Life
of  
Secotan
note: numbers in ( ) in this article refer to the footnotes.  Click on number to read.
In 1947 on the banks of Albemarle Sound at Manns Harbor, North Carolina and a short distance from Kill Devil Hills,
the spot of the Wright brother’s historic flight, a very special creation was brought into this world. West of town in a
canal next to the old ice plant, Clarence Holmes contracted Belove Tillet to build a forty two-foot party boat.
(1).















Manns Harbor, North Carolina; the post office where the postmistress, Inez Gibbs gave us the
information on the building and history of the
Secotan. The builder of the Secotan was a half brother to
Inez Gibbs’ grandfather.















Manns Harbor fish docks where the
Secotan docked.

The boat was built “by the rock of the eye”, with special care as it was designed to spend its life in and out of the
most treacherous inlet on the East Coast of the United States, Oregon Inlet at Cape Hatteras. The talent that went
onto this special vessel can only be appreciated by a person that has piloted it through the crashing seas of a
deadly raging and unforgiving inlet…like a little duck in love with the water, the
Secotan bounces and bobs along in
the wildest of torrents…trust me for I have been there.
                                      
The
Secotan (2) had a long record of service, and at the federal museum at the Cape Hatteras lighthouse you will
find, to this day, a photo of this vessel. The only place I was able to find this name
Secotan (3) was in North Carolina
and it was the name of a local Indian tribe.
                                       
After many years of service and several owners, the boat was outfitted with a 671 Detroit
(4) diesel engine and a
three to one reduction gear. It was double rigged
(5) to shrimp fish with power take-off (6), winches (7)and
electronics.
(8) All were installed and this little legend lived on.

It is an interesting mystery how this wonderful creation came into our lives…for many years passed and a man
named Mac Mcleod and his wife from North Carolina were living aboard and fishing the winter season in Tampa bay
when they got to know an old friend of Jane and mine named George Tappin.





















Mac and Audrey Mcleod, the previous owners of Secotan, onboard in St. Augustine, Florida 1982
                                      
A quick background of George Tappin:  Jane and I met him when we were delivering brand new seventy-five foot
shrimp trawlers manufactured in St. Augustine, Florida back in the early nineteen seventies. George had no formal
education and grew up in the wild backwaters of the St. Johns River at Manderin when north Florida had no roads
and transport was by boat or horseback. As a child his parents lived in a log cabin, his mother from the state of
Maine and his father from Barbados in the Caribbean Islands.
George’s father owned and operated a freight boat that plied the St. Johns River and it was the only real link to the
outside world, which was Jacksonville. George got his early boat handling experience on his father’s freight boat with
frequent stops in the wooded outback of this wild frontier. As George got older he got his living from the water by
fishing and carrying freight and passengers up and down the river. As a young man in prohibition days he did the
natural thing and went into production…George loved cars and women.  Later in life he confessed to me that women
had gotten the first half of his life and that GM had the rest.





















This is the humble backwoods home where George Tappin was born and grew up. The house was
almost 150 years old when I took this picture back in the 1980s.
This colorful person was as natural on the deck of a boat as a naval commander. He gave Jane and I our first
experience on a shrimp boat as we worked side by side with him our first winter in Florida.
On my first day out with George on his boat, the
Terry, which was a fifty-five foot converted World War II mine
sweeper, we went offshore of St. Augustine, Florida to trawl for shrimp…would you believe it, he actually had seven
bilge pumps and all failed. Yes, he at the last minute made a provisional bilge pump by shutting off the seacock to
the engine cooling system and diverted the pickup hose to suck the bilge water and we beat a hasty path back to
the dock.





















George Tappin’s shrimp boat, the Terry in St. Augustine, Florida






















                    George Tappin aboard the
Terry
On my second time out with George, my wife, Jane, came along and her comment after a few minutes was that she
felt bad that she had wasted so many years in an office when she could have been here. Well, as the nets were
going overboard I happened to notice that sparks were flying off the starboard block at the top of the outrigger. I told
George and although we were rolling in a heavy sea he quickly climbed to the end of that outrigger boom with a
hammer in one hand and a grease gun in the other…a difficult task for a young healthy and strong man in a calm
harbor. Up and out he went as the boat pitched and rolled violently, one second he was directly overhead and forty
feet up over the deck and the next second he was plunged below the breaking seas. At that moment I knew for sure
that I had never met such a powerful person as George.




















