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will kelp cutters help with Maine lobster traps

Discussion in 'Props, Shafts & Seals' started by marc foster, Mar 25, 2019.

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  1. marc foster

    marc foster New Member

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    We have been West coast cruisers for 20 years. We are now looking to ship our boat to Florida in November and then cruise to Maine for the month of August, and clearly enjoy the entire Eastern coast. The boat is an 85 foot Offshore with Stabilizers and I will need a bottom paint this summer prior to my departure. Should I install something to protect the Stabilizers from the lobster traps when I do the bottom job? Would a traditional Kelp cutter in front of each stabilizer fin do the job? Am I just overthinking this and don't need to worry?

    Would love some East coast local knowledge.
    Cheers,
    Marc
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I've never had an issue hooking lobster traps with stabilizers. I have gotten trap line around the shafts a half dozen times over the years.
  3. captainwjm

    captainwjm Senior member

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    Not necessary, but if it will give you peace of mind, then it’s only a question of $.
  4. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    If you run during the daytime, and pay attention, you should be fine. If you cruise at night, or let the autopilot do all the work, you'll want cutters.
    The propellor shafts, struts, and props are more likely to pick them up, but the stabilizers aren't immune. I generally carry a 7mm wetsuit for my deckhands to go down and check the gear periodically.
  5. marc foster

    marc foster New Member

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    Thanks for the great feed back. I think a better use of the money would be a wetsuit as you suggest.
  6. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    AND an air tank with 70’ of hose and a regulator and some weights, and a mask and snorkel.
  7. marc foster

    marc foster New Member

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    I like your 70 ft of hose idea, I never would have thought of that. The last time I wrapped a prop I went under with a wetsuit, mask and a knife. What a pain in the ass that was. Thought I would die of hypoxia! So I was given a 15 min pony tank by a friend and I hope to never use it. That said, wet suit, weights, and a 70 ft line is an epic idea! By the way, I see your thoughtful responses quite often. Thanks for the insights and are you the site sponsor?
  8. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    You do not want to go in the water up north, get the cutters and be done with it, better peace of mind.
  9. SeaLion

    SeaLion Senior Member

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    In Maine, I'd need a drysuit and a sauna for after...
  10. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

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    Ahyup. She's chilly up thar.....

    Discussion got me thinking though... There's gotta be a way to make a sub aquatic drone with a small spinning cutting blade on the front of it... Pair of virtual goggles and you can do it from the comfort of your lounge seat........
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  11. KeyportTroller

    KeyportTroller New Member

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    Hi Marc,

    I have a line cutter on my main engine and a knife like blade in front of each stabilized fin. The stabilizer deflector is a triangle piece of medal which should be simple to install and fairly inexpensive. Good prevention for kelp or lines. My home waters are PNW also, but I wouldn't go to Maine or anywhere without both and since you are hauling out anyhow, why not install or at least price? Call ABT/TRAC or your stabilizer manufacturer and you will hopefully find a simple fix.

    Safe travels,

    David Evans
    N4310 Mary Pearl
    Keyport, WA.
  12. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    I tend to agree with the last post. Diving with a dry suit takes a fair amount of practice, and that's a lot of gear to store for a "possibility" Doesn't Seatow or Boat US provide some kind of service/insurance to cover that event? To the OP's question for you Maine boaters, are lobster pot incidents as described prevalent?

    Another option for diving, if you're not under too long, is to pour a gallon of tepid water - not boiling - down the front and back of a 5-7 ml wetsuit to "pre charge" it with warmed water.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  13. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Usually lots of coffee to pre charge and then rite when you jump in,,,,,,, Life gets warmer..
  14. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    It is one thing to remove debris from your shafts or stabilizer fins at a dock or in a calm anchorage.

    Trying to do the same while the boat is in any sea is a whole different story. The hull is moving with the ocean, you have shafts, struts, propellers, and rudders ready to gouge you at any moment. The notion that anyone, especially someone who is not truly comfortable with being in the water in all temperatures can pull this off is a false one. Plus you have everyone on deck wondering what's going on below the hull, and how are you really going to assist someone if they get injured? I would say it is signing up for too much stress when you can have line cutters installed as a preventative measure.

    The other thing not mentioned when free diving under a rolling hull - get a helmet, protect your noggin!
  15. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    Excellent point about the helmet and open sea conditions

    I know that it happens, but is entanglement a common occurrence up in Maine? How do those folks deal with it?
  16. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Didn't we recently have another thread on spurs or line cutters?
  17. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    Sage observation. Something to think about if you are contemplating running at night, or letting the autopilot do all the work as you plow through the waters with a high density of lobster trap buoys: the traps and associated gear are not cheap, and when a lobster fisherman loses gear because someone could not be bothered to make an effort to avoid the gear, it hits him/her in the wallet.
    I do understand it can be difficult to avoid entanglement, but please at least make the effort. Just relying on spurs or line cutters to get you to your destination without the inconvenience of having to work at your piloting is not very kind.
  18. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    CaptP You indicate you're from Maine. Is this a common problem up on Maine. How do the locals handle it? Here in the LI sound we have plenty of traps also - as you say the pilot must be vigilant even with the cutters
  19. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    The fishermen have cages around their wheels. I've seen plenty of boats with line cutters, and I have seen plenty of boats hire divers to get the pot warp out of their wheels. I've seen some at the helm take the effort to avoid the lobster pot buoys, and I've seen some just plow right through with not a care. Having been out in Frenchman Bay and seen firsthand Captain Ken Bracewell bobbing and weaving a large yacht through the obstacle course, it's obvious he is one who cares. Thank you Ken!
  20. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    So it seems to me that there is no special risk other than the usual associated with east coast areas that use traps, fish nets, etc. Since these fishing devices are generally coastal, I'd stay vigilant in my piloting, but insure the risk and make sure I have a conduit to assistance from shore. Getting under that boat even in 1-2's is going to be dangerous as already suggested. Drop your anchor and enjoy a beverage of your choice...take the tension off that snag?