By Mark Edward Nero
As someone who has fished Bristol Bay for well over three decades, Tom Aliotti not only knows what he wants in a boat, he also knows what fishermen want.
And using this knowledge, longtime boat builder Aliotti has crafted four 32-foot by 15-foot commercial fishing vessels that he said are specifically for Bristol Bay.
“I really tried to find a boat that I wanted for myself for fishing (and) this is what I designed and came up with,” Aliotti, the owner of the Aliotti Enterprises boat shop in Bellingham, Washington told Fishermen’s News.
“They’re pretty much designed for Bristol Bay,” he explained. “You can use them in other fisheries, but I personally believe they’re the best boats in Bristol Bay right now. If there was a better boat, I’d tell you.”
“(Aliotti boats) give you options for fishing in different places, which I think is what makes them unique,” he said, explaining they they’re built to perform throughout the bay, not just in shallow or deep waters, and that they get on-step with weight.
“They’re good all-around boats for Bristol Bay,” he said.
The boats are all equipped with two of FPT Industrial’s 570 EVO series engines. According to FPT, 570 EVOs come standard as a 6.7-liter inline six with a maximum power output of 570 hp at 3,000 rpm and 1,551 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. The engines are equipped with advanced technology like a second-generation Common Rail and a water-cooled waste-gate turbocharger. The engines also have four valves per cylinder and a “ladder frame” monoblock, according to the manufacturer.
“We’re really happy with them,” Aliotti said of the engines. “We’ve had nothing but success with them.”
The equipment on each engine also includes a direct-shift gearbox and hydraulic system, and the boats are fitted with Pacific West Refrigeration hydraulic refrigerated sea water systems (RSW). The vessels have 13 fish holds, each capable of packing 2,200 pounds.
The hydraulic systems are designed and built by Steve Brooks of Seattle Marine, Aliotti said.
Aliotti declined to reveal the vessels’ top speed, but said that it’s faster than the standard speed for the engine type used.
“We do 43 (knots) easily,” he said. “I just put a boat in the water today and we were able to do 27 knots at 2,400 RPMs and the engine goes to 3,200 RPMs. So, without divulging my top speed: they’re extremely fast.”
Aliotti and his partner, Nigel Groom built all four of the boats at their 30,000 square foot boat shop, and are now offering them up for sale. They’re all pretty much identical, Aliotti said, except for the jets.
“Sometimes we put a different jet package in there,” he explained. “I personally like the UltraJet 340; everybody seems to like the 340 HT (high thrust) because they carry a bit more weight, but I feel like you get the best bang for your buck with the 340 as far as maintenance and everyday use.”
“I think by the time you add the cost of the bigger jets, and then the maintenance annually… I feel like you get the same amount of quality for deployments out on the boat with the 340s and you do with the HTs,” Aliotti remarked. “I personally am a 340 fan, but I’m willing to try whatever somebody wants, and the HTs are good jets as well.”
Aliotti said that he’s very proud of the vessels he and his partner have built. He feels they have put together an impressive piece of machinery.
I think it’s proven to be a really efficient package that works really well for the Bristol Bay fishery,” he remarked of the gleaming vessels. “It’s hard to make a 32-foot boat look good, especially a Bristol Bay fishing boat, but I think that all-in-all they look alright.”
He said he takes pride in his shop’s designs and craftsmanship. Aliotti knows he has competitors that try to emulate his work. However, he said, his boats and unique and will remain that way.
“There are a lot of boats out there, but the performance and the balance and the overall quality of the boats we build – everybody has tried to copy my boat because it’s special,” he said. “But there’s only one Aliotti boat, only one that I feel has all the bells and whistles that make them what they are.”