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Thread: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

  1. #1
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    Nov 2009
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    Default Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    I need some advise. I hope to purchase a 48 ft. shrimp boat built in a family yard near Ft. Walton Beach in 1975 using cypress and jupiter.

    It currently has a small pilot house on the bow. My plan is to add an addition 15 ft of house 11 ft wide for a total of about 28ft x 10'.6" net space. Every thing will be on one level, leaving the hull for 671 engine, tanks and ROOM TO SERVICE THINGS !

    I want this to be a simple boat. What is the simplest head system I could use?

    My thought is to:
    1) use a small pre-built fiberglass shower and a ceramic bath sink both with direct discharge of the gray water above the water line.
    2) use a good household water closet with fresh water flush and a large holding tank for dockside and manual pump-out when off shore.
    3)Galley sink will discharge into the holding tank.
    4)A small solar water heater system.

    She will be used in rivers and in the gulf.

    Any knowledge or past experience will be welcome. Kenn

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    What is the simplest head system I could use?



  3. #3
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    And cedar to !! but still illegal. Just get a good quality manual toilet, WilcoxCrittenden comes to mind right off, but raritan makes a decent one also. One thing to keep in mind is that a 48 foot shrimper was designed to carry a large amount of weight down low, in the holds, either ice or shrimp. The AB ratio will be way off. Even tho you will removing all of the rigging (or most of it, allow for flopper stoppers) it will still be top heavy and dangerous offshore. Most people add large fresh water tanks below deck. Lead/concrete ballast would be wise. I've looked at a lot of these conversions on the Gulf coast, some very good, most just cobbled up crap (usually with a house type toilet). That's not to say it doesn't work it's just not my idea of correct.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    You are gonna upset the balance and stability of the boat...you need a naval architect or experienced yacht designer to help you make the changes. As far as the head....the simplest system and to be legal woulf be an electrosan setup with a 50-60 gallon tank with pump out fittings and a macerator pump to treat the contents with the ability to dump when far enough offshore. Your looking at a lot of systems design.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    Yep, Cedar is nicer than an empty drywall mud bucket, but there is a seat made for the plastic bucket!

    The shrimping rig is gone, she sits about six inch up from her old water line. She has a 300 gal tank forward of the engine. I plan to install a couple of large water tanks, an extra fuel tank and a large waste tank to add weight low.

    If that isn't enough low weight I'll need to look into adding some lead or steel to the keel. I'd rather not put concrete in her.

    Kenn

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    I think Chuck (Paladin) raises some very good points, and I'll underscore them a bit, and add this willful poke in the chest. A standard "home" toilet requires a constant supply of water which you will have to pump to it from an external source; either the sea or a source of water held aboard specific to the purpose. Contemplating such a thing suggests the real reason why you need an architect on staff; to help you avoid painful mistakes borne of lack of experience. In the end, the job will come out cheaper and better if you get a coordinated design and take a frugal but well considered approach from the start. In fact, a well considered approach borne of experience will always prove to be the most frugal of all....and you will want to hire that experience on.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    The best US made manual marine head is the Wilcox Crittendon Skipper. With patience, you should be able to find a good used one for about $500. They are about twice that new. There are two sizes; small, and a bit smaller. Somebody here once said: "they will flush a life jacket" (true), and of course, they are simple, and infinitely
    rebuildable with parts that have been available for eons, and probably always will be. Plus, they are good looking in their own way. That's what you want if you live in the USA and prize "simple" in a decent marine head.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    What Mr. Barret said about needing a lot of water to use a residential commode--not to mention you'd need to drain it while underway so as not to splash the water out in a sea. Get a marine head.

    Also, I'd run the sink drain right out with the rest of the gray water.

    For the shower, your idea is ok I' bet, but get a low-flow shower head to conserve water. I'm no plumber, but the flow rate required of your fittings relates not only to pressure and water use, but to the capacity and recharge rate of whatever water heater you choose to install.

    Sounds like a great project. Good luck.

  9. #9
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    cuyahoga falls ohio
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    sounds like a cool project, you sholuld put up some pictures of the boat for a before refrence so we can see the progress

