Seeking More Volume


Cummins Vessel Reference #733

Repowered last winter with QSK38, sponson from 26' to 36' beam, Hal Hockeman did design work. (Haig-Brown photo)

A fishing vessel owner has two options for increasing the volume of his vessel’s hull and its money-making fishhold — one can add more length or add more beam. The latter is likely to gain the most volume and, when regulations limit length, adding beam may well be the only option.

General Manager Mike Lee and Owner Ray Cox at Giddings Boatworks in Charleston Oregon. (Haig-Brown photo)

The 98-foot long FV Seeker is licensed for the mid-water trawl fishery on Pollock, cod and hake. Owner Jim Seavers had the boat built by Johnson Shipyard in Bayou LaBatre, Alabama in 1988. It has been well maintained over the years. Recently the owner had a new deckhouse added. Then last winter, he repowered the vessel by replacing the 940-HP Cummins KTA38-M with a new Tier 3 certified Cummins QSK38-M producing 1350 HP at 1800 RPM. Newport Diesel Marine supplied the new engine and Giddings Boat Works in Charleston, Oregon did the repower. This gave the owner a new engine conforming to US EPA standards and also gained him significant horsepower. The boat went back out for the Pollock and cod A-season and Seavers reports that the skipper was pleased with the extra power. The additional power also allowed then to add pitch to the propeller so that it went from 75×67 inches to 75×73 inches. “We were over netted before,” said Seavers, “So we fish the same net but we have more flexibility.”

The pre-fabricated bow framing ready to be lifted into position.

With a new house and more power, Seavers decided to match that with an increase in beam and volume. In April this year he went back to Giddings Boat Works in Charleston Oregon. Giddings had done the new house and installed the new engine. Now they would take the boat’s beam from 26 to 36 feet by adding five-foot sponsons to both sides. Most of the new steel on the hull is ¼-inch with the stern quarters receiving ½-inch steel plate on corners and the door landing. The aft 20 feet will have a rounded chine for reduced turbulence and improved water flow aft.

The pre-fabricated bow section welded in place.

Work progressed from a design by Hockema & Whalen Associates, Inc under the direction of Paul Monical for the architect and General Manager Mike Lee for the shipyard. When completed this coming September the sponsoning will have increased the combined volume of the two fishholds from 4,713 cu. ft. to 6,112 cu. ft. Fuel capacity will grow from 29,380 gallons to 43,010 gallons and fresh potable water capacity will increase from 2,432 gallons to 4,336 gallons.

Trawl winches will be moved from the main deck to the shelter deck level and the gantry extended to take advantage of the increased beam. New RSW chillers and auxiliary power have also been added. A new bow with a 150 HP hydraulic bow thruster and bulbous bow are also being added.

For further information:

Mike Lee
General Manager,
Giddings Boat Works
63106 Troller Rd.
PO Box 5011
Charleston, Oregon 97420
Phone: 541888 4712

Paul Monical
Project Naval Architect
Hockema & Whalen Associates, Inc.

Jim Seavers
Owner, FV Seeker
Newport, Oregon
Phone: 541 961 1716

Alan Haig-Brown

Alan Haig-Brown

Over 30 years as an author for global commercial marine and fishing publications backed with hands-on experience on commercial fishing boats and coastal freighters makes Alan Haig-Brown uniquely qualified to provide vessel reference articles for Cummins Marine. You can find him in shipyards around the world, and on his own website,

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