Whether working on new builds or retrofits, boatbuilders in the US and Canada have a one-stop shopping option at the New Bedford-based IMTRA, a master supplier of a variety of vessel hardware. Once you have the biggies — wheelhouse electronics, engines, deck gear — covered, IMTRA has just about everything else. “That’s about it,” says IMTRA’s Director of Commercial Sales, Eric MacDonald.
IMTRA has made its name putting Libra doors, and other high-quality products on commercial fishing vessels. “We get a lot of our products from Norway,” says MacDonald. “I was over there last month.” MacDonald and the team at IMTRA strive to find the best quality and price materials that they can then offer builders and re-fitters of commercial fishing vessels.
“Besides the IMTRA doors, we sell the Sleipner vector fins—stabilizers—and the Norsap helm chairs,” says MacDonald. “The Norsap seats are always popular at shows. Somebody always ends up coming back and taking the chair we have on display.” What people like, MacDonald points out, are the features and options available on the chair. “The most popular is the cup holder,” he says. “But you can also have a mouse, or a joystick, or combinations along with a keyboard table and a display, all built in.”
MacDonald describes people coming to look at the Norsap chair and learning about its features. “They check the recline, the swivel, the comfort — and the cushions are all replaceable — then they go walk around and look at what others are offering, and they almost always come back to the Norsap. It’s a comfort thing. These guys spend a lot of time in that chair, and it needs to be comfortable.”
Another interesting offering from Norway is a range of products from Sleipner. “We sell their thrusters and vector fins,” says MacDonald. “We sell a lot of the thrusters to the Bristol Bay boats, every new 32 has a thruster.” Sleipner (formerly Side-Power) makes a variety of electric and hydraulic-powered thrusters and components. “We sell AC and DC electric as well as hydraulic,” MacDonald says. “O’Neil Boats uses them, and other yards are using them.”
MacDonald points out that the Sleipner also makes hull-mounted stabilizers. “They call them vector fins,” he says. The Sleipner fins are curved and come in lengths from 2 feet to just over 6 feet. MacDonalds reports more interest from recreational boat builders. “We haven’t seen a ton of interest from fishermen yet, but I’m sure it’s coming,” he says.
While the Sleipner fins may not have caught on yet in MacDonald’s market, fishermen in eastern Canada are using a straight fins, and at least one New England scallop boat, the Heritage, is sporting fin stabilizers from Canada. “They are simpler than outriggers and birds,” says the builder of the Heritage, Junior Duckworth. “And they work going both ways, where birds only work on the uproll.”
Another Nordic product that IMTRA sells to enhance hull performance are Zipwake interceptors from Sweden. “The interceptor system replaces the traditional trim tabs,” says MacDonald. “The interceptors are designed to create more lift than drag. It’s better than trim tabs because it’s a fully automatic trim control system. It has a control box that acts as the brain for the system. It constantly measures the pitch and roll of the boat and adjusts the interceptors to keep the boat flat. So, if a fisherman has an uneven weight load or something like that, the system will compensate for that.”
MacDonald notes that Zipwake has been around for years and is popular not just on Bristol Bay boats but various other commercial fishing vessels as well. “A lot of people are transitioning away from trim tabs and developing these systems,” he says.
IMTRA also sources marine pumps from KPM in the UK. “These are mostly bilge pumps,” says MacDonald. “But we also offer and emergency pump that comes with a lithium-ion battery that has a 3-hour run time.” In that three hours, the KPM website boasts, the pump can lift “9,510 Gallons (36,000 liters) of water to a height of about 10 feet (3 meters).” Recharge time for the battery is 3 hours.
For fishermen who want to see what they’re doing and where they’re going, IMTRA carries a wide range of navigation lights, searchlights and interior lights from a number of companies, including DHR (Den Haan Rotterdam) which makes LED navigation lights and searchlights.
“We also sell wipers from several manufacturers and Sola-Curve sun shade, which we put on the O’Hara boats,” says MacDonald. “With all the electric-powered products we sell, we had to get into power control,” he says.
To manage power to various vessel systems, IMTRA sells the Victron line of battery chargers, controllers, and inverters. “We also sell the Victron batteries,” says MacDonald. “But unlike most of our products, we don’t have an exclusive on the batteries.”
But for most of what IMTRA sells, from the Libra doors down to window wipers, the company is the sole dealer in the US and Canada. “They are the best,” MacDonald says of the products IMTRA has found to offer.