By David G. Sellars
PDN Maritime Columnist
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As luck would have it, I was just in time to watch personnel move the hull of a new 45-foot utility boat out of the shop so that it could be turned over.
Eric Schneider, who owns Lee Shore Boats, and Joe Beck, who works in the sales department, recently negotiated a contract with a large South American multinational corporation for 20 Coast Guard-compliant utility crew boats.
The boats are 45 feet long with a 16-foot beam.
To build the boats, two jigs were made that are about 50 feet long and 17 feet wide and sit on numerous legs with casters.
In effect, they're just big tables.
Incorporated in each leg of the jigs is a leveling mechanism that enables the fabricators to have a perfectly level plane upon which to build the hull.
The hull of the boat is built upside-down.
Therefore, the first element to be placed on the jig is the main-deck plate.
From there, the boat's frames are placed atop the deck plate, the necessary support pieces are welded in place, and the aluminum plating that constitutes the boat's finished hull is welded to the frames.
At this juncture, the hull is taken off the jig and placed upon blocks on the shop floor.
As welders wrap up their tasks on the hull, the jig is moved over to another bay in the shop, and the process begins anew for the next hull.
When it's time to flip the hull over, two forklifts take it out of the shop and set it onto a skid made of wood lattice work.
Because the hull weighs about 10,000 pounds, Admiralty Cranes was on-site to assist in turning the hull over.
Once the hull was upright in its natural configuration, it was set onto a set of wheeled dollies and moved back into the shop, where the building process continues.
Lee Shore Boats is one of five aluminum-boat builders that are contracted to build a fleet of 100 boats for the oil industry.
They were contacted by the contracting company through a website Eric acquired in 2011 when he purchased the assets of the shuttered aluminum-boat manufacturer Nichols Diversified Industries, or NDI.
Another of the assets Eric acquired was access to numerous boat designs.
One is for a 45-foot-by-16-foot platform that NDI used as the basis for a pilot boat. Another of NDI's clients, Moran Towing in Ensenada, Mexico, used the design for a line-handling boat.
When Eric was contacted to submit a bid for the utility crew boats, he hired Tulio Celano of Crescere Marine in Portland, Ore., to engineer the hull to meet American Bureau of Shipping standards and high-speed naval craft 30-knot rules.
Celano changed the wheelhouse and crew accommodations of the former NDI platform to meet the customer's specific needs, which included providing a head and seating for 14 passengers plus two crew members.
The boats will have a rigid-foam collar with a projected top speed of 32 knots that is provided by twin Cummins QSM11 diesels that are coupled to Hamilton 322 jet drives.
Down the street
Since I was in the neighborhood, so to speak, I left Lee Shore Boats and went a few blocks farther west to visit with Chad Crozier of Crozier Craft.
He and his crew are currently working on a 28-foot power troller for a Port Townsend owner who will use the commercial boat to troll for salmon in Neah Bay and LaPush.
Crozier Craft recently finished building a one-side walk-around aluminum boat for Joe Luce of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe.
Joe is involved in a number of fisheries.
In addition to using the 30-foot boat to dive for geoducks and sea urchins, he has it equipped to gillnet for salmon. He also will use the boat to pot for crab and shrimp.
The 10-foot-wide boat is powered by twin 250-horsepower Honda outboard engines that, according to Chad, took the boat to a brisk and nearly hair-raising 41 knots during sea trials.
Port Townsend talk
Wooden Boat Wednesdays continue at noon this coming Wednesday in the Maritime Meeting Room of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend.
Erik Wennstrom and Jordan Pollack will present a program titled “Managing Emergencies on the Water.”
Their discussion will focus on some of the more common maritime emergencies a recreational boater is likely to encounter, and they also will offer some preparedness guidelines and equipment recommendations.
Erik is a Vessel Assist captain and salvage diver who has been an emergency medical technician for more than 30 years.
Throughout his career, he has acquired a wealth of experience in dealing with fire and medical emergencies.
Jordan is a person who knows his fires. He has been a firefighter for more than 30 years and is chief of the Breitenbush Fire Department in central Oregon.
Jordan has been a fire service instructor since 1983, and during his spare time, he coordinates two major development programs for the fire service in the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Nayarit for the humanitarian group Firefighters Crossing Borders.
Wooden Boat Wednesday is a free event that begins promptly at noon and typically lasts for 90 minutes.
Seating is limited and requires advance registration by phoning the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St., Port Townsend, at 360-385-3628, ext. 101.
Or send an email to email@example.com.
Out in Port Angeles Harbor on Monday, Tesoro Corp. bunkered Reina Rosa, a 420-foot roll on/roll off ship.
The Panamanian-flagged freighter departed Port Angeles for Long Beach, Calif. — and as of Friday, she had journeyed on to San Diego.
On Wednesday, Tesoro refueled Anna Barbara, a 623-foot bulk cargo ship with a 105-foot beam that is flagged in Liberia.
Then Tesoro on Thursday provided bunkers to Aqua Pride, which is also a Liberian-flagged bulk cargo ship that is 653 feet long.
David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain's mate who enjoys boats and strolling the waterfront.
Items involving boating, port activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him at 360-808-3202.
His column, On the Waterfront, appears Sundays.