Designed, Built and Delivered: F/V Uyak, a New Fishing Boat from an Iconic Team

The 50th Fred Wahl Marine Construction in-house commercial fishing vessel joins the fleet.

The steel-hull Uyak is a 68-foot by 29.6-foot model named after Uyak Bay in Kodiak Island, Alaska. Photo: Fred Wahl Marine Construction.

Fred Wahl Marine Construction (FWMC) has been busy of late, notably with the launch of the brand-new combination fishing vessel (Dungeness crabber/shrimper/salmon tender) f/v Uyak. 

The steel-hull Uyak is a FWMC-designed 68-foot by 29.6-foot model named after Uyak Bay in Kodiak Island, Alaska. It is the 50th new hull designed, built and delivered in-house by FWMC, based in Reedsport, Ore.

“The design considerations for the f/v Uyak were built upon years of experience and feedback from constructing the 58-foot combination vessels that FWMC is known for,” the firm’s marine designer Kendall Blake said. “The design of the f/v Uyak is unique when compared to the 58 in various ways, both in aesthetic and in functionality.”

According to Blake, the vessel was designed in-house with outside engineering support, then inspected and verified by a U.S. Coast Guard-approved society. A challenge in the design process was to design a new vessel under current regulations in addition to meeting criteria within a regulatory framework that is still actively under development.

Notable design features include four-man and two-man staterooms with a captain’s quarters in the wheelhouse. The Uyak should be able to pack 270,000 pounds of salmon and between 125,000 and 130,000 pounds of crab. The vessel is powered by a 684-horsepower Mitsubishi engine with a twin disc gear.

“The keel was laid on March 1, 2022, and the vessel was launched on Dec. 2, 2022. There were challenges to the launch timeline brought upon mainly by supply-chain issues,” Blake said. While the keel was laid March 1, heavy construction began on May 30, 2022, due to these delays.

“The crab season was delayed this year, so that provided an unintended buffer for getting the vessel into service,” Blake explained.

The interior of the f/v Uyak. Photo: Fred Wahl Marine Construction.

Fred Wahl himself was present at the Uyak launch in December, when his daughter Lisa broke the champagne bottle on the hull. FWMC operates from a 38-acre facility on Bolon Island on the Umpqua River.

The yard has a 685-ton boat hoist that can haul vessels up to 165 feet in length and 40 feet in breadth. There is an additional facility with 900-ton capacity marine ways and 1,200 feet of river frontage with loading and floating docks.

“With some of the crab fisheries closed in Alaska, we have had some boats come in for storage and light maintenance,” Blake said when asked about FWMC’s recent and current activities.

“We currently have a couple of towing vessels in for maintenance, repower and structural work, along with a charter vessel from southern California in for shafting and machine work,” he said. “A vessel is due to arrive soon for a conversion to an Alaska tender. We recently launched the Western Seas that came in for new forward bulwarks and various other improvements.”

FWMC is currently constructing yet another new 58-foot by 28-foot spec boat. The boatbuilders of Reedsport are busy—stay tuned.