Bay Welding supplies new aluminum boats to Alaska

In mid-April, Bay Welding Services, Homer, Alaska, delivered two new aluminum boats to government agencies in Alaska. The U.S. Forest Service got a 36’×12′ boat, and the Alaska State Troopers got a 33’×11′ boat. 

Both boats are based on Bay Welding’s standard hull design for recreational boat users. However, Eric Engebretsen, Bay Welding’s general manager, pointed out that the design, framing and construction style is “very commercial and industrial to begin with.”

The walk-through cabin on the Forest Service boat features both forward and aft doors. The bow has a traditional-looking shape and profile, but a 2′-wide section in the middle drops down with foldout steps. 

“You can nose right up to the beach, and drop the ramp without climbing over the bow,” Engebretsen said. “The Forest Service does a lot of beach patrols, so they are on and off the beach a lot. With this design they don’t need to launch a raft.”

For maneuvering into the beach, the boat’s operator can use the 8″ bowthruster. And when it’s time to get somewhere in a hurry, the pair of 350-hp Yamaha 4-stroke V-8 outboards will do the job. Wide open, the outboards push the boat to 42 knots. At a 30-knot cruising speed, the boat gets 1.1 miles/gal. That’s with 100 percent fuel load.

The boat’s walk-through cabin design forced Bay Welding to be creative in finding berthing for four. The answer was to put a bunkroom below the cabin’s dinette.

While the Forest Service does a lot of beach landings, the Alaska State Troopers will be boarding boats, not beaches. For this job, the state troopers’ 33-footer has an Air-D inflatable sponson from Wing Inflatables. “It’s a fendering collar for boarding,” Engebretsen said. “It’s not there to improve the boat’s flotation or stability characteristics.”

To accommodate the collar, framing was added to the hull above the water line. The cabin sides were also beefed up, from 5/32” to 3/16”.

On the transom is a pair of 300-hp Yamaha 4-stroke outboards. “The troopers favor outboards for simplicity, and it’s easy to put a variety of users in the boat and be confident they can operate and maintain the motors,” Engebretsen said. 

The boat hits 39 knots. At a 30-knot cruising speed, it got 1.2 miles/gal. with all fuel tanks filled. 

Both boats have a larger than normal fuel capacity. The Forest Service and the state of Alaska “wanted a 350 to 400 nautical mile range with a safety factor built in. So they each carry 450 gallons,” Engebretsen said.   

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