Preserving Kodiak's Maritime Heritage

Vessels of Kodiak: A Blend of Form and Function

The vessels in Kodiak are as diverse as the island’s fisheries. Only here in the Port of Kodiak can you observe the entire range of Alaska's commercial fishing vessels. From massive 125–foot crabbers to pint-sized 32–foot gillnetters and jig vessels, these boats are a blend of form and function. Through the years, the design of many boats has been refined by hard-earned experience.

Crab Vessels

King and tanner crab boats:

  • Range from small skiffs to larger 150-foot vessels
  • Constructed of steel
  • Use 4 to 6-person crews.
  • Some boats use large 7x7-foot, 700-pound crab pots.

Dungeness crab boats:

  • Range from 42 to 60 feet.
  • Constructed of steel, wood or fiberglass.
  • Dungeness pots are round and much smaller than king and tanner crab pots.
  • Use 4 to 5-person crews.

How they fish

  • Baited pots are lowered to ocean floor.
  • Crab are lured to pot by bait inside.
  • Pots are pulled up regularly after "soaking a few hours" and unloaded into the fish hold.

Crab Boat with Pots
Crab Boat with Pots
Pulling Up Pot
Pulling Up Pot
Crab Pot Fishing
Crab Pot Fishing

Trawler Vessels

  • Range from 58 to 120 feet.
  • Constructed of steel.
  • Use 3 to 5-person crews.

How they fish

  • Cone-shaped nets are towed behind the vessel to scoop fish.
  • Massive loads require heavy duty machinery – tow stanchions, winches and tow doors.

Trawler
Trawler
Trawler Fishing
Trawler Fishing

Purse Seine Boats

  • Range from 36 to 58 feet.
  • Constructed of steel or fiberglass with a few wooden boats left in the fleet.
  • Use 4 to 5-person crews

How they fish

  • Fish for salmon or herring.
  • Encircle fish with a draw-string-like net or "seine."
  • Seine net is cinched tight from bottom, like a purse.
  • Net with fish is hauled on board with powerful hydraulic equipment.
  • Fish are then "brailed" (loaded onto the deck and into the fish hold.)
  • Also fish for cod or rockfish using hook-laden "jigging" machines that lift baited hooks up and down, enticing the fish to bite.

Chinook (King)
Bringing in net
Pursing
Pursing
Seining
Seining

Longline Vessels

  • Range from 32 to 150 feet.
  • Constructed of steel or fiberglass (some old wood halibut schooners still among the fleet).
  • Use 4 to 6-person crews.

How they fish

  • Use skates – narrow line with baited hooks.
  • Longlines are set on ocean floor for halibut, sablefish (black cod), and cod.

Longliner
Longliner
Pursing
Longliner Fishing

Setnet Skiffs

  • Range from 18 to 26 feet.
  • Constructed of aluminum, fiberglass or wood.
  • Use 2 to 5-person crews.
  • Fish all 5 species of Pacific salmon.
  • Crew lives in cabin on shore.

How they fish

  • Skiffs are used to set nets – one end on shore, other anchored off shore.
  • Salmon are picked from nets and iced down.
  • Salmon are delivered to large collection boats (tenders) twice a day.

Setnet skiff fishing
Setnet skiff fishing

Gillnet Vessels

  • About 32 feet.
  • Constructed of alumninum, fiberglass or wood.
  • Use 3-person crews.

How they fish

  • Floating cork line and sinking leadline hold net vertically in water.
  • Fish are caught in the mesh by their gill flaps (hence the name "gillnetters").
  • Fish for herring or salmon.
  • Herring are shaken from net.
  • Salmon are individually picked from net.
  • Some gillnetters convert to "jigging" for cod and rockfish.

Gillnetter
Gillnetter
Gillnetter Fishing
Gillnetter Fishing

Sport Charter Boats

  • Range from 24 to 50 feet.
  • Many provide luxurious fishing experience – large windows, lots of deck space and roomy living quarters.
  • Fish for king or silver salmon, halibut, rockfish, seabass and lingcod.
  • Use 4 to 6-person crews.

Sport Charter Boat
Sport Charter Boats