George Tappin’s boat the “Terry” heading out to sea to start the fishing day.
My job on the back deck was to assist in hauling back the nets, and as each one was raised and swaying over head
suspended in the rigging, I had to go under and find the trip line that was buried within the heavy covering that was
used to conceal the catch from the hungry sharks. As the small end of this large funnel shaped net opened, it
gushed with a strange and interesting collection of sea creatures kicking, snapping and bristling with spines.  The
net was emptied, closed and returned to the sea. Next thing was to sort this living mass as it sloshed with each roll
and pitch of the vessel. Well, in this mess was a seven-foot plus shark, leaping like a bucking bronco and snapping
its mouth full of razor sharp teeth at everything in sight. I instinctively and instantly leaped up in the rigging and
called out for George who had returned to the wheelhouse to throttle up and reset the autopilot. George came
running with a large razor knife and with a leap he flew through the air and landed on the sharks back like a football
player making a flying tackle. He next slit the underside of the shark from mouth to anus and the innards spewed out
onto the deck. With that the shark seemed even more furious than before and took a mouthful of net and began
violently shaking his head trying to snap off the net. George was back in an instant and this time with a hammer.  He
made mush of the shark’s head. The shark dazed, slackened his vise grip hold on the net and George then tied a
line to the shark’s tail, winched it high up in the rigging and as the boat rolled in the open sea this grisly thing with it’s
head smashed in and it’s guts hanging out was thrashing violently as it swung overboard and into the sea…within
ten seconds all of the sharks following our stern had this one completely devoured in a bloody caldron of boiling
seawater. That was a sight etched into our memories and a lesson well learned about what happens in the wake of a
shrimp boat…hang on at all costs!




















The Terry with the empty trawl net ready to go back to fish again.























 The
Terry pulling in the full net with porpoises following.
                                  
Back to the Secotan story;
Some years later in the late 1970s Jane and I had just finished constructing a dock in Hospital Creek at a piece of
property we were developing adjacent to the “fabled Fountain of Youth” in St. Augustine, Florida. The river named
Hospital Creek was the very same place that Ponce de Leon sailed up on April 2, 1512 in his quest for the Fountain
of Youth on his first voyage. To this day you can visit the monument constructed there.
Well, our dock was a natural place for a commercial fishing vessel as we had enough water depth for the boat and
the spot was protected from the weather. No bridges obstructed our entry to the ocean and in a few minutes we
could make the passage from the dock to the sea buoy.
(9)
Jane and I had just about gotten a huge project that we had undertaken under control, which was the renovation of
a twenty-six unit apartment complex, so naturally we had our eyes open for the next adventure to come along. As
our old friend George told us he was looking for a smaller fishing boat and a partner, we listened as he told us of his
find.
                                       
On May 15, 1980 George, Jane and I found ourselves in St. Petersburg, Florida where Jane and I got our first look
at the boat that we had just bought, sight unseen, and only on the good faith of our friend. After a quick lunch and
the signing of the transfer papers we took our new boat to the fuel dock and began our trip back to St. Augustine,
some five hundred miles at ten knots of speed.
Out into Tampa Bay we went, Jane and I were no strangers to this place as we had made several trips there on boat
deliveries, even though we are still impressed with the immense size of the bay. Looking across Tampa Bay is like
looking out across the ocean, you cannot see the other side. As we went down the bay the Sunshine Skyway Bridge
came into view. Just four days before a large ocean freighter coming up the bay in bad weather slammed into the
bridge, and there before us was the collapsed bridge and the freighter still there with a large section of the bridge
laying across its bow…a chilling sight, and a reminder that this could be a dangerous place.
Before we were able to get off of the bay we were stopped by the marine patrol to check our papers…we then took
the “for sale” signs off the boat and weren’t bothered again.
A strange thing was that the previous week the price of silver had gone over $20.00 an ounce and I sold mine so the
proceeds quickly were put to use in our new boat…very good timing and I was sure that I would derive a lot more fun
out of the boat than I ever would out of owning the coins. (My coin collected began in grade school when I looked
through $50.00 bags of pennies from parking meters every lunch hour.)
We had also gotten a partnership agreement drawn up by our mutual friend Sonny Weinstein…sure glad we did, as
our partnership didn’t last as long as George had thought.
Our first night out we tied up at a very swanky restaurant and treated ourselves to an elegant feast.  We could have
stayed the night right there but we quickly discovered that if we wanted the peace and quiet that we loved so much
we would just have to head down the waterway to some quiet cove and drop the anchor…and so we did.
Our trip home was south through Sarasota Bay and Pine Island Sound and finally to Fort Myers where we were able
to make our first turn towards the direction of home across the Okeechobee Waterway through five locks and across
the big lake in the center of Florida, Lake Okeechobee. On the East Coast of Florida we came out at Stuart and
were able to head north up through the Indian River, past Cape Canaveral, Daytona and home to our new dock at
St. Augustine.























