The boatbuilding sector is singing an especially positive note. Pacific Marine Expo was upbeat for all facets of the industry, thanks to busy yards and new orders. 


On the new construction front, three very different boats for three very different fisheries have emerged. In fact, each design marks a first for its fishery. 

Vigor’s new 144-foot freezer longliner marks a new class of “affordable” production boats. Developed around the idea of using an assembly line to shift away from one-off construction, the company hopes these North Pacific workhorses will evolve into a fleet that not only simplifies construction, but minimizes downtime by popularizing common parts and spares. 

“A new class of longliners is a central need for the recapitalization of the North Pacific fishing fleet. Fishermen need to know they can depend on the design, and it better be affordable,” explains Keith Whittemore, executive VP of business development at Vigor. 

Down the coast in Charleston, Ore., the crew at Giddings Boatworks is getting ready to cut the steel for a new 79-foot loadline limit trawler. Designed by Coastwise Corp. with a 36-foot beam and draft of 13' 7", the boat has a bulbous bow and is a replacement vessel for the Kodiak fishery. 

New boats at 79 feet and under are no longer required to be designed and built using classification standards. That adds time and money to a project, as well as limiting gear options. This hull will also use a Tier 3 engine so long as the keel is laid down in December this year, as projected. 

“This is going to be the first trawler built for the Kodiak in a long time,” notes Mike Lee, general manager at Giddings, withholding the name of the owners with a chuckle. 

Lastly, here in Seattle, Snow & Co. sent a new flat-bottom aluminum shellfish tender to Rockpoint Oyster Co. in Dabob Bay at the top of the Hood Canal. The low-freeboard design will operate in extremely shallow waters, enough to warrant a jet-drive instead of the outboard used in a similar boat built last year that was sent to California. 

“It’s pretty much a scow with a dory bow,” said Brett Snow, owner of the company. “But the biggest challenge with the flat bottom is that it’s very hard to keep the jet from cavitating. So we built a little air dam in front of the jet to stop bubbles and force them outboard.” 

With a Cummins 425-hp driving a Almarin Jet 340, this new model not only can move out to the grounds quickly, but once the crates of oysters are loaded on deck with the Maximum Performance crane, it has plenty of torque to drive in a full load in shallow water, which solves an issue for operating in shallow water.

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