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AFSC Historical Corner:  Auklet II,  Built for Alaska Fisheries Service

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Auklet II
The Auklet II.  Auke Bay Laboratories photo.

 

Vessel Details
Year built: 1951
Location built: Seattle, WA
Builder: Blanchard Boat Co.
Designer: William Garden
Other names/id: Auklet  (mid-1990s)
#262422 (USCG ID)
Length: 57'
Breadth: 14.7'
Draft: 4'
Tonnage (tons): 38 gross, 30 net
Original engine: twin 200 hp G.M.
Series 6-71 diesels
Average speed: 10-12 knots
Cruising range: 1,500 nmi
Known skippers: Clyde "Pop" Dell  (1951)
? Cooper  (1950s)
John M. Thornton, Jr.  (1957) 
 Fisheries service: 1951-59
Disposition: transferred to ADFG
Auklet II photos in the
AFSC Multimedia Gallery

At a cost of $60,000, the 57-foot Auket II was built for the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and launched at Seattle, Washington, during the summer of 1951. She was no doubt named after the Auklet that had served many years for the Bureau of Fisheries (1917-39) and the FWS (1940s). The vessel was capable of performing passenger and freight transport, general fishery surveillance, limited fishing, and various tug work.

The Auklet II, designed by Seattle naval architect William Garden, featured a (Edwin) Monk style wooden hull with a distinct cruiser stern, a large galley for her size and sleeping accommodations for six. The boat was equipped with an Ocean electric plant, a Photo-Electric Pilot, Mathers clutch and throttle controls, a one-mile Ray Portable Light Company searchlight, a windlass forward, an aft mounted hydraulic mast-mounted winch and two Grandy plywood boats topside . She was powered by twin Series 6-71 G.M. diesels furnished by Evans Engine & Equipment Company, which drove a 3" Monel shaft through a 2-to-1 reduction gear and turned a 36" by 27" Coolidge propeller. Like with other federal fisheries boats, the Auklet II had water-lubricated Goodrich "Cutless" bearings.

That year, she set out on her initial trip to her new headquarters at Juneau, Alaska. On board was FWS vessel supervisor, Earl Bright, who had overseen the construction. Thus began a decade of fisheries research and patrol work for the new boat. In 1954, she was helping to furnish the various weir camps and stream guards in the Ketchikan, Alaska, area.


The Auklet II fell under control of the new Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (BCF) in 1956 when it became a division of the reorganized U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Through the remainder of the 1950s, the boat was used for management and biological research while being stationed at Seldovia, Alaska.

Auklet
The renamed charter vessel Auklet, ca. 2010.
Photo courtesy of David Janka, Auklet Charter Services.
 
 

As a result of Alaska attaining its statehood, many of the USFWS boats were transferred from 1960-65 to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG). These boats included the Crane, Dennis Winn, Kittiwake II, Teal, and many others. In March 1960, the ADFG received the Auklet II and afterwards referred to her simply as the "Auklet" – the name seemed to stick. During the previous year, a new 185 bph Caterpillar D33 T.A. engine had been installed. In 1964, a new 32v, 300w Onan diesel auxiliary was added. By 1973, the need was expressed for at least $25,000 in vessel maintenance which included repairs to the hull and bulwarks and replacement of the engine, furnace, radiators and anchor/cargo winches.

The Auklet (II) provided over two decades of valuable service to the ADFG until she was sold in the early 1980s. During the ensuing years, ownership of the vessel changed a couple of times. One of her owners was Dean Rand, who made several upgrades and renovations to the boat around 1989-90.

In March 1995, the boat was purchased by David Janka, who had operated her for Mr. Rand from 1992-94. Mr. Janka officially renamed the vessel "Auklet", since as he put it; "that is the name so many have gotten to know her by in recent decades". In 1995, he started his business, Auklet Charter Services (http://www.auklet.com/in operation as of 2012), which has provided the boat for multi-day research work, filming crew support, and natural history tours throughout Prince William Sound and south central Alaska.
 


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