By Joe Depweg, May 3, 2021
This past weekend, Erie Marine Sales held a Test Ride event on Lake Erie at Oasis Marina in Lorain, Ohio. Three North River models were staged on the water under sunny skies, ready for five hours of test rides and customer interaction.
Erie’s 25’ Seahawk Hard Top in Arrival Blue and color matched Zolatone, powered by Yamaha’s F300 & T9.9, was explored throughout the day providing rides over the epic walleye fishing grounds of Lake Erie.
Also on hand was their North River 23’ Seahawk Fastback, proudly floating in its contrasting white color and F250 Yamaha & T9.9. This boat was the star of the show as it provided attendees many satisfying smiles.
Erie Marine’s 22’ Seahawk Outboard was outfitted with the best walleye gear, able to fish 3 rods per person. This particular boat’s configuration showed off Lowrance electronics, auto pilot, iTroll’s waterproof precision throttle controller and the Recon track system, including their tree style rod holders. Fishing rods with colorful trolling rigs and planer boards danced in the wind, ready to catch the daily six fish limit per person.
Attendance was amazing. Visitors included not only Ohio locals but boating enthusiasts from Minnesota, Michigan and the surrounding Great Lakes Region. The Erie Marine event even attracted a father and two sons from Kentucky who drove up solely for this event to determine which boat best fit their family and fishing needs.
They didn’t leave disappointed. This Kentucky family purchased a 23′ Seahawk Fastback at the event!
Erie Marine Sales and North River swag was provided to attendees and Erie hired a catering company which provided delicious barbecue sandwiches. This event was a huge success and we look forward to supporting their next on the water test ride event.
If you’d like to see North River boats in action, look no further than this season premier of Sport Fishing TV!
During the summer of 2020 the film crew from Sport Fishing TV spent four days fishing and shooting at Waterfall Resort, on Prince of Wales Island, in Southeast Alaska.
The episode, which became the season premier of Sport Fishing TV, features a lot of terrific footage of North River boats as the ultimate Alaskan sport fishing platform.
Video: © Sport Fishing TV / Bonnier Corporation
See Waterfall Resort in the Season Premier of Sport Fishing TV on the Discovery Channel, April 3 at 6:30 AM ET
As the tip of your float plane’s wing dips for final approach into Waterfall Resort, on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska, an impressive site comes into view.
Below you are 27 North River Seahawk Offshore aluminum fishing boats tied to the resort’s floating docks, awaiting the next group of eager fishermen and women to hop aboard.
Overseeing the daily comings and goings of float planes, as well as the daily departure and return of the resort’s charter fishing fleet, is Scott McKelvey, Operations Manager for Waterfall Resort.
As your float plane approaches Waterfall Resort the facilities, lodging and docks come into view.
When the fleet is in, 27 North River Seahawk Offshore boats are tied up to the docks.
Image: © Sport Fishing TV / Bonnier Corporation
Scott, who first began working as a Waterfall guide in 1991, has had a front row seat in the transition of the resort from fiberglass to aluminum boats. The process, which began in the mid-90s, has culminated in the resort’s impressive fleet of North River Seahawk Offshore fishing boats.
At 27 vessels, it’s the largest private resort charter fleet in Alaska, and one of the largest in the United States.
As the manager of the fleet, Scott has a sense of confidence about guest comfort and safety on the water that stems from the quality and craftsmanship found in the North River boats.
“You’re in Alaska up there, and the waters can be extreme,” he says.
“The pounding they take in some of the bigger seas and currents that we experience has got to put some torque on the aluminum, on the hull itself” he explains, “and if you don’t have a quality build, you’re going to be constantly having to replace or repair something, and that goes all the way to the components.”
“If the boat is bounced around,” Scott continues, “and you have inferior GPS mounts, inferior mast lights, and the list goes on, you’re going to constantly be replacing and repairing things. We just don’t see that happening with our North River Boats.”
According to Scott, the craftsmanship that contributes to the ruggedness and reliability of the boats is complemented by North River’s willingness to truly listen to and act upon the needs and wishes of clients.
“One of the nice things about North River was that they listened to what our ideas were, and worked with us in many ways to let us build the boat that we wanted,” describes Scott, “They would let us know what they were capable of building, or they would tell us if something wasn’t a good idea and explain why. Those things were huge because a person wants a boat that’s best for their application.”
The Waterfall fleet goes into full fishing mode from the middle of June, and continues non-stop through the third week of August.
