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