Secotan just arrived at our dock in St. Augustine, Florida 1980. George Tappin is standing on the bow
and Jane on the stern.
















Secotan at our dock in St. Augustine, Florida and our 46’ sailboat Dursmirg

It turns out that we had acquired some tenants with the purchase of the boat. When I got the different storage areas
cleaned out the eviction began…rats! Next to sanitize and preserve the boat I sprayed a wood preserver called
“Cupernol” into every crevice and crack with an exterminator’s sprayer. The result was utterly amazing…the next
morning the decks were several inches thick with dead cockroaches. I was still not done with tenants; I found that
living inside of the bilge were barnacles. It turns out that the boat leaked so badly that there was a steady stream of
seawater entering, enough to sustain this colony. One of the first things that I learned in my boating career was that
the water was supposed to be on the outside…to say nothing of the barnacles. I must admit that this was a first for
me (barnacles inside the boat).
Numerous leaks were found and repaired, none were due to the boat or its construction, but rather things like
through hull fittings that hadn’t been tended to in years. When I finished the bilge was actually dusty due to its
dryness.
On one of our first fishing expeditions out of St. Augustine as Jane was out on the back deck she happened to
notice small traces of oil coming out of our deck hose.
(10)
She told George and I what she had found. Well, we soon came to the alarming conclusion that our vessel was half
full of water and headed for the bottom. George looked at me and said “better head for the hill.” We immediately
came about, picking up our rigs and made a rapid course for the inlet. It is far better to sink in shallow water than
deep. We made the inlet, with our home and dock in sight and into water shallow enough to risk a slow down for a
quick inspection of the bilge. I ran from the wheelhouse to the engine room and began pitching out
floorboards…there it was, a rusted off coupling between the raw water pick up and the intake pump. With the engine
running the suction was enough to hold the parts together…with the engine slowed the gushing water made a
sizeable geyser. I told George to hold the coupling together and I went forward, gave the engine its full throttle and
with a puff of black smoke we were off and going. On the way to the dock I had Jane retrieve an assortment of
tapered plugs that I had come across when I was cleaning the boat out. The plugs are meant for temporary
emergency repair of the hull.
When we were tied to the dock I wrapped the proper size plug with a rag and drove it into the raw water pickup and
ran down the dock, got on my bicycle, went the two blocks to the plumbing shop, got the new part, came back and
installed it and we were on our way back to the ocean and finished out the day fishing. Another strange coincidence
was that just the day before I had reworked the electrical system in the bilge and had gotten both of our electric
bilge pumps working…the first time both had ever been in service at the same time since we owned the boat.






















On the back deck of the Secotan, Jane pulls the “Try-net” onboard.
























On the back deck; George Tappin sorting our catch. Shrimp and squid were the best money makers but
the variety of living creatures was never ending and everything that came aboard had pinchers that
pinched, teeth that snapped, spines that poked and even electric shocks that startled.
                                 
A couple of other surprises came with the initial cleaning of the vessel. One was that a LP gas line running from the
top of the wheelhouse to the bilge and on to the galley had a bad connection that when touched hissed heavily and
could have sent us together with the boat to the moon. Also under the console at the forward part of the wheelhouse
was located our autopilot plus a nightmare of wires twisted together and without insulation. I showed George and he
said,” what’s wrong with that.”  Well, I just touched one of the wires and a blinding shower of sparks filled the
cabin…case closed. So, all new insulated wires complete with fuse panel and current limiters were installed.  






















