Tag Archives: Swan Net

Net Offloading With Swan Net Boom Truck

What I didn’t realize all these times watching the Swan Net Boom Truck offload nets was that the power block and boom are actually remote controlled.  They have this futuristic control board that clips around the operator’s waist with a bunch of paddle controls which control the movements.

Swan Net Boom Truck, originally uploaded by captjoe06.

Net Offloading, originally uploaded by captjoe06.

Western Venture Net Loading

Here’s a picture left from the other day when the Western Venture was loading it’s net from the Swan Net Boom Truck.

What is interesting about it is how high it sits out of the water so that the opening in the stern of the boat is perfectly lined up with the level of the pier so the net slides right into the stern of the boat and onto it’s net reel in a straight shot.  Do you see those two rectangular openings in the stern of the boat that look like garage door openings?  Just inside there is where the net reels are located.

Western Venture Net Loading, originally uploaded by captjoe06.

Western Venture Net Loading Onto Net Reel

As the net reel reels the net on, the crew guide it back and forth so it will be loaded evenly onto the spool. A net this large you wouldn’t want all bunched up in the middle.

Western Venture Net Loading

Here you see the men guiding the net off of the boom truck. They are making sure it is spread properly so once it gets loaded onto the net reel on the boat, it will set off from the boat properly and not all messed up when it hits the water fishing. On evenly distributed=off evenly distributed.

Western Venture Net Loading, originally uploaded by captjoe06.

Swan Net Boom Truck

I wonder how much the nets weigh? I mean the nets these boats tow are enormous, filling up this big truck. My guess is wet they would weigh 18,000 pounds and dry 15,000 pounds.

My guess is based on the size of that truck bed. It looks like it could carry 8 vats, and each vat holds roughly 1500 pounds.

Swan Net Boom Truck, originally uploaded by captjoe06.

Westen Venture Loads Net From Swan Net Boom Truck Video

Watch as the massive net gets offloaded from the Swan Net’s boom truck and onto the net reel aboard the Western Venture.  Swan Net has a facility to mend and create fishing nets up at the Blackburn Industrial Park, over a mile from the waters edge.  They can work on these huge nets inside of buildings with controlled environments instead of taking up valuable real estate on the waterfront.  They can do this because of the boom truck that can load and offload these nets for more efficient handling.

Offloading Nets on The Western Venture Herring Boat

This Power Block is attached to this truck on a boom. The power block is hydraulically powered to rotate and pull the net up and over the rail of the boat. This type of work used to be done by hand.

Once offloaded the net can be transported by truck to an open space where it can be stretched out and worked on.

Another technological advance which lends marine work to not need to have such a wide footprint on a harbor. That space that used to be needed along waterfronts to repair nets can now be done in covered buildings in industrial parks like Swan Net does up at The Blackburn Industrial Park in Gloucester.

View From The Western Venture Wheelhouse

Here is a view from the wheelhouse of the Western Venture looking down at the herring net being offloaded from the boat. You can see the net travel up through the boat’s power block, over to the power block on the boom attatched to Swan Net’s truck, and then into the bed of Swan Net’s truck.

The net will then be transported up to the Blackburn Industrial Park where it will be repaired, worked on or stored.

Many traditional seaside business have moved away from the waterfront, like Good Harbor Fillet. With modern advances in the seafood industry like The Gloucester Seafood Display Auction and Power Booms, and the Internet, much less a footprint of Gloucester’s Harbor is actually used for offloading fish compared to when every part of the seafood chain occurred on the waterfront.

At The Gloucester Seafood Display Auction, there are a couple dozen fish buyers who bid on fish in one room. Those buyers in that auction room represent thousands of seafood buyers who buy through them. The Auction handles much of the fish that used to be unloaded at places like Mortillaro’s, Captain Joe’s, John B Wright’s, Old Port Seafood, Fisherman’s Wharf and other piers around town. The Auction and their very advanced electronic bidding system doesn’t even necessitate the buyers be present to purchase that fish.

One of our former customers dropped in to say hi last summer at 7:00AM. He was wearing shorts and sandals. I asked him why he wasn’t busy buying and selling fish. He told me that he had already bid for the fish he needed from home and that the Auction trucks would be delivering the fish he purchased directly to his customers.

Technological Advances In Seafood Distribution

He won’t even touch a fish! But that fish is going to get exactly where it is supposed to go. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the seafood industry but even that kinda took a little while to grasp.

My cousin and I and a crew of four guys used to go to the dock at 3:00AM to try to get boats unloaded, the fish packed in ice and on trucks on their way into Boston for the morning markets. Now this guy that I used to sell fish to is getting all that work done without even touching a fish.

Innovations like this and power blocks, the fish being processed at Gortons coming in frozen on trucks instead of boats have occurred throughout the industry but there are many people that have no idea and cling to the idea that the fishing industry operates the same way it did 10, 20 or even 50 years ago think nothing should change at all on the waterfront.