has had the boat back to Atlantic Boat twice in an ongoing rebuilding project.

The first time was the fall of 2008. "We tore out the back of the boat and put in new fuel tanks and insulated the fish hold. He picked the boat up in June and then tuna fished full time until October, when he brought her back here," says Atlantic Boat Co.'s Bill Sweetland.

The back of the boat and the deck were in good shape and didn't have to be torn out except that the boat's owner wanted the new fuel tanks installed.

The boat originally had a plywood and fiberglass deck and wooden deck beams, but the new deck is made up of composite panels supported by extruded fiberglass deck beams. That's a construction technique Atlantic Boat has been using for the past seven or eight years. Part of rebuilding the deck included closing up the stern.

This winter cold-plate refrigeration was installed in the fish hold, "so he doesn't have to carry as much ice," Sweetland says. Other work included installing a new anchor winch, upgrading wheelhouse electronics, redoing parts of the galley and head, and building a live bait tank for the cockpit and a storage area for tuna reels.

"He has a lengthy list of things to do and is just trying to do so much each year," Sweetland says.

One thing that doesn't have to be replaced is the engine. "It's an 800-hp Cat. It's original equipment and is in real nice shape," Sweetland notes.

Canadian boatbuilder Millennium Marine in Escuminac, New Brunswick, is building a marine patrol boat for the law enforcement division of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

This is the fourth boat that Millennium Marine has sent to Rhode Island, though the three previous boats were built for commercial and sport fishermen.

When Millennium Marine won the bid, it caused a stir among some New England boatbuilders. They felt the contract should have gone to an American boatyard in these lean economic times.

The 46' x 16' boat will be used for offshore fisheries law enforcement. According to specifications, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management provided, the boat will be used to monitor the lobster, groundfish, scallop and tuna fisheries.

The 46-footer must be capable of hauling and inspecting fishing gear, carrying an inflatable for boardings, and transporting a NOAA whale entanglement team. She will also be used for search and rescue work and as a command unit for major maritime events.

Rhode Island wanted a boat that could run 20 knots at 70 percent power, so Millennium Marine's Cory Guimond said the boat will have a 1,000-hp Caterpillar C18.

The hull is solid fiberglass but Guimond is building the decks and bulkheads with a core material that Millennium Marine hasn't used before. It's Space Age Synthetics' Thermo-Lite Board with a 20-pound rating. This is a polyurethane foam material with continuous stranded fiberglass and woven roving.

"I've normally used Divinycell H80, an 8-pound density. It's a lighter foam, but you don't get the structural and compression strength you get with the denser [Thermo-Lite Board]," Guimond says.

For bringing fishing gear aboard, the patrol boat is being outfitted with a gillnet lifter and a hydraulic hauler. She'll have a cutout stern, which will come in handy for launching the inflatable and bringing aboard fishing gear.

The boat will be set up for overnight patrols with accommodations for three, including head and shower.

Millennium Marine was scheduled to deliver the boat to Rhode Island in late May.

The boatyard is developing a series of skiffs with a cathedral hull in lengths of 20, 17 and 14 feet that Guimond thinks will do well in inshore fisheries. He also says he has been getting a lot of inquiries for the Millennium Marine 35-footer.

"We are getting more inquiries for smaller boats from commercial fishermen. They are less expensive to buy and less expensive to operate," he says. — Michael Crowley


Seiner draws only three feet;
gillnetter doubles up on jets

Ray Wadsworth got the attention of just about every commercial fisherman on the planet when he built the Order of Magnitude, a herring seiner that ran with a gasoline turbine and a custom-made 31-inch water jet.

Wadsworth's latest boat, which was due for an April launching in Port Townsend, Wash., resembles the Order of Magnitude in profile but won't match her in horsepower — not with a pair of John Deere 6081s providing propulsion power. When Wadsworth (a 1999 NF Highliner) was asked what the horsepower rating is, he wasn't sure.

"All the horsepower ratings are a bunch of hooey anyway," he says. "The Magnitude had 4,000 horsepower, and anything else is insignificant." (Horsepower ratings for the 6081 range from 235 to 375.)

The new boat measures 58' x 24' and draws less than 3 feet. That draft is what makes this boat different.

"It will be the only one of its kind. Most of the 58-footers you see are all deep boats," he says.

The Liahona — the same name has graced three previous Wadsworth-built boats — draws very little water because Wadsworth likes hanging out in shallow places.

"My whole career has been built around getting into places where other people can't. [Shallow draft] is a real asset for tendering charters. It will enable me to do tendering in the bays and catch a few humpies up in shallow water," he says.

Despite her shallow draft, the Liahona will pack 130,000 pounds of fish in four holds. Four fish holds, as opposed to one or two, work better for salmon tendering, as the fish can be sorted by species — chums, reds, silvers and humpies, Wadsworth notes.

Wadsworth's boatbuilding outfit, Kodiak Marine Construction, normally builds boats in Sequim, Wash. But the Liahona was constructed in Port Townsend because of its size and weight.

"I thought it would be better to build it next to the water," Wadsworth says.

While that made sense, building it outdoors wasn't the best choice.

"What a terrible idea that was. It was miserable," Wadsworth notes.

In Homer, Alaska, the crew at Bay Welding Services works inside. And there has been a lot of work this winter. A Bristol Bay gillnetter is in for a repower; they built three seine skiffs, put a new house on a landing craft that's used as a tender, and built several booms for salmon seiners.

The gillnetter had been powered by a Volvo diesel and 12-inch water jet.

"He probably made 8 knots. It wasn't enough power or thrust to plane," says the boatyard's Eric Engebretsen.

