When I first saw Fishermans Paradise, I was flabbergasted at the sheer scale, creativity, and raw audacity of this project. She was a beautiful vessel, magnificently outfitted, and every thing on the inside, and from the deck up sparkled, but her hull's original paint job was marred by both construction activities, and the time at sea.
Like all vessels, Fishermans Paradise has to periodically go to a ship yard for a bottom job, and this has just happened at the Gulf Marine Repair Corporation's yard in Tampa. Their Scotia drydock will handle vessels up to 650' in length and widths of 86'. It is hard to visualize the size of this vessel, but the hull is about three stories high by itself, and out of the water it is the size of a six story building. Those white bumps you see below the waterline on the bow are the new hull zincs that have been attached to the hull.
Below is a picture of the hull sides with more zincs attached, looking down its nearly 400' in length. If you click on the picture you can see the waterline depth numbers on the hull, starting at "2", and it ends near the top of the hull at 24.
But now with a new bottom job, and freshly painted hull sides, she looks gorgeous, and is truly now a regal vessel. This picture was taken in Tampa just after the dry dock work. Fishermans Paradise is now back on her temporary station approximately 14 miles west of Clearwater Pass, and one mile south of its earlier location. Just head west, she is so large you can't miss her.
In the last story we looked at the fishing, and accommodation features. This time we are going to look below decks at the infrastructure it takes to keep this self sufficient vessel operating at sea. This is a G Captain moment for me. All of Fisherman Paradise's equipment is heavy duty, commercial grade maritime equipment. Everything below decks, and there is a huge amount of it, is spotlessly clean, and well maintained.
To provide the creature comforts, the first thing you need is power, and lots of it. There are four large Caterpillar diesel generators. Three of them operate in a bank alone, and the fourth generator is an emergency back up unit. Each generator produces 180 kilowatts of power. Just to provide some scale, the four Caterpillar generators can provide 720 kilowatts of power. This is the equivalent of 144 Kohler 5 kw generators you find on many pleasure boats
Any one generator can carry the full ships load, but typically two are running at once, each carrying about half of the load. The sophisticated control system manages the generators, and does scheduled shutdowns for maintenance, and automatically starts and stops the units to balance the running hour loads between the three units. The on board diesel fuel tanks can handle up to 380,000 gallons allowing very extended periods of time at sea without refueling.
This is one of two large scale water makers used to supply fresh water, and there is substantial tankage to store it. The unit below is one of Village Marine's Pure Water Commercial units. This water maker produces 3000 gallons per day alone.
Air conditioning, and systems cooling is provided by a bank of three commercial marine Adrick chiller systems, each providing up to 40 tons of cooling capability.
Just like any good hotel, you need laundry services, and these are the commercial washer and dryers used for this purpose. These are Huebsch units used by commercial facilities world wide.
Welcome to the world of large scale marine plumbing. You don't find these through hull fittings at your local West Marine store. Seawater is used for all kinds of cooling needs For air conditioning systems, and generators. The high volume salt water ice maker for the customers fish boxes, water makers, the two 1200 gallon live bait wells, and the new main salon salt water aquarium are other systems that need fresh sea water also.
The water distribution, both salt, and fresh water is managed by an extensive manifold piping system all color coded.
Not pictured is a lot of additional infrastructure dedicated to keeping the vessel very environmentally "Green" while at sea including the Orca waste treatment plant, low emissions on board incinerator, and trash compactor. Fishermans Paradise only returns treated sterile water back to the sea. All solid waste that can't be properly incinerated is compacted, and returned to shore for proper disposal.
The anchor watch systems have been upgraded, and a new proximity alarm system has been installed that includes audible alarms, e-mail and cell phone text message notifications, should Fishermans Paradise inadvertently move off station.
And so much space is left on the vessel for future expansion. Fisherman's paradise is a continually ongoing, and ever evolving project. There is still 20,000 square feet of beautifully finished, and undeveloped space on the vessel. Fishermans Paradise can provide an exceptional opportunity for marine research organizations to utilize a mobile offshore platform for ongoing study of the Gulf of Mexico, and there are ongoing discussions.
Fishermans Paradise is very nearly completed, and the first "Soft" opening is scheduled in about six weeks, in mid April. I will have pictures of this most spectacular, and exciting vessel in full operation during its soft opening. Until then, good fishing, and diving.
Fishermans Paradise website
Fishermans Paradise website