ON THE WATERFRONT WITH DAVID G. SELLARS: Business brisk for Port Angeles repairer-manufacturer
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
Navy barge YC 1591 hanging in slings of the Marine TraveLift.
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Arrow Launch's Warrior, sitting on the hard in the Port Angeles Boat Yard so that a propeller issue can be dealt with.
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The 58 foot seiner/crabber Qualay Squallum on her way back into the water.
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
Platypus Marine project manager Justin Huff.

By David G. Sellars
PDN Maritime Columnist

Platypus Marine, the full-service shipyard, yacht-repair facility and steel-boat manufacturer on Marine Drive in Port Angeles, hauled out LB-1 Tuesday.

Capt. Charlie Crane, Platypus’ director of sales and marketing, said the tug will be in the Commander Building for up to four weeks for various steel repairs.

Tradesmen also will sandblast the entire vessel, install new zincs and apply a new coat of paint.

LB-1 came up from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton and is used to push barges similar to YC 1591, which now sits in a satellite building at Platypus’ facility around the shipyard.

Charlie said the barge will be on the hard for six to seven weeks for steel repairs, sandblasting, new paint and a new set of zincs.

The vessel designation YC, which originated in 1920, labeled the vessel as a coal barge.

As the Navy’s use of coal declined and finally ceased, YCs were used to transport anything that could be carried on an open or exposed weather deck.

Through the years, many YCs were converted to other uses, including YC 1591, now used as a floating work platform for machinery, equipment and personnel.

It can be tethered alongside a ship to assist in repairs and maintenance of the larger vessel.

Seiner progresses

Also at Platypus, construction of the Hal Hockema-designed, 58-foot-limit seiner is progressing nicely in the Rubb Building.

It is actually starting to look like a boat now that its bulbous bow is in place, and welders are beginning to cover the commercial fishing vessel’s frames with steel plating.

Justin Huff, the project manager, said the project is moving along quite smoothly. He anticipates completion of the boat by early 2013.

Huff moved to Port Angeles eight years ago from Sedro-Woolley to work at Westport Shipyard, also on Marine Drive.

At the time, Westport’s building had been completed, but construction of their first 50-meter yacht, Vango, had not begun.

While there, Huff helped to develop quality-assurance procedures and crew-training protocols that were specifically designed to be in compliance with American Bureau of Shipping classification requirements.

As is so often the case, the roots of Huff’s maritime vocation stem from his youthful avocation of spending summers boating in the San Juan Islands.

He also worked for different yacht-chartering companies in his hometown of Anacortes, maintaining the vessels between summer charters and shoveling snow off their decks during the winter months to prevent them from sinking.

After completing a two-year course of study at Bellingham Technical College, Huff moved to the Eastern Seaboard in the early 1990s to work as an engineer in large commercial buildings.

By his own alliterative admission, “buildings became boring,” and within a few short years, he was back on the Anacortes waterfront to work for Dakota Creek Industries.

It was there, working as a fitter and welder, that he gained experience in the construction and repair of commercial vessels and their often-complex propulsion systems.

Huff’s next move, which kept him in Anacortes, was to Northern Marine, where he delved into engineering project management for trawlers and mega-yachts.

This is also where he had his first in-depth exposure to and gained a measure of proficiency in the workings, standards and requirements of the American Bureau of Shipping classification society.

As a project manager, Huff’s responsibilities are numerous and varied.

From communicating with the owner about the project’s progress to ordering materials and scheduling their installation and looking down the pike to the next project, his is a position where the mind has few opportunities to shut down.

More at Platypus

Qualay Squallum, a 58-foot Jensen that is used as a seiner and crabber by her owner, Jeremy Winn of Hoquiam, has been sitting on the hard at Platypus Marine for the past month or so.

Winn had a contractor polish the fuel and personnel at Platypus install new zincs, perform a laundry list of preventative maintenance items and, lastly, apply a new coat of bottom paint.

The boat, which once fished for squid in the waters off Monterey, Calif., when she was known as Mineo Bros., was put back into the water Friday afternoon.

Hoist work

Platypus performed a little preventative maintenance of its own last week on the company’s 330-ton Marine TraveLift.

In addition to inspecting the lift’s hydraulic system and its seemingly miles of lines and hundreds of fittings, personnel replaced the cables and cable brakes.

According to JR, one of the TraveLift operators, the cables totaled 4,780 feet in length — almost a mile.

Boatyard work

Arrow Launch had one of its vessels, Warrior, sitting on the hard at the Port Angeles Boat Yard on Thursday.

I understand that the 56-foot vessel that is used to transport stores, equipment and supplies to ships anchored in Port Angeles Harbor, picked up a small piece of wood that lodged between the starboard propeller and the hull, causing the prop to seize up.

Once the boat was blocked, Arrow Launch personnel were able to dislodge the stick — and Warrior was immediately put back into service.

Topside repairs

The Crowley-owned articulated tug and barge, Commitment, and her barge 650-6 were moored to the Port of Port Angeles’ T-Pier on Tuesday.

Straits Marine and Industrial, the topside repair company whose office and shop are on the waterfront just west of the new bridge over Tumwater Creek, had personnel making piping repairs, performing some routine maintenance on electronic equipment and cleaning cargo tanks prior to their inspection by a contractor.

She got under way shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday evening for Vancouver, B.C.

Sierra, an 832-foot crude oil tanker owned by ExxonMobil, moored to the port’s Terminal 1 North pier early Tuesday evening.

Washington Marine Repair, a division of Vigor Marine whose local offices are at the foot of Cedar Street, repaired a ballast pump and made some piping repairs during the vessel’s brief layover in Port Angeles.

Contract awarded

Lee Shore Boats, the aluminum-boat fabricator on the east side of Port Angeles, was recently awarded a contract to build a patrol boat for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

In many respects, the boat will be similar to the one built by the company and delivered to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office last year.

One major difference:

The Jefferson County boat will be 4 feet longer than Clallam’s.

The new boat will be powered by twin 250-horsepower Honda outboards and will have an air inflatable collar built by CPI Marine of Texas.

The boat also will be equipped with a law enforcement electronic package, including a GD Itronix 8000 laptop computer that is similar to ones used by law enforcement officers in their patrol cars.

The laptop will interface with a Furuno Navnet 3D system.

Harbor filler-up

Last Sunday, Tesoro Petroleum bunkered Season Trader, a 456-foot refrigeration ship that is due in Balboa, Panama, this coming Friday.

On Tuesday, Tesoro loaded a 183-foot barge from Vancouver, B.C., with low-sulfur fuel that will be used for bunkers on cruise ships departing Vancouver.


David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain’s mate who enjoys boats and strolling the waterfronts.

Items involving boating, port activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome.

Email dgsellars@
hotmail.com or phone him at 360-808-3202.

His column, On the Waterfront, will return Sunday, Sept. 2.

Last modified: August 11. 2012 6:03PM
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