SPORT FISHING TV SEASON PREMIER ON DISCOVERY CHANNEL – APRIL 3
If you’re interested in seeing the Waterfall fleet in action, check out the upcoming April 3 season premier of Discovery Channel’s Sport Fishing TV. The episode was filmed entirely on location at Waterfall Resort and features great Alaskan fishing action, including North River boats.
Here’s a list of locations, dates and times to watch the episode:
- Discovery Channel: Saturday, April 3, 6:30 A.M.
- Pursuit Network: Friday, April 2, 1pm, and Sunday, April 4, 2pm
- Bally Sports Sun: Sunday, April 4, 7:30pm, plus multiple airings over the next 12 months
- Outdoor America: Check local listings
- Prime Video: Posted April 17
- SFTV YouTube: Posted April 17
Interest in fishing at Waterfall Resort?
Visit their website for reservation calendar and rates.
Thinking of buying an aluminum fishing boat?
All of the major manufacturers include specifications about the boats that they make, and customers are often uncertain about the meaning of these specifications. In the video “Understanding Aluminum Welded Boats,” (above) Mike Hudson, principal dealer at Port Boat House, helps shed light on these specifications.
Using a North River Seahawk Offshore as a reference boat, Mike shares insights, based on 30 years of experience in the industry, about some of the key specifications and characteristics that you should look for when considering the purchase of an aluminum welded fishing boat.
Aluminum Thickness and Alloy Type
According to Mike, two important specifications when considering an aluminum welded boat are the thickness of the aluminum used throughout the boat. The other is the type of aluminum alloy used, and where it’s used. Hull thicknesses on aluminum boats can vary from 1/4 inch (.250) to 1/8 inch (.125). For example, a North River Seahawk OS has ¼” hull plate from the stern of the boat to the bow including the transom and engine bracket sides. The engine bracket aft plate is 3/8”. The thickness of aluminum used on the boat’s sides is also important. On the North River Seahawk OS, the sides are made of .190” aluminum plating. Tensile strength is a factor of the aluminum alloy used, with 5086 aluminum being the strongest. North River uses 5086 for both the bottom and sides of these boats. 5086 alloy is also more corrosion resistant.
Why are these specifications important?
The bottom line is that aluminum boats with a stronger structure, based upon using thicker aluminum and the strongest alloys, will flex less on the water, greatly reducing the risks of cracking.
Bottom Width is More Important than Beam Width
When considering the bottom width and the beam width measurements of an aluminum boat, it’s important to understand that the bottom width is the more important measurement of the two. The beam width is the measurement of the width from the top of the gunwale on one side, to the top of the gunwale on the opposite side. Bottom width is the outside measurement from the bottom of the chine on one side to the bottom of the chine on the opposite side of the boat’s bottom. A wider bottom width is important because it contributes to stability, capacity and speed to plane. North River’s bottom widths in the Seahawk OS series are nearly as wide as the beam, providing for both stability and maximum usable space on deck.
In addition to bottom width, a boat’s deadrise is an important factor in wave cutting ability and ride comfort. Deadrise is measured in degrees. The more deadrise, the steeper the V. The combination of a wider bottom width and a deeper V gives you increased carrying capacity, increased stability, faster planing and a far more comfortable ride in sea conditions like those found in the Pacific Northwest or the Great Lakes.
Integrated Engine Bracket
A feature that Mike likes to see in aluminum boats is an integrated engine bracket that follows the contour of the hull, as opposed to being stepped up and sitting above the hull. The integrated offshore motor bracket is an extension of the hull providing you with more planning surface and improved outboard motor support.
Chine and Lifting Strakes
Another bottom feature to look for is an aggressive reverse or step chineto provide additional lift while planing and additional stability when at rest. Lifting strakes welded to the hull provide additional lift when planing and lateral stability when turning.
It’s important, when considering a boat’s length, to look at the centerline length. North River provides an advertised length measuring from the bow tip (excluding pulpit) to the transom (excluding offshore bracket). Other manufacturers advertised lengths may include the pulpit and/or motor bracket. When comparing vessel hull length, it is important to know what you are getting. For example, a North River Seahawk Offshore 2700SXL has a centerline length of 27’ with an overall length (excluding motors) of 30’ 3”.
Quality of Components Used
Mike points out that when evaluating the boat, it’s important to consider the quality of the components. Like in cars, the better the quality of the components, such as the fit and the finish, the better boat you’re getting. North River uses marine grade, premium quality components that can be sourced nationally from most any marina. Our boats are used everywhere, and it’s important to have commonality in components.
There are many great fishing boats out there. We build quite a few of the most awesome ones ourselves!
And then, there are head turning FISHING BOATS!