Secotan hauled out on a marine railway at Usina’s North Beach fish camp.


















Secotan after haul-out and new paint job, berthed in our front yard in St. Augustine.
Jane and I quickly found that an ice machine was a must in this business, so we made the purchase of a unit that
would produce seven hundred pounds a day. The man that sold it to us said that it wouldn’t produce seven hundred
pounds a day unless we locked it up…he was right.
The quality of seafood deteriorates rapidly and it is never any fresher than when it is caught…aged fish is worthless.
Jane and I had attended several seminars on commercial fishing and the treatment of the catch. Two things were
stressed above all and they were; cleanliness and freshness. It takes one pound of ice for each pound of catch…we
also found out that it took eight pounds of diesel fuel for each pound of catch, but that was another story.
Another thing that we did was to put in fuel storage facilities so that we could fill our fuel and meet out ice
requirements at our own dock. We also found that it was to our advantage to anchor out every other night as to
save precious fishing time during the height of the season.
Jane had decided to pick up the squid that we caught; George said it was a waste of time to bother with those “slimy
little buggers”.  Jane replied that it was OK with her but that then the squid were hers. One cooler of shrimp weighted
one hundred pounds but one cooler of squid weighted one hundred seventy five pounds. Well, as it turned out the
squid turned out to be one of our best moneymakers.
Each night when we would anchor out we would receive a call on the radio from the bait shop asking how much
squid we had and how much bait shrimp.
(11)
In a few minutes a boat would arrive with big coolers and a check already made out to us…everyone was happy and
Jane made her point. As it turned out the money that we received for the squid paid all of our fuel and maintenance
expenses…thank you Jane.




















We had a very good agreement with our partner George, he was to take care of all of the nets and rigging plus
teach us the art of shrimping. As George loved to say, “you can’t learn it all in one day”…that was a profound
statement that we learned over and over.
Another friend loved to say, “If you want to catch a shrimp you have to think like a shrimp”…another profound
statement.  My job in all of this was to make sure that the boat was in top operating condition and provide a place to
dock it.
                                    
After our first season George came one day and informed us that he wanted out. We knew that he hated to give up
his way of life but we made out a check on the spot and paid him off. Well, we had just lost our fisherman and
teacher…what to do?
                                     
We laid out a plan of action.  First we would go with camera, clipboard and tape measure and pick every brain and
scrutinize every shrimp boat and fisherman between St. Augustine and Savannah. Our first stop was Standard
Hardware Company at Fernadina Beach, Florida.  Billy Burbank is a legend in his own time and also the brains
behind the net shop there. Billy is a walking encyclopedia of facts on the shrimp industry. Besides knowing all of the
fishermen and the names of all of the boats from Key West to the Carolinas he can tell you off the top of his head
what type and size nets they all use.
Just to back himself up, he kept a card index with the information. This is a science that requires knowledge of the
fishing habits of the fisherman, type of boat, size of rig, type of engine and power train and where it is used plus the
type of shrimp
(12 ) they are after. Example: white shrimp fished in the fall require a balloon net and brown shrimp
caught in the spring season require a semi- balloon net, each has a special cut and shape.
                                       
