Reeling in the Benefits of a New Boat Design

The Alice Faye fishing vessel features an aluminum hull

Along with a lot of fish and crab off the Oregon coast, Joel Purkey's new fishing vessel, Alice Faye, is catching attention.

The 40-foot vessel heads into the crabbing season with the ability to pack 26,000 pounds of Dungeness crab — more than double the payload of his previous vessel. "This boat was designed to pack right at 140 crab pots on the deck," said Purkey. "My last 40-footer packed only about 65 crab pots. Now I can take twice the gear out to sea."

In a fishery dominated by fiberglass and wood boats, the Alice Faye features an aluminum hull. "My previous boat was fiberglass. It took a lot of abuse next to the pilings here at the dock, and I had to fix the damage throughout the year," Purkey continued. "The durability, strength, and longevity of aluminum was a big factor in my decision to choose an aluminum hull. It’s an extremely tough boat."

Durability was important for other reasons. At Purkey's hometown of Port Orford, there's no mooring on the water. All boats must be equipped with four lifting eyes and hoisted from the water and dry docked. The port's crane limitations led to yet another requirement: a vessel's displacement could not exceed 45,000 pounds.

Purkey, along with a professional fabricator and marine engineer, pooled their talents to come up with a commercial fishing vessel that met all of Purkey's requirements: a semi-displacement, hard-chine hull with a raised pilothouse and a walk-around engine compartment with full-standing headroom. "I’m 6 feet tall," said Purkey, "and I can walk around the engine on a catwalk standing. That’s almost unheard of in these smaller boats."

Several factors led Purkey to select a John Deere PowerTech™ 6068AFM85 marine enginefor the Alice Faye. "I wanted to save on fuel, and after considering various engine models, John Deere seemed to be one of the most fuel-efficient and reliable engines." In fact, Purkey can pack 700 gallons of fuel on his vessel, and he fished for 12 days, 24 hours a day, on his first tank.

"This boat is really top of the line; it's very modern and sophisticated," Purkey noted. "There's not very many boats like this being built on the Oregon coast, but I think there's a market for them. Once other fishermen start seeing how the Alice Faye fishes, I believe there's going to be a lot of interest."

This boat was designed to pack right at 140 crab pots on the deck.

Joel Purkey