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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) 746-2865

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 fishery.

“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,” Frank said.

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 Barney Devine.

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
Design carrying on TGMD reputation

Ship design team settling in at new quarters
By Kurt Rentmeester
Advocate correspondent

Posted 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 reputation.

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 wooden boats.

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 year.

“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 weight.

“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.”

SeaCraft Design, LLC © 2007 to 2015
Hosted and Designed by Poverty Island
Seacraft Design, LLC
P.O. Box 234, 957 Green Bay Road , Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Phone: 920-746-8613 • Fax: 920-746-8615
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