Crab Boat Voyager – Aluminum Sponson Project

Crab Boat Aluminum Sponson Project

Commodore’s Boats always seem to have interesting building and restoration projects underway, and this Summer was no exception, with several jobs ongoing in a variety of materials, including a unique and specialized sponson project. . Tucked in on either side of the shop, there are a couple of aluminum crab boats both out of Tokeland, Washington, USA. There, Commodore’s shipwrights comprised of mostly welders under the direction of owner Bo Spiller are widening and lengthening the crab boat “Voyager” by adding two sponsons to the outside of the hull and extending the stern. The objective is to increase stability and working area.

Definition Sponson:

  • a projection on the side of a boat, ship, or seaplane.
  • a gun platform standing out from a warship’s side.
  • a short subsidiary wing that serves to stabilize a seaplane.

The following gallery are the original architectural drawings as provided by Bruce Culver Engineer. These adaptations are used as a starting point and are not always required on sponson projects. In this particular case the drawings were modified as the project moved along through collaboration between Commodore’s Boats GM Bo Spiller and Mark Tucker owner of F/V Voyager.

The sponsons are built up from a series of small bulkheads welded at regular intervals along the deck line and extending down to the chine.

When everything is welded in place, the boat will gain 3’6″ on each side. Some of the spaces in each sponson will be voids. However, under Bo’s direction, Mark the owner has opted to add extra fuel tanks, plus he’ll use the adjacent bay as a water storage area accessible from the lazarette.  Commodore’s is also going to add 5′ or so off the stern to further increase the working space and 3′ to the bow for waterline length.

When everything is completed, the overall deck and working space will double in area which will provide a better work environment for the crew and more importantly be safer. Deck space will double, fuel capacity will double and this will allow a more efficient crab boat that will require less runs from port to fishing grounds.

The biggest challenge for a project of this type is fairing the new work into the old and getting the whole thing to look “right,” as though it was designed and built that way from the start.  The final appearance clearly matters and Commodore’s is determined to give Mark a quality and more efficient vessel than he started with.

One thought on “Crab Boat Voyager – Aluminum Sponson Project

  1. Great job, that turned out to be an awesome looking boat !!!. I’d love to see a follow up story on the boat.

    Do you think the owner would now be about ready to maybe be interested in a few suggestions for some relatively easy, new add on modifications ?. Mods that could seriously increase the vessel’s speed, stability, fuel efficiency, and range. It really wouldn’t take much more to step that boat up into a class of vessels known as “SES” (surface effect ships). Under a combination of SES catagories of vessel types, such as … “CAB” captured air bubble, foil assist, and venturi ram air induction sponsons, super-cavitating, etc.

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