Bristol Bay Gillnetter Joins Our Fleet
A new boat arrived today! This beauty is a Bristol Bay Gillnetter — just like our beloved Admirable — but you may not recognize it as such. That’s because this one was outfitted with a cabin, and what appears to be structure for a canopy. Traditionally, Gillnetters have no cabin, as they are part of the fishing and cannery history in Bristol Bay Alaska.
These fishing cat boats were operated on Bristol Bay right up into the 1950s, thanks to a state law which banned the use of motors in the fishery until 1951. Canneries would hire fishermen to operate the boats, which could catch and hold as much as 2500 fish in a day. Once loaded, a boat would deliver its fish to a lighter, a scow brought out by a tug.
Although we won’t be using her for fishing, we will be restoring her to her original capacity! She’ll be on our docks for a few months, while the Wagner Education Center is built. Then she’ll move into our new Boatshop, and serve as the inaugural project for the space. Once complete, she’ll join our Sunday Public Sail fleet, and visitors will be able to enjoy Lake Union from another great piece of Northwest maritime history.