The Seahawk Offshore (OS) Walk Around definitely warrants the latter, all caps treatment. This beautifully designed vessel was built with the dedicated fisherman (and woman) in mind. A quick look at some of the key features that contribute to its operational comfort and safety helps to illustrate why it’s the boat to aspire to.
The 55 degree bow entry of the OS Walk Around easily slices through swells providing a stable ride through seas that would otherwise intimidate other boater owners in this class. With its 108” bottom and beam width of 9’6”, the OS Walk Around provides both stability in rough water and a dry ride in active seas.
Success on the water onboard the OS Walk Around isn’t limited to the ride time between the dock and the fishing hole, and back again.
The comfort zone extends well into the active fishing time on deck. When lines are in the water – whether trolling, mooching or jigging – there is plenty of elbow room on deck to spread out and move about, without tangling. And, perhaps most importantly, without tripping over tackle and feet when moving to net your buddy’s big, bucket list fish.
The raised whale back bow offers greater security in heavy seas. When paired with the full self-bailing deck, the OS Walk Around provides the comfort of knowing that your passengers and crew are safe.
One thing North River does extremely well is build-to-suit customization and this boat has plenty of that. The reduced windage cabin height fit the customers perfectly.
An interior layout specifically designed to exactly meet the customers’ needs including dash layout for specific electronics, seating configuration designed for convenient access in and out of the cabin, all implemented at the request of the end user.
Yamaha Helm Master full manueverability joy stick control makes this boat incredibly simple to dock. Small details make the difference, like cabin sole floor storage, Plano storage integration for your fishing tackle, bait tank integration, corrosion monitoring systems, and the work order list goes on for pages.
SHE’S A LOOKER
The OS Walk Around is a looker, combining the ruggedness of spirit that you’d expect to find in a boat built to sustain the riggers of year-around fishing in Alaska with sleek lines and customized paint schemes. Pro tip for the OS Walk Around owner – get used to the attention!
Learn more about the North River Seahawk Walk Around
Alongside every Seahawk Offshore at Waterfall Resort in Alaska is a freshwater hose and bins of cleaning supplies. The last task of the day for the resort’s guides is a comprehensive freshwater and soap cleanse of the boat’s interiors, bilge and exteriors.
While boat owners are generally aware that it’s critical to run their engine(s) with a freshwater source after returning from a day on saltwater, it’s equally important to give proper care to your aluminum boat’s finish. There’s a couple of reasons why.
From a purely personal point of view, you may want to keep your boat looking tip top for the admiration it earns you from friends, family and fellow boaters. From a financial point of view, maintaining your boat’s appearance is an important factor in maintaining your boat’s value.
For example, let’s say you want to sell your Seahawk Outboard so you can step up to a Seahawk Offshore. Keeping your Seahawk Outboard looking as close to the way it looked when it was delivered will help you preserve its best possible resale value.
Saltwater Care and Maintenance
To start, as a reminder, it’s always best to run the engine in a freshwater source (lake or river) to flush the engine or jet of saltwater (see your specific engine’s Owner’s Manual). When that’s not an option, attaching a freshwater hose via a flush muff or the engine’s accessory connector is the best bet.
The first step after flushing the engine is a fresh water rinse, inside and out, of the boat and the trailer. If there’s a wash down station at the boat ramp, take advantage of it by rinsing your boat off right after it comes out of the saltwater. Be mindful of other boaters waiting in line and remember that at the ramp, it’s a quick rinse.
Upon reaching home, rinse the boat if you weren’t able to do it at the boat ramp.
Then, wash your boat completely, inside and out, with a boat soap. Washing your aluminum boat with freshwater and boat soap is critically important. This step helps to reduce the risk of crevice corrosion and paint-related corrosion.
Some cleaning products to consider using to clean or minimize corrosion on your aluminum boat include:
No matter which you choose, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.
Please note that we don’t recommend polishing the natural aluminum material or using aluminum cleaning products such as abrasives, acids, detergents, aluminum cleaner or aluminum polish.
If your boat is painted, we recommend that you wax your boat’s painted surfaces as often as possible, especially when regularly running in saltwater. However, if your boat is brand new, we recommend not waxing or polishing the painted surfaces for the first 30 days you own and operate the boat.
While cleaning your boat, visually inspect the sacrificial anodes. At North River Boats, we recommend using only Aluminum Sacrificial Anodes only, and never mix the anode alloy type. Additionally, we recommend consulting with your authorized service center before changing or adding anodes.
Did you know that North River also has a Commercial Division to design and build boats for professional groups in Law Enforcement, Fish and Game, Fire Departments, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard? The same expertise and craftsmanship that our recreational owners rely upon to keep their families and friends safe and successful on the water is relied upon by many professional groups, too.