Oh, by the way!
This is a good time to explain just how this whole net thing works; pulled through the water by a cable extended from
a boom and riding on the bottom of the ocean are two “doors”, in our case wooden panels thirty inches by sixty
inches with a heavy steel ski-shaped skids running along the bottom. Attached symmetrically at the corners of these
“doors” are four chains, all adjustable, these converge and are shackled together and attached to one side of the
towing cable that is divided in two. The purpose of these “doors” is to hold the net against the bottom and at the
same time using the force of the water it is being pulled through to spread the mouth of the net open. The
adjustment of the chain lengths on the doors is crucial to make the net opening just right and not dig too deep into
the bottom…a practiced eye on the wear pattern of the bottom of the “doors” will tell the story and thus tell just how
to calibrate them. With the doors on both sides of the net opening it is spread and across the top are fastened floats
to hold the top up and open. On the bottom is fastened a chain that weights it down and thus we have an opening.
Just ahead of the chain on the bottom is an other chain called a “tickler”, this lighter chain bounces along the bottom
just ahead of the net opening, scares the shrimp into jumping and as the shrimp jumps off the bottom there is the
net to snatch it up. At the trailing end of this funnel shaped net is a heavier portion known as the bag into which went
the catch. Covering this portion was chafing gear consisting of lengths of rope looped and frayed at the ends to add
bulk so as to keep it from wearing through on the ocean bottom and also to keep the sharks from attacking the
catch within.
The procedure for putting this overboard and retrieving it is a story in itself and you won’t learn it all in one day.
The “bag” portion of the net is closed with a half inch braided rope tied in a loop and woven through the opening
end of the net drawn tight, and overhand knotted so it can easily be undone by first tugging one side of the loop
rope and next the other until the bag is slacked open and the catch is allowed to exit on to the deck from the net
suspended overhead in the rigging. We witnessed several times porpoises clever enough to open the net…I still
love them, maybe even more.
There was a third net called a “try-net”, small and independent of the other two. It was pulled back on board every
fifteen minutes to sample the catch. In the small net we would multiply by approximately one hundred and come up
with a good idea how the big nets were doing. Times, positions, results and notes were recorded in the ships log. On
occasion we would discover the try net full of jellyfish…not good, as they only interfere with the catch and if the big
nets are allowed to fill excessively the weight becomes unliftable. One week we replaced three snatch blocks
(13)
that exploded in the rigging due to the extreme load. Another story too long for this article is the variety of catch that
came on board and the surprise that came with it all. One example was when  a giant sea ray twelve feet across and
almost two feet thick we loaded onboard our boat that was only twelve feet wide. Remember these were living things,
and yes the ray was delivered back to the sea alive and unharmed and we hope still out there enjoying old age.
                                         
We never killed a sea turtle although our partner George used to say that they were nothing but a nuisance. Many a
time a turtle of five hundred pounds or larger came out of out nets. We emptied our nets every hour or less and the
turtles always came out alive, although some times groggy and needing a rest before we sent them back to their
own environment. Some of the corporate owned boats unloaded their nets when the spirit moved them and most
everything that came out of their nets was dead on arrival.























This turtle came out of our net and we gave him a rest on our back deck before returning him alive and
happy to the sea.  The beer cans were also dragged up from the sea bottom.  The nets were always full
of surprises….at times even dollar bills!
                                      
Jane and I were eager learners and our friends Greg and Mariann Vaccaro spent a day filling our minds with all that
they knew…and that was a lot as they both had worked under the tutorage of one of the best in the business;
Dominic Tringali owner of the
Miss Joan, a sixty-eight foot fiberglass state of the art shrimp boat and he had spent a
lifetime out to sea and was a real gentleman that shared his knowledge and was eager to help one and all. His
knowledge was passed to Greg and Mariann and they were good enough to share it with us. We filled our minds and
that helped us fill our nets…so many thanks!
                                       
Over the time that we owned the boat we were in a process of continuous upgrades. For example, our wheelhouse
that was six plus feet wide on the inside and some fourteen feet long underwent many changes. The forward part
was rounded with five ports (windows that dropped down to open) and was covered with a generous overhanging
roof that kept out the rain and scorching sun. We painted it white and gave it an accent of Dutch blue to the trim and
put on a protective cover of woodgrained Formica to the console, galley and dinette. All was highlighted with
varnished tropical fruitwood.  Above the console was a twenty-four mile Decca radar that had excellent resolution
and could distinguish different types of vessels and even depict waves breaking on the jetties, the only problem was
that our repair bill brought the cost of operation up to about $25.00 an hour. The console top had our compass and
gauges
(14 ) for the electrical and engine. Under the console was located our autopilot compass and drive motor
plus the electrical fuses and current limiters. A fold down dinette table on one side with an Aladdin oil lamp above
and mirror behind was across from the galley with its two-burner gas stove and salt-water sink…all was very
compact and functional. Just aft was a double bed that served as a seat for one side of the dinette. The aft end of
the wheelhouse cabin had sliding glass windows on three sides and the bed could be dissembled in less than a
minute to expose the engine and engine room…many times hasty repairs were performed on the engine and we
kept on going.
I always used to say about the
Secotan, you could run the boat, cook in the galley and sleep in the bed all with one
foot nailed to the floor.

























