Saturday, January 28, 2012

Work News

Surprisingly, this is not a post about me quitting my job, I am still employed.  It is also not a post about Nicole finding work, if/when that ever happens she can post about it herself.  Instead, I thought I would give a little insight into my job here in Sitka.  As surprising to me as it will be to anyone that knows how much I like working, I am actually enjoying my job.  The variety of boats and different projects means each day is a different challenge and it keeps things interesting.  I am doing quite a bit of HVAC (heating and air conditioning) work which is completely new to me so I am also learning a lot.  The electrical work is at times complex and I enjoy having to use my brain a bit.  I'm even getting use to the week or more waiting period for getting parts and supplies that comes from living on a remote island with no road access.
Things are starting to pick up at Allen Marine.  Our tour season starts in April or May, so after the first of the year we started ramping up for all the maintenance that has to be done to the boats.  The two boats in the top picture are a couple of our day tour catamarans.  The forklift on the right side of the photo or the 8 foot ladder next to the front boat should give an idea of scale.  These boats are just over 78 feet long and 28 feet wide, powered by four  diesel engines attached to Hamilton jet drives.  The engines are turbocharged Caterpillar diesels rated at just over 1000 HP each.  That's right, over 4000 HP per boat, these boats carry about 150 passengers and still cruise at almost 40 knots, or 46 MPH.  The tour company has almost a dozen of these boats, along with a bunch of smaller aluminum catamarans, several single-hulled tour boats, and three larger multi-day cruise ships.  Because these boats work just about every day throughout the summer, some doing several sight-seeing tours each day, repairs during the summer are minimal to avoid disrupting the tour schedules.  That means all the upgrades and repairs happen during the off-season, and because all this happens in Alaska with freezing temperatures and lots of snow in the winter, we are limited by how many of these big boats we can fit inside the shop at one time to make working conditions more tolerable.
The second picture I swiped from the internet so the quality isn't great.  It shows a couple of other projects I have been working on lately.  The big boat in the picture is the Alaskan Dream, one of the multi-day cruise boats at Allen Marine.  It is another catamaran hull, just over 100 feet long, with three levels containing 23 staterooms, lounge, dining room, galley, and a large observation deck on top.  The cool thing about this picture is the boat is being raised out of the water on an aluminum dry-dock, which was also built here at Allen Marine.  Because the shop and our marine lifts are only so big, the dry-dock had to be built in sections, which were individually moved to the water, floated into place, and then attached together.  The dry-dock was built in five sections, and we just attached the final section last week, so it is now fully functional.  At 140 feet long with 42 feet between the side walls it is capable of lifting and supporting up to 1000 tons.  The dry-dock allows us to service all of our boats, up to and including our other multi-day cruise ship, the 143 foot Admiralty Dream.
Lastly, if you are thinking that the aluminum catamarans look familiar, or the name Allen Marine is ringing a bell but you can't figure out why, the last picture might explain it.  The plane crash in the Hudson River in January of 2009, dubbed the "miracle on the Hudson", made news around the world.  More than half the boats responding to the crash and pulling passengers off the plane and out of the water were NY Waterway ferries built by Allen Marine.  The company was very proud to have played a role in helping rescue those people, and there is a wall-sized blow up of that photo in the main office as a reminder.
I'll try to post other work updates as interesting things come up.


  1. seriously? you like work? what did you do with greg?

  2. Thanks for sharing some of the stuff you are doing up there; looks like some really interesting projects. I'm back at Seawide - now you just need us to send you some electronics, right? Keep on keepin' on and enjoy the days getting longer!