Fishermen's News - The Advocate for the Commercial Fisherman

By Kurt Ness 

Deck-Mounted RSW

 

Courtesy of IMS

A deck-mounted RSW system offers a way to increase the quality of the catch, and is easy to install and remove when the season demands. Photo courtesy of IMS.

One of the most important pieces of equipment on a fishing vessel is a refrigerated seawater system (RSW). Not only in terms of simple operation, maintenance and cost of installation, but also in terms of the owner's return on investment. With quality incentives commonplace and many markets beginning to require a chilled product, RSW is the best option for end users looking to maximize their ROI. Often the installation of a proper RSW system will earn the owner a bonus large enough in value to pay for the equipment after one season, with the future bonuses going directly to the bottom line.

Delivering a quality product for the end user to consume begins on the fishing grounds by refrigerating the catch to ensure its freshness. The West Coast fishing industry will continue to place a large emphasis on refrigerating the catch to meet the demands of discerning buyers and quality driven consumers. With many markets/processors offering quality based monetary incentives to their harvesting boats, and requiring tenders to refrigerate their catch, having a complete RSW system that's both seamless in installation and affordable in nature is paramount. This ensures fishermen get the optimal value for their catch while the consumer gets the highest quality seafood on the market.

For most applications, a compact, fully self-contained RSW system can be installed in an engine room, lazarette, machinery space or elsewhere under the deck where there's available space. But even with a self-contained RSW system requiring a minimal footprint, finding the allowable space for a below-deck installation can be a challenging proposition on some vessels. Not all fisheries require/encourage refrigeration – the already frigid temperatures of the water in many fisheries makes recirculating the seawater adequate enough. Many boats work in multiple fisheries though, like a Bering Sea crab boat that also tenders salmon in the off-season. Having refrigeration for the crab fishery isn't necessary, but once that boat begins its tendering contract the following summer, a fully operational, adequately sized RSW system certainly is.

Seattle based Integrated Marine Systems (IMS) offers a system designed specifically for the application mentioned above. Having a fully self-contained RSW system that can be installed on deck in a watertight weather enclosure fits the needs of those looking for an easily removable, fully functional RSW system. A system like this can be easily moved from boat to boat by the owner or processing company in case there is an unforeseen malfunction rendering the primary vessel inoperable.

F/V Aquila, who tenders for Silver Bay Seafoods each year in Bristol Bay, recently installed three (3) 50-HP RSW systems for their chilling needs. The boat has four holds and each one is plumbed with its own RSW system. The boat had one existing RSW unit for one of the holds, but in order to meet the demands of the market and increase their tendering capacity, the three remaining holds needed to be equipped for RSW as well. Space was limited so IMS installed one unit in the engine room and the other two were mounted on deck. Each system was test run in the company's Seattle production facility, delivered via flatbed truck and installed locally at Fishermen's Terminal.

Courtesy of IMS

With each f-foot high 50-HP system requiring just a 4-foot by 8-foot footprint, the Aquila soon had an additional 150 HP of refrigeration, 100-HP of which can be removed at the end of the season in order to clear up deck space for the vessels post-tendering needs. The process is as simple as disconnecting the unit from the water plumbing and electrical wiring and removing the lightweight piece of equipment via forklift or crane.

A processor or RSW manufacturer can also lease or loan a Deck-Mounted RSW to a vessel, to be removed at seasons end and returned, thus saving the boat owner the full capital investment of a new RSW system and installation while still allowing the vessel to participate in the given fishery.

 
 

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