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Thread: Whats the lifespan of a commercial steel boat?

  1. #1
    Member Maast's Avatar
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    Default Whats the lifespan of a commercial steel boat?

    I watch all 3 of the fishing shows: Deadliest Catch, Swords - Life on the Line, and Lobstermen. (I didnt even know the last two existed until the Tivo recommended them) Two of the shows are traps on the bottom, and one show is a longliner for swordfish.

    It seems they all beat the snot out of their boats, especially the swordfishers and the lobstermen since they're relatively small (65-85ish feet).

    I havent seen an aluminum boat yet on any of the shows (there is one smallish fiberglass boat, and he get the snot beat out of him regularly) and all of the steel boats show a lot of corrosion and repaired damage.

    So, how long does a commercial boat last?
    2696 Sea Raider Pilothouse
    "Dominion"

  2. #2
    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    They will last forever as long as they are being maintained each year, but if they sit for a year or two, they can rot/rust out. Those big steel boats have to have money put back into them

  3. #3
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    I worked on the Saga, (one of the boats in the first season of the "Riskiest" Catch,....) for several years back in the eighties, and it came out of the Bender shipyard in 1979. Designed specifically for the Crab fisheries of the Gulf of AK and the Bering Sea, it is a beautifully built boat, had been in the Kodiak area and Bering Sea every year since, fishing Very Hard, seasons were a LOT LONGER then(yes, they do work them pretty hard but where those pots slam in while being hauled as well as all the stacking, etc. is very well covered by hard wood guards and decking of various kinds so the steel is protected) and the Saga is still now in pretty nice shape. I believe it hasn't been out in the Bering Sea since the Quota system came in place,(2nd year of that show) they Pack Salmon in SE and maybe the Bay, I think they coop their crab quota with another vessel now but those boats built for the Bering Sea, hold up very well.

    Though we did do a lot of Serious Maintenance on a boat that is turning profit like that and fishing in a hard environment pretty much CONSTANTLY, the folks who own the Saga are some of the Hardest Working People I Have Ever Met.
    Mighty Impressive Vessels those are, upgraded and repaired and treated like your lifeline.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  4. #4
    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Boats will virtually last forever if taking care of, but at some point the take-care-of aspect becomes excessive. Medal fatigues and needs to be cut out and replaced, and this process in ongoing for larger vessels that twist and bend contumely because of their size.
    Aluminum in expensive and just doesn’t lent well to the rigors of larger vessels although you see it used a lot for the super structure because it’s lightweight and weathers well.
    The last boat I worked on (late 80s) was a converted 1953 T boat, steel hull aluminum superstructure. I also long lined on a 1916 wooden 48 footer, that boat could really take some weather.
    Those were the days……
    Jay
    07 C-Dory 25 Cruiser
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  5. #5
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    breausaw, what wooden boat was that, just curious,

    I have also worked on several older wooden vessels and the flex they allow because of individual plank construction really allow for a comfortable ride in seas as well as long life I think. I love them

    It was Unreal to sit down in the forepeak of the Saga in heavy weather and watch the flexing that goes on. Like really heavy weather 40ft seas or so and that boat is literally twisting and bending like crazy and you can see it just watching the beams of steel inside the forepeak (which is underneath the deck up forward in the Bow of the boat) Amazing to see, and really makes you wonder about Metal Fatigue as you mention.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  6. #6
    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    breausaw, what wooden boat was that, just curious,

    F/V Cascade, dry docked permanently at the Kenai small boat harbor on Snug Harbor Seafood’s property; current own is Paul Dale co owner of Snug Harbor Seafood’s. It was a limit seiner in Kodiak for years, prior to that not sure.
    The T boat is number T 440, F/V Lodestar. Last I saw her was in dry dock in Seward across the bay. Not sure who the current owner is. I was told by the previous over the Lodestar was configured to fish Tuna of the cost of CA before it was brought to Alaska. It had a Cold brine refrigeration system that could freeze anything you tossed in the hold. We fished the 24hr halibut derbies with her and tendered around Kodiak in the summer. Once I got the cold brine configured to refrigerate and not freeze it was really slick.
    Jay
    07 C-Dory 25 Cruiser
    OurPlayground.


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