Secotan tied to our dock in our front yard with lots of drop-in company.

                                         
One nice sunny Sunday afternoon in the summer time we had just hauled our nets up and were headed for the inlet
and we noticed on the radio lots of frantic conversation with the Coast Guard at Jacksonville concerning a capsized
boat in the St. Augustine inlet. As we arrived on the scene we saw there was a capsized boat and men in the water.
It was amazing that a dozen or more sport fishing boats were hovering about but not one was making the first
attempt to pluck any of the survivors out of the water…it was like they were all standing around to witness someone
drowning. Well, I took immediate action and left the marked channel with extreme caution through the ebbing spring
current and kept an eye on the rise and fall of our vessel in the strong surge that lifted and dropped our vessel four
to six feet with each passing wave. All the while we knew full well that one crash of our vessel on that hard packed
bottom could be the last for our beautiful little boat. We managed to pick up the three survivors even though one
was very heavy and weak, going into shock and had to be slung and winched onboard. We winched their sixteen-
foot outboard boat up in the rigging very carefully as not to pull it to pieces as it was awash and full of water.
When we came about and started our careful trip back to the channel one of the survivors wanted us to go back for
some of their possessions bobbing in the breakers. They still had absolutely no idea of how close they were to
death and had not really grasped the gravity of their situation.
I called the Florida Marine Patrol on the radio to have them rendezvous with us inside the inlet and pick up the
survivors; they wanted us to take the survivors to the nearby boat ramp…that was impossible because we were just
too large a vessel to enter that channel.
That night we anchored and the next morning when I hit the starter button found that all our batteries were dead. Not
one single boat would stop to help and we were with out a radio as well because of the dead batteries…I spent the
day rowing the batteries in to our dock, charging them and rowing back. Jane had to stand by the boat the whole
day.
This was a very good lesson in what to expect when you have boating problems and although we were thanked and
remembered for many years after by the survivors I could remember only one person that ever came to our
assistance and that was Dominic Tringali on the shrimp boat  
Miss Joan. He offered help to us several times when
we were in distressful situations.
                                        
One winter after we had sold our apartment complex and felt the need for an escape we put our bicycles on board,
cast off and headed on a five month sojourn down the East Coast and over to St. Petersburg, Florida. We went
slow, saw all of the sights along the way plus took the time to stop and visit many of the friends that we had
cultivated back in our cruising days aboard our forty-six foot motor sailing yacht the
Dursmirg.
As a commercial fishing vessel we were given a slip to tie our
Secotan at Pinellas Sea Foods, a division of Red
Lobster, in downtown Saint Petersburg. It was great; we put our bicycles ashore, plugged in the electric, got a post
office box and proceeded to live a low stress high self-indulgent existence. We had lots of time to enjoy the concerts,
the library and to explore to our hearts content. We did go back to St. Augustine for two weeks to finish a duplex we
were having built and rent it out. And when fishing was slow we took off for three weeks for a vacation in the Yucatan
peninsula of Mexico…that is another story.
                                      
As we retraced our steps back home in the spring we went at a slow and enjoyable pace and one of the highlights
was a windstorm that we encountered at Hobe Sound south of Stuart.
Anchored behind a narrow piece of land close to the inlet we were secure with two anchors off the bow and one off
the stern. We got a real sand blasting as the wind piped up to the point that it blew off our antennas and even threw
the sea buoy up high and dry on the beach in front of us on the ocean side of the sand bar we were anchored
behind…a snug harbor can be a priceless thing. As the radio announcer proclaimed on a local station…”if you are
out in a boat today you are out of your tree!”
                                     
We started the shrimp season that spring but the catch was poor and it must have been worse other places as the
usual fleet of St. Augustine shrimpers was now accompanied with many of the Georgia and Carolina shrimpers. The
competition for this puny catch was too much and Jane and I both decided to put an ad in“
Boats and Harbors (15)
The boat was sold July 28th, 1983, the check cashed, and four days later we were on a jet headed to Europe to pick
up our new VW camper van and tour there for four months.
The deal we made with VW included our insurance and license plates for Europe plus the shipping of the van back
to the US.
Upon our return from Europe, we traded the van for a piece of waterfront property, built a house with the rest of the
shrimp boat proceeds and rented it out for some years and eventually sold it and then carried the mortgage…so
you see my childhood coin collecting and the wonderful little
Secotan gave us much. And, from them we had many
years of rewards and lots of fond memories.
This story contains the roots for many more stories and over time I hope to bring it all together, so stay tuned.