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    Look into to these:

    http://www.airheadtoilet.com/

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    Forget any composting or incinerating toilets, they don't work. Get Peggy Hall's book on marine sanitation and waste disposal. She is the final word on the subject. You don't need a marine architect or an engineer to devise a plan for you, just look at other converted shrimpers (you'll find a bunch) and see what works and doesn't. Contrary to what some may think this ain't rocket science. And, if you do it wrong it's just money, right ? just redo it. After you get the boat modified for your usage and full of fuel and provisions ballast it to the desired waterline. Temporary internal weight will give you an idea of where to place the permanent ballast and how much. Some guys have used lead slabs attatched to the keel. This gets the weight as low as possible without affecting the inside of the bilge and is easy to do. The thing I have disliked about most of these conversions is the tremendous waste of space low in the hull. However, I was on a coverted steel shrimper that made very good use of the space with forward and aft staterooms, and a good sized walk in engine room with water tight bulkheads for and aft and a day tank on the forward bulkhead. The engine room ventilation was such that the boat would still be running until the pilothouse went under, kinda interesting. Have fun.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    Just use a Jasco manual pump marine toilet. About 150.00 at West Marine. You dont need electric. Plumbed to a 3/4 Thru hull/valve for your seawater supply to the toilet. DO NOT plumb into the engines raw water supply. From there run 1 1/2 in sanitation hose to your holding tank specifically designated for waste. The closer the tank to the toilet the better. From your holding tank run a 1 1/2 sanitation hose to a waste fitting on the side of your boat for dockside pump out. You can also install a sanitation "Y" valve from the holding tank for a second sanitation hose to a manual or electric pump to a thru hull to pump over board when you are far enough out to sea to dump if you choose to dump that way. The "Y" valve must have a provision to lock the "over the side" option out in some ports. Grey water from sink can be plumbed to a thru hull to the outside. If you choose to go to a holding tank you will need a seperate GREY water tank.
    Last edited by jclays; 12-01-2009 at 10:46 AM.

  13. #13
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    Nov 2009
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    Smile Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    Thanks for all the information so far.

    I am 60, this will be my last big boat, they can make a reef of it and me in time.

    It will have a work boat finish, done well, but not a yacht. Not much bright work. Solid construction and paint

    I could understand the need for professional experts if I was rebuilding a famous craft for $500k. This will be a week-end home for awhile and then a long term home in the moderate weather months. A simple boat.

    Part of the FUN is getting advise from you guys and thinking about how to layout the systems. Nothing will be done before I have a clear plan and make drawings of how it will be done. It will take a year to get it all together.

    She has a four 1/2 foot draft, so the hull is not a big cavern like 65 ft, eight draft shrimp boat. It is fairly open and you can move from stem to stern without crawling, a little monkey walk a times

    I want a head I can use at 80, so small/tiny marine heads are out. A plumber friend told me about pressure assisted units, the tank water goes into a sealed tank before being used for the flush or commercial style 'spud' unit. They are a little pricey, $500. up. Also the water system must have about 24Lbs of pressure for this to work. They use 1.1 gal a flush, fresh water shouldn't be problem for coastal cruising. Any experience with these?

    What is your opinion about the min. electronic gear needed? GPS/Navigator, depth finder bow and stern (it is shallow here), vhf, short range radar ??

    I am going to try and attach a photo.

    Thanks, Kenn

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    I have a couple (or more) of the old raritan electric 12v toilets. They are full size bowls. Parts are still available. If you can pay shipping you can have them. they are large and heavy. Although,,, I may want to come and sit on your back deck and drink your beer someday. I get down to Sabine Pass often, the port between Texas and Lowsy anna. If you're close to there you could pick them up. As for electronics I like the old Lowrance lcx15 units, and they are cheap on ebay. I picked up a great unit for $200, WAAS enabled. There not color units but they're bullet proof. GPS and sonar. All the regular features. I've had (abused) several of them and never had a problem. They do however load the big Navionics charts a little slow, like from one page to the next, when your icon runs off the screen or you move the curser off screen.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    I don't know what your local marine environment codes are but I'd suggest that you look for a macerating toilet, if they aren't required for compliance there now I'd suspect they soon will be.
    http://www.boatersland.com/raratlantes.html
    http://www.allmarinesolutions.com.au...r_systems.html
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    Sorry, my thought process is a little slow tonight (rum maybe ?). If your going to run the ICW a lot you'll need at least two vhf's. I know several places where you must talk to the bridge tender and the lock tenders at the same time, and they won't be on the same channell. Three radios would be perfect, then you could maintain contact with the towboat captains on there working channell (usually 13), because usually you need to talk to them and the lock tender, and sometimes the bridge tender, all at the same time. If you'll be running at night get a GOOD radar, epecially inshore and on the ICW. The common misconseption is that since you don't need to "see" 64 miles a smaller unit will be ok. The opposite is the norm. More power lets you see close targets way better. I used a 2kw JRC unit for years, and it was pretty good, until I got a 4kw Furuno unit. No comparison, I can navigate the ICW in pitch black, see the tugs coming around corners and tell how much room I have between them and the dirt. Get a "retired" workboat unit. Mine has 10,000 hours on it. It has a new magnetron and has been reconditioned. It was cheap, less than $500.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Conversion of Small Shrimp Boat

    Yes we need some pictures. I have a great affinity for those old shrimpers that plyed the waters just off the beaches in South Carolina. I used to love to go underwater and listen to their melodical prop wash. Some cool old boats.

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