Our North River Boats Factory team is proud to be able to support these professional groups in their efforts to keep us protected and safe.
Recently, we participated in the Colorado River Law Enforcement Association’s recent (virtual) conference by providing this short video, showcasing some of the recent boats we’ve designed, built and delivered for this professional sector.
Guest post by John Keizer of Salt Patrol
There has been a dramatic evolution in marine electronics over the past few years. Sounders, radar, side scanning ability, new GPS mapping with limit less overlay displays showing you fuel used by receiving NEMA 2000 information from your OB engines. Even MPG and almost anything else you wish to monitor on your screen.
The evolution has even provided some great improvements to the standard VHF marine radio. Most VHF radios can do much more than just talk to other boaters or shore stations.
Let’s take for example the radio I run on my boat Salt Patrol. It’s a Lowrance Link-9. By connecting power and VHF antenna to it becomes an operation transmitting 25 watt VHF radio and an AIS “Automatic Identification System” receiver. The Link 9 is a dual channel AIS receiver that will send AIS target information like call sign, ship name, bearing, distance and more right to your chartplotter. AIS will display all commercial shipping traffic and many pleasure and commercial fishing boats have it to. You can set an alarm to sound to let you know if you’re on a collision course.
I can also scan my favorite three channels for those all import fishing updates. If I then plug in a marine hailer to it not only does it allow me to hail other boats from the speaker but also use it as a fog horn and a listening aid. I also have access to several marine weather channels for the latest in on the water forecasts and have automatic weather warnings broadcasted to me.
By connecting my VHF via NMEA 2000 or NEMA 0183 to my send and receive on my GPS it now can send my position to other boats or the Coast Guard. This is done by the Digital Select Calling (DSC) feature. To you this you must first have your GPS connect to the radio and then enter your Maritime Mobil Service Identity (MMSI) number into the radios memory. The MMSI number is a series of nine digits which are sent in digital form over a radio frequency channel in order to uniquely identify your boat. You can attain MMSI number from Boat US.
You can now transmit your position over the radio to another equipped vessel with DCS and it will display your position information. This can be extremely helpfully location you in an emergency situation. The Lowrance Link-9 VHF can also use the same DSC feature to display other boats positions on the GPS plotter screen when used with a Lowrance unit. This allows me to request a position on my buddy’s location and have it updated in real time my GPS screen. To do this I will need to have his MMSI number laded in my radios memory. I can also use a Lowrance feature called “Track Your Buddy” that will keep me updated on up to three friends and display their current positions on my GPS plotter at all times. Boy does this cut down on the radio chatter, now it’s just come over to where I’m at the bite is one. No need to broadcast your position to the entire fleet when you’re out of cell phone range.
Installation matters as the VHF is only as good as the antennas there connected too. Cheap antennas will not hold up in the saltwater environment the punishment they receive they soon go bad, hopefully not when you really need them to work. Buy a premium antenna such as those from Digital or Shakespeare Galaxy that feature brass or copper internal elements (versus cheaper coaxial cable built ones) have a greater transmit range in a 8ft 6 db gain which is pretty standard setup on today’s boats.
I like to use the Digital PL-259 connector that does not require you to solder the connection on after you run the cable from the antenna to the radio. I also try to mount the antenna at the highest spot on the boat. VHF works on line of sight so the higher the antenna is mounted the longer the transmit and receive range will be.
Tuning the radio is also critical to its operation. Turning up squelch helps to eliminate unwanted static, but excessive squelch also blacks out weak or distant transmissions. Start by turning squelch down completely. You will hear a lot of static. Then gradually turn it up in till the static stops. At the same time make sure the volume is high enough to hear incoming calls. You would be surprised on how many captains are calling on the radio and are answered but can’t hear the call because they forgot to turn up the volume.
Two other checks that will insure your VHF is working properly is to test the power supple to it. Make you are getting a full 12 volts at the radio when you’re transmitting at 25 watts. That can be tested at the radio power connection. The other is you can buy or borrow a Shakespeare ART-3 sensitivity meter. This will indicate if the radio antenna and connector is working properly. In test mode you will hear a tone on channel 72 with the volume set at about 1/3 and the squelch turn off. If you don’t hear a tone you have an issue with the radio or antenna.
Lastly when talking on the radio hold the mic within a few inches of your mouth when talking to send a clear transmission as most newer radios have noise canceling feature if your too far away will cut off your voice.
I consider my VHF radio as not only a must have safe guard providing me must have communications and weather updates but as a great fishing tool tracking all my fishing friends.