Sitting on the back deck while at Pinellas Sea Foods dock at St. Petersburg, Florida

A thought about where the fishing industry is headed; as population grows; so grows the competition for the world’s
resources. In 1972 when we came to Florida there were seven million people, last count close to eighteen million.
The new residents all want to have their own garden spot in the sun and they all march down to the shopping center
and purchase all sorts of bug sprays, weed killers and lawn chemicals…years ago the impact wasn’t too profound
but when you stop to consider that all of the inventory in all of the supermarkets is sold out and renewed every three
weeks on average the problem starts to become obvious. All of the new home construction in Florida is required to
be chemically treated. All apartment houses must be exterminated each month. And all homes with mortgages must
be under bond to be commercially exterminated. Of course this doesn’t mention the fact that the huge agriculture
industry pours millions of tons of lethal chemicals on also. Now consider this; each time you see it rain, all of these
exotic chemicals designed to do nothing else but kill are running directly into the water that is the aquifer and the
water that is the life blood of all of our marine life.
We all in the end are the final filter of these toxins and are at the top of the food chain.
Something must change if we, the people of this planet, wish to enjoy seafood in the future. Fish farming is a start
and soon will be a must…eight pounds of diesel fuel for one pound of shrimp just isn’t acceptable anymore.

Endnotes:
1 “Party boat”, this is a boat that takes groups of fisherman out for pleasure.
2 “Secotan” a federally registered and documented commercial fishing vessel, number 252928. Being 42 feet in
length, 12 feet of beam, 42 inches of draft and 12 tons net. Sharp bow, round stern and hard chine. Juniper planked
3 Secotan, the name of the American Indians that lived in permanent villages near today's North Carolina Outer
Banks.
4 671 Detroit diesel. Six cylinders and 71 inches of displacement per cylinder, 165-horse power at 1800 RPM.
5 Double rigged; consisting of two booms that pivot out from a center mast. When deployed they protrude out from
the vessel at right angles from the mast enabling two trawling nets to be towed from their extremities. When stowed
they rest in an almost perpendicular position along side the mast. The mast and booms are secured with cables that
guy them off both fore and aft.
6 Power take-off; a clutch engaged system that transmits power from a central source to a remote one. Some use a
turning shaft and others use hydraulics.
7 Winches; consisting of turning drums that reel in and out coils of cable and are controlled by a series of clutches
and brakes with a powered capstan that a rope is rapped around and tailed off giving the operator tremendous
clutched power.
8 Electronics; in later years the vessel was equipped with: short wave and CB radios, depth sounder, depth
recorder, twenty four mile radar, loran-c position finder and a Wood-Freeman auto pilot.
9 Sea buoy; the last marker leaving a harbor and the first entering…usually with a distinct light blinking pattern and
a horn activated by the surge in wave action often coupled with a bell and described in a list called “The light list”  
10 deck hose; a sea water discharge hose driven off of the main engine cooling system continually used to clean
the deck and catch.
11 bait shrimp; usually small shrimp that were more than fifty to the pound heads on.
12 Some types of shrimp in the southeastern U.S. are; white, brown, spotted, hoppers, river, tiger, bay gray, key
pink and rock to name a few. “Each has a different life style”; for example the “key pink” that are nocturnal.
13 Snatch block; usually a single sheave block fitted with a hinged latch which opens to allow a rope to be laid into it
without threading the rope end through first. Like an open cheek block except the top latches shut, and has one
becket.
14 Engine; tachometer, oil pressure, oil temperature and gear oil temp. Electrical; twelve volt system; Amps, volts,
restate armature current control. Twenty-four volt system; volts and amps. Autopilot clutch, accelerator, shift lever,
switches for all lights, pumps and navigational gear.
15 Boats and Harbors was a “yellow sheet”, trade newspaper that covered the entire boating industry with ads for all
types of marine hardware and all sizes and types of commercial boats and ships. Published in Crossville, Tennessee