Leader Creek Fisheries has expanded their operation to include large vessel storage out of Bristol Bay in Naknek, Alaska and has devised a one of a kind system to save time and money in the dry docking process. All the vessels in this region must be placed out of the water for winter and winter is a very long season that far North. If the vessels could not be pulled from the water, they would need to be either beached or driven to other locations for the haul out process. It could take up to 10 days to reach the best haul out location in Seattle. By developing a process to haul out locally, Leader Creek Fisheries adds up to 20 more days to the working season.
Leader Creek Fisheries spent three years from concept to the final product in developing their time and fuel saving process. The idea of hauling the vessels out of the water on a dolly and crossbeam configuration came from the concept of hauling logs out of the water on cart systems. If 60ton bundles of logs could be hauled out on carts, then a system could also be developed to haul out 50- 60ton tugboats. The final design is capable of being adapted to haul out up to 400ton barges.
The system used to haul out the vessels can be configured with up to 10 Holland Dollies from Holland Moving & Rigging Supplies and five crossbeams or trusses. Each 40ft steel truss consists of two dollies, two accumulators and several 6 by 12-inch Douglas Fir timbers attached to the top to provide a less slippery interface with the vessels. The dollies are modified to be capable of being submersed in water and accumulators assist in regulating the pressure in the hydraulic system.
In order to haul out the vessels, dollies are sent down a ramp into the water and the vessel is positioned over the dollies and engaged with the crossbeams. The entire system is then pulled out of the water by a large winch with the hull of the vessel resting on the timbers.
On October 7, 2010, Leader Creek Fisheries started pulling out vessels with Crowley Maritimeʼs 40-ft by 140-ft fuel barge weighing 300ton and one of Crowleyʼs tugboats weighing 250ton. When pulling longer scows out of the water, raising the hydraulic cylinders on the dollies compensates for an arc in the ramp. The hydraulic cylinders on the Holland Dollies for each truss are coupled together in order to equalize the load. Nitrogen in the accumulators controls the hydraulics to assure the cylinder can adjust and maintain consistent control of the vessel.
Leader Creek Fisheriesʼ one of a kind system allows companies to save on mobilization costs and reduces downtime for winter. The fuel and time savings will make a significant impact on the region.