The MACC whacky

After a year’s hiatus, the Multi-Agency Craft Conference is back in 2011. Once again, small boat builders and equipment suppliers have returned to the U.S. Navy base at Little Creek in Norfolk, Va., to talk shop and do business.

As in years past, MACC 2011 is divided into three parts: technical presentations, a trade show and in-water demos.

One of things that MACC always does is provide a forum for whacky ideas. For example, on Tuesday, a naval architect who works for the Navy presented a concept for a “Tele-operated Transformable Amphibious Fuel Truck” (TTAFT). The vehicle/vessel would transport fuel or water between ships at sea and the beach and beyond. At the ship, the 40-foot long truck would be set in the water upside down as the top of the tank becomes the hull. This position puts the wheels up in the air where they don’t add hydrodynamic drag.

Propelled by a small diesel engine, the TTAFT then is driven by remote control to near the beach where the fuel or water is pumped to the upper half of the tank and the whole thing rolls over. A small submersible outboard engine would then push the tank truck up to the beach where the truck’s eight wheels take over and off it goes to deliver its liquid cargo. On land, the truck can be driven remotely or by an on-board operator in congested areas.

The return to the ship presents a problem because the truck no longer has the fuel or water for ballast, but a bladder system could be fitted to allow segregated ballast water to be carried when returning to the ship.

At the end of his presentation, Gabor Karafiath, the naval architect, said he hoped to find someone at MACC “who would be interested in pursuing this idea.” No one jumped at the opportunity, but you never know.

Meanwhile, other more conventional concepts were also on display, including the first monohull from Moose Boats, but more about that later.

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About the author

Bruce Buls

With a degree in English literature from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!), journalism experience at the once-upon-a-time Seattle P-I, and at-sea experience as a commercial fisherman in Washington and Alaska, Bruce Buls has forged a career in commercial marine trade journalism, including stints at Alaska Fishermen’s Journal and National Fisherman, WorkBoat’s sister publications. Bruce spent 16 years as WorkBoat's technical editor before retiring in May 2015. He lives on Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island, about 20 miles north of Seattle (go 'Hawks!).

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