It definitely appeared unusual, if not strange. I’d been walking the aisles of Pacific Marine Expo searching for new ideas, different ways of approaching old problems.
Looking at the profile drawing on the wall of Northern Marine’s booth, I thought “OK. I haven’t seen that before on a fishing boat.” The artist’s rendering displayed a 58-foot seiner, but instead of sporting the normal cylindrical shaped bulbous bow that juts straight out from the hull’s forefoot, this bulb seemed kind of squished up, while pushing up from the forefoot to the waterline and not going out very far.
George Roddan, a Canadian architect, designed the hull (which packs 210,000 pounds below deck) and bulb using computational analysis. The bulb was designed to give the 58-footer a 10-knot speed. Early reports from the first 58-footer launched by Northern Marine put the speed at 10.8 knots, with a 750-hp Cummins QSK19.
Don’t feel alone if you haven’t heard of Northern Marine. Located in Anacortes, Wash., Northern Marine is a newly created branch of New World Yacht Builders, and this is their first commercial fishing boat.
Also on the show floor, I’m always on the lookout for safety products, especially from outfits new to the show, which is what I found at the Nautilus Lifeline booth. As I remember, they had one product, a marine rescue radio with GPS.
The company started out selling the waterproof radios to divers and other recreational users before deciding to enter the commercial market. The small handheld radio seems simple to use. Flip up the top and push the red button to send a distress message and your GPS position. The green button lets you talk to your own boat — if, say, you are in a skiff or suddenly find yourself in the water. The orange button is for talking to other boats on channel 16.
If you do go in the water, it’s best to be in an immersion suit, and the Stearns booth displayed the Thermashield 24+, which pushes the design level for immersion suits up a notch or three.
The normal immersion suit in 32-degree water provides a roughly six-hour window of protection from hypothermia. As the name says, the Thermashield 24+ gives you at least 24 hours.
Here’s where Stearns is different from every other immersion suit. With the suit zipped up, you blow into a tube, and that transfers heat from your breath — about 88 degrees — into a series of air bladders within the suit. Basically you use your core body heat to warm the immersion suit and yourself.
Stearns’ new immersion suit also comes with hard-sole molded boots, making it easier to walk on deck than when wearing Gumby-style footwear.
There were other new products at the show, including an engine from GE that probably was the biggest that’s been at PME, but the three mentioned here were showstoppers for me.