So at the end of March a pair of 350-hp Cummins 6BT diesels and UltraJet 305HT water jets with 13-inch impellers went in the boat. Engebretsen figures that with its new power, the gillnetter will close in on 30 knots.

To pull the old engine and water jet and put in twin engines and jets required removal of the transom and bottom plating in the after part of the boat.

"It was completely rebuilt from the engine room aft," Engebretsen says.

Part of the job included building a box cooler into the hull. "We've developed it over the years. It's like a keel cooler but recessed up in a box. It has tubes running through it and a lot of room for surface area," he says.

Two of the aluminum seine skiffs built at Bay Welding Services measure 19 feet 9 inches. Both have water jets. One power package is a 350-hp Cummins 6BT with a 13-inch UltraJet 305HT, and the other a Cummins QSB matched up with a 15-inch Traktor Jet 381HH from North American Marine Jet. Both skiffs will be in Prince William Sound.

The third skiff measures 17 feet 8 inches. Engebretsen says it has a four-stroke and 225-hp Yamaha outboard. She is going to Chignik.

On the LCM-8, an ex-military landing craft converted into a tender, Bay Welding Services tore off the old 6' x 6' dog house and replaced it with a 16' x 16' two-story aluminum house.

On the lower level is a galley, head and shower, stateroom with two bunks, and workroom. Above it is the pilothouse with port and starboard helms and day bunks. — Michael Crowley


Boats line up for spring work; shop gets into barge building

Ampro Shipyard in Weems, Va. is one of the busiest boatyards for maintenance of steel commercial fishing boats in the mid-Chesapeake Bay region.

With spring coming, the boatyard has seen an increase in maintenance work for fishermen, says the boatyard's manager Lynn Haynie. Menhaden fisherman Frederick Rogers, who fishes out of Reedville, Va., had his 80' x 20' Hush Puppy on the rails at Ampro in March.

The Hush Puppy is a menhaden snapper rig. A snapper rig is an independently owned menhaden vessel that usually caters to the commercial hard-crab bait and recreational bait markets.

Ampro Shipyard pressure-washed and primed the bottom of the Hush Puppy with Devoe 235 and finished it off with Hempel antifouling paint. The rest of the hull got a topcoat of Coronado paint. The yard also made some minor repairs to the rudder and shaft log.

The Indian Creek and the Carters Creek, another pair of snapper rigs, were hauled out for maintenance work in February and March.

The 107' x 26' 9" single-screw Indian Creek, owned by Kellum Maritime of Weems, was also in for a pressure wash and paint job, both above and below the waterline. The yard installed new zincs, removed the wheel and reconditioned it, and extended the boat's exhaust stack.

The 136' x 23' x 10' Carters Creek, owned by Ocean Bait, another Weems outfit, was also in for routine maintenance. Besides pressure washing, painting and zinc replacement, Carters Creek had worn places on her steel deck repaired.

Ampro Shipyard was also scheduled to work on four steel scallop boats coming in for spring maintenance work in March and April.

Atlantic Metal Products of Topping, Va., is a metal fabricating outfit that designs and builds most anything out of any kind of metal. It does a lot of work for commercial paper mills throughout the country and has fabricated elements for a menhaden processing plant in Reedville, Va.

Atlantic Metal Products is not known for building commercial fishing boats, but that could change. Cowart Seafood Corp. of Lottsburg, Va. is having Atlantic Metal Products build a 50' x 16' aluminum oyster barge for planting seed and spat and setting and hauling oyster cages.

Cowart Seafood's owner, Lake Cowart, is having water jet propulsion installed in his new boat. Cowart was reading National Fisherman several years ago and saw an article on a Pacific Coast oyster firm using jet drive propulsion in their new boat. He began looking into the advantages of jet propulsion.

Cowart Seafood currently uses a wooden oyster barge built by the late Francis Haynie of Heathsville, Va., that is powered by two outdrives.

The wooden barge is presently on the rails at Jennings' Boat Yard in Reedville, Va. The barge has a crane on the bow for handling oyster cages. The hull has gotten weak in the middle, and the bow and stern droop, says Cowart. Jennings is beefing up the framing and doing other structural work to the barge.

The new barge is going to be rigged for aquaculture work, harvesting oysters, and planting oyster seed and oyster shells. Cowart Seafood grows oysters in cages as well as outside of cages on oyster grounds leased from the state of Virginia.

Atlantic Metal Products will also build a portable conveyor for planting oyster seed. "We are building it so we can take the conveyor off when we want to haul cages," says Cowart. "We are trying to build it as a multiple-use boat."

Cowart decided on Atlantic Metal Products after seeing a wheelhouse they rebuilt on a menhaden boat. "The reason we went with Atlantic Metals was when Fred Rogers and Ronnie Bevins' menhaden boat Osprey caught fire, Atlantic Metal did a great job of rebuilding the cabin," Cowart says. "We saw what they did and we went and talked to them about building us a boat.

"We are doing this because the oyster business is looking better now," adds Cowart. "This growing oysters in cages is working. A ray can't eat an oyster in a cage."

The Chesapeake Bay oyster fishery has been plagued with disease and predators, such as cownose rays. Cowart hopes to have his new barge working in June. — Larry Chowning

Inside the Industry

It’s no secret that fraud is a problem in the seafood industry. Oceana repeatedly touts a mislabeling epidemic. While their method has been criticized, the perception of rampant fraud  has been established.

Read more ...

The Center for Coastal Studies recently announced that Owen Nichols, Director of the Center for Coastal Studies’ Marine Fisheries Research Program, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the John Annala Fishery Leadership Award by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. 

Read more ...
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