When Elliott Bay Design Group and Silverback Marine spec’d the UltraJet 340 HTs for their new triple-jet Bristol Bay boat, it took Jim Campbell back.
Most commercial fishing boats in the Bristol Bay market run twin jets, but Campbell, the president of the Americas for UltraJet maker Marine Jet Power, said his company’s entrance into the bay was in 1997, when MJP outfitted the F/V Eternity with a triple jet system.
“The Eternity originally had three of our 303 Waterjets. They upgraded to our 305 HT jets three or four years ago,” Campbell recalled.
Since that first incursion nearly a quarter a century ago, MJP has gained strong traction among gillnetters in both the Bristol Bay and Copper River fisheries. Campbell said the HT series was developed specifically with commercial fishing in mind and allows for boats to get up on plane with a heavy load of fish onboard.
“We developed the high-thrust version of our jets, the 305 HT and the 340 HT, specifically for the commercial fishing industry. What we’ve done is we’ve given up a little bit of the top end speed for more low- and mid-range thrust, and that thrust peaks where the boats are getting up on plane. They allow the guys to plane with more weight. It’s really been the requirement for these kinds of fishing vessels to get 8,000 to 10,000 pounds up on plane, get to the tender, and then get back fishing, and that’s been the result they’re getting,” Campbell said.
Campbell estimates that MJP now has somewhere between 40 to 50 boats in Bristol Bay running the UltraJets, and the recent record-breaking seasons have prompted more installations, with more than a dozen bay boats being outfitted with the jets this offseason. He added that the jets are compatible with most engines, but have proven especially effective with Cummins and Fiat Powertrain (FPT) motors.
“While we’ve had great success with the Cummins engines, we’ve also had very good applications with FPT engines and even with Caterpillar engines,” Campbell said.
Campbell added that the UltraJet HT series has also found a market with Alaska seiners for their skiffs. The UltraJet series is just one line from Swedish maker MJP, which has been outfitting diverse sectors of the marine market for more than 30 years.