In the News...
New Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Lake Michigan research ship boost for fisheries
News Release Published: April 14, 2010 by the Central Office
Contact(s): Paul Peeters, Northeast Region Fisheries Team Supervisor, (920)
MANITOWOC – Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank and
Burger Boat Company today signed a contract for the construction of a 60-foot
research vessel to support expanded study and survey work of the Lake Michigan
“This day is the result of tremendous partnerships and efforts, and the
dedication of many,” Frank said at a morning news conference at the local
company’s shipyard at the Port of Manitowoc. “This new boat, made by this nearly
150-year-old Wisconsin manufacturer, will be a state-of-the-art vessel with
features to support expanded work by our fisheries experts of Lake Michigan.”
Burger Boat Company president James Ruffolo participated in the ceremonial
signing. Founded in 1863, Burger Boat Company is the oldest custom yacht builder
in the nation and the oldest functioning company in the city.
“This is a big day for Wisconsin’s $13 billion tourism industry which includes
the very popular sport fishery of Lake Michigan, our licensed commercial fishing
operations and their employees and the science of healthy resources and water,”
Named after the fish genus that includes lake whitefish, lake herring and
bloater chubs, the new RV Coregonus will be capable of gill netting and allowing
fisheries staff to continue the work done on the previous research ship – the RV
However, the RV Coregonus also have expanded features including onboard
laboratory equipment, water tight compartments and a semi-planning hull along
with capabilities for scuba operations.
The Coregonus was designed by SeaCraft Design in Sturgeon Bay and will be built
by Burger Boat Company for a cost of $1.9 million. Funding for the boat will
come primarily from license revenues placed in the segregated fisheries account
with an additional $500,000 from the Salmon Stamp revenues.
“Although the RV Barney Devine was well-maintained, it is now nearly 75 years
old and become technologically obsolete with an increasing maintenance expense,”
Frank said of the previous research ship also built by Burger Boat. “There have
been many advances in fisheries research since 1937 and the old boat is not
longer suitable. The new vessel also will incorporate many safety features and
improve vessel and crew safety.”
DNR fisheries staff worked closely with SeaCraft to develop the design that
would maintain the ability to use gill nets during all seasons but in the most
extreme sea conditions, while expanding its capabilities for research. Its
capabilities include trawling and deploying hydro-acoustic equipment.
The Barney Devine had a top speed of less than 10 knots, which meant a travel
time from Sturgeon Bay to Milwaukee of 15 to 16 hours. The Coregonus will be
able to travel 20 knots, decreasing the travel time and increasing efficiency.
The Coregonus, which the company anticipates to build with current employees, is
expected to be ready for use in 2011.
Sport fishing in Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior generated
$419 million in economic activity and supported 5,000 jobs in Wisconsin alone,
based on a comprehensive survey conducted in 2006 by the United States Fish and
Wildlife Service and the Department of the Census and an economic analysis done
by the American Sportfishing Association.
Wisconsin also sustains a commercial fishery with about 60 licensed commercial
operations on Lake Michigan and a smaller number on Lake Superior.
From the Door County Advocate
Seacraft Design carrying on TGMD reputation
Ship design team settling in at new quarters
By Kurt Rentmeester
February 21, 2007
As president and head naval architect at the
newly established Seacraft Design LLC, Mark Pudlo knows from experience that
excellence and attention to detail are paramount in building a company’s
Pudlo will oversee the design, production and engineering of small- to
medium-sized commercial vessels for the new Sturgeon Bay firm, which operates at
61 Michigan St.
Pudlo acquired the design assets of Timothy Graul Marine Design effective Jan.
1. Through Seacraft Design, Pudlo, 42, and his five-member staff will build on
several niche areas of ship construction: passenger vessels, car ferries and
offshore support vessels; boats that range in length from 130 to 180 feet and
that can travel as fast as 30 knots.
The company provides several services, including conceptual, contract-level and
detail designs; regulatory compliance; hull form development and structural
analysis; and stability tests and analyses.
Seacraft Design also will provide speed and propulsion estimates, propeller and
systems designs, vessel modifications and conversions, provide shipyard support
and owner representation and calculate tonnages.
Joining Pudlo are naval architects Craig Pomeroy and Nathan Smith, designer
Charlie Balestrieri, administrator Jean Clark and controller Chesla Anschutz.
Pomeroy brings 24 years of commercial vessel and custom yacht design experience
and most recently worked for Burger Boat Co. in Manitowoc.
Smith moved to Sturgeon Bay in 2005, bringing a diverse background in the
maritime industry, including his experience in building and sailing traditional
Balestrieri has been working in ship construction and design for 33 years and
specializes in drafting and system design.
Pudlo, Pomeroy and Smith all graduated from Webb Institute, a highly regarded
school of naval architecture that accepts only 25 students each year.
Before graduating from Webb Institute in 1987, Pudlo interned at Timothy Graul
Marine Design. After graduation, he continued his career with TGMD, eventually
becoming chief naval architect there.
Last year, Graul approached Pudlo about acquiring the business. Pudlo then
formed Seacraft Design, and purchased most of TGMD. Graul will continue to do
consulting and conduct ship surveys.
The acquisition by Pudlo ensures the continuity of a marine design business
linked to the maritime history of Sturgeon Bay.
“We enjoy what we’re doing,” Pudlo said. “We’re excited about building our
reputation and serving our clients. Our clients include owners, operators and
builders all over the country.”
As part of the transition, Seacraft established a new headquarters in the Great
Lakes Yacht Services building adjacent to the Michigan Street Bridge. Pudlo said
the business will be a good fit along Sturgeon Bay’s waterfront.
The purchase gives the new company a firm foundation, and enables Seacraft to
build on the TGMD reputation.
In January and February alone, Seacraft has design work for three crew boats and
two passenger boats, and will prepare vessel modifications and a concept design
for a car ferry. A solid booking of projects is expected during the rest of the
“Good work — that’s our whole philosophy,” Pudlo said. “That’s how Tim (Graul)
has always gotten business. You can advertise. But its people knowing who to go
to. It’s really a niche industry we’re in. Word of mouth carries a lot of
“We’re carrying on more than 25 years of history, established by Tim Graul,”
Pudlo said. “We’re building on the legacy we inherited serving the same clients
and building a new history of our own.”