The words sweat equity sound strong, but when you actually see them manifested in the form of a fishing boat, they’re nothing short of a miracle.

Levi Pingree, 21, of Kodiak was no stranger to hard work, even at 12, when he crewed for the season on a cod jigging boat out of Kodiak. Just two years later, Pingree, his three sisters and a brother bought a seine permit for the area in hopes that someday they’d use it to make a living for themselves. In the meantime, Pingree found work on a seine boat in Prince William Sound, saved his crew shares for a few years in hopes of acquiring a boat.

Then he found what would become the Redemption. When he spotted the remnants of a 38-foot hull, originally built by Ledford Marine Construction of Marysville, Wash., left to die on the remote beaches near Chenega in Prince William Sound, he made arrangements to have it towed to Homer, where it would undergo an entire transformation in 2017 and 2018.

“It barely made it to Homer,” he says of the salvage trip. He hauled out the hull and built a shelter over it, then began cutting out the rotted decks.

“I used a circular saw, a Sawzall and even a chainsaw to remove the rotten wood,” he says.

Next, he put in an engine, finished out the decking and built a tophouse. As for why he chose the derelict Ledford over other dormant boats already in the yards, Pingree says he’s partial to a shallow-draft design for fishing the rocky shores on the north side of the island.

“Ledfords are shallow draft, and they have a thick hull,” he says.

In 2019 the Redemption was ready to fish.

“We put in a decent season,” he says of seining last year for sockeyes and pinks.

The other advantage of sweat equity, Pingree is quick to point out, is that he doesn’t have a boat payment. With his financial picture in the black, the plan going forward is to buy out his siblings’ shares of the permit.

Home port: Kodiak

Owner: Levi Pingree

Builder: Ledford Marine Construction, Marysville, Wash.

Year built: 1973

Fisheries: Kodiak salmon, cod jigging

Hull construction: fiberglass

Length: 38 feet

Beam: 12 feet 6 inches

Draft: 3 feet

Crew capacity: 5

Tonnage: 12 tons

Hold capacity: 30,000 pounds

Main propulsion: Cummins 6CTA, 300 hp

Gearbox: Twin Disc 509, 2:1

Propeller: Bronze four-blade 24" x 22"

Shaft: 2" stainless steel

Electronics: Furuno 812 radar; Standard Horizon plotter; Furuno FCV-1100L depth sounder; Uniden Solara DSC and Raytheon Ray 45 VHF radios

Speed: 8 knots

Fuel consumption: 2.5 gallons an hour

Fuel capacity: 400 gallons

Freshwater capacity: 60 gallons

Charlie Ess is the North Pacific Bureau Chief for National Fisherman.

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