Maritime Fabrication in La Connor, Wash., was finishing overhauling the Stardust, a 32-foot Bristol Bay gillnetter, at the end of February. The Stardust has been at Maritime Fabrication over the past two winters. It was to be a one-winter project, says Maritime Fabrications Isaac Oczkewicz, but the boat’s owner decided more work needed to be done, so he leased a boat for his own fishing and the Stardust stayed at Maritime Fabrication.

The Stardust arrived with a traditional low-level wheelhouse that you had to step down into. Thus, that first winter, the crew at Maritime Fabrication raised the cabin. “He just wanted better visibility,” says Oczkewicz. By raising the cabin, the cabin’s floor was also raised, “so now he has more room in the engine room.” 

 This winter’s work included a power upgrade in the engine room.  A 370-hp Volvo TAMD 63P was replaced with a 430-hp Cummins C series for its additional power and the dependability of a new engine. Also, a new 10-ton Integrated Marine System refrigeration unit replaced a 7.5-ton IMS refrigeration unit. “That allows the water to be chilled faster and the fish faster,” said Oczkewicz. “You don’t have to run the unit as long to get the temperature down.”

Plywood bulkheads in the fish hold were removed and replaced with composite bulkheads. “He’s going to lose a lot of weight,” noted Oczkewicz, “because the plywood we took out was pretty wet. It’s always wet.”

Maritime Fabrication is also building a pair of 32’ x 11’ Buffalo Boats for the Puget Sound Dungeness crab fishery. One of the 32 footers is for the Tulalip Tribe, which is located in the mid-Puget Sound area, and will be a fisheries support and enforcement vessel. The other 32-footer is going to a tribal member to be used for crabbing and geoduck diving. Each will be powered by a 380-hp Volvo D6 with an outdrive.

Oczkewicz describes the Buffalo Boats as having “a sportier look. The hull design was copied off an old, wooden Fairliner, a Pacific Northwest brand of pleasure boat. “The current configuration has been around probably 30 years.” Both boats should be delivered by the end of April.

The Drifter, a relatively new gillnet drum was designed and built by Maritime Fabrications and Marine Hydraulics Consultancy. Marine Hydraulics Consultancy photo.

Besides designing and building boats for fishermen, Maritime Fabrication develops innovative deck gear. The Drifter, a gillnet drum that was built in collaboration with Marine Hydraulic Consultancy in Poulsbo, Wash., is designed with an internal hydraulic motor and clutch so the motor can be disengaged entirely when free-wheeling the net out. There’s also a dynamic disk brake. The second Drifter went to Bay Weld Boats in Homer for a gill netter that was being built. 

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

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