Velocity Marine and Fabrication is well-known for the stern pickers it builds for Alaska’s Bristol Bay salmon gillnet fishery, but this October the Sedro-Woolley, Wash., boatbuilder began working on its second double-ended through-picker for Bristol Bay.

 “Definitely they are kind of a hot ticket right now,” says Velocity Marine’s Rob Smith of the through-pickers. “A lot of guys are switching over to them.”  The advantage is that fishermen can pick salmon from either the bow or the stern.

On Velocity Marine’s 32’ x 17’ through-picker, the wheelhouse will go on stanchions towards the back of the boat. A power roller will be at the bow and at the stern, and a swiveling gillnet drum will run on tracks in the center of the boat.

A pair of 600-hp Cummins matched up with MJP 340HT UltraJets will provide the power to get the gillnetter to 35 knots in light conditions. She should be able to “plane with around 10,000 pounds,” says Smith.

Hold capacity will be about 25,000 pounds, with a 10-ton hydraulic Pacific West Refrigeration system chilling the catch. The through-picker is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2023.     

Smith has been getting a lot of inquiries for crabbers. That explains the next two boats Velocity Marine and Fabrication is scheduled to be building, a pair of crabbers that will work both Puget Sound and the Washington coast. One crabber is set to be 34’ x 12’ and the other, 36’ x 13’.

The 36-footer will be similar to the Nicholas J, another 36-foot crabber Velocity Marine and Fabrication launched in October 2021, that now works on Puget Sound and the Washington coast.

Like most crabbers built at Velocity, including the Nicholas J, the two new boats will be powered with twin 350-hp Suzuki dual-prop outboards. The advantage of dual-prop outboards is that they carry weight better than a single prop and can get on a plane faster when packing a lot of crabs, whereas a single prop is better for high-speed runs.

Outside the commercial fishing category, Velocity Marine will be building a 42’ x 13’ landing craft workboat – “That’s new to us,” says Smith – and a 33’ x 11’ offshore recreational tuna boat.

The 36-foot crabber Nicholas J that Velocity Marine and Fabrication built last year is similar to one that will soon be built. Velocity Marine photo.


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Michael Crowley is the former Boats & Gear editor for National Fisherman.

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