Click a marker above to learn about the boat and its anatomy.
Trawls: The nets towed behind the vessel to collect shrimp. Trawls are divided into three categories based upon where they sample the water; surface, midwater and bottom. The nets are primarily made of synthetic nylon due to its strength, resistance to deterioration and low cost.
Towing Boom or Outrigger: Mounted usually on the port and starboard side of the mast about 5-7 ft above the deck. The range of the outriggers go from 24 to 40 ft on the larger vessels and operate at a 20 to 30 degree angle from the horizontal.
Tickler Chain: An innovation from the fifties that is virtually used on all vessels today. It is a chain that is secured at the wings of the trawl and tows on the bottom ahead of the trawl. The purpose of this is to scare the shrimp off the bottom.
Pilothouse: It wasn't until the twenties that shrimp trawlers were decked over and a forward pilothouse was added.
Engine: Gasoline engines were the primary power source for the early open skiff trawlers. By the twenties they were decked over and the engines were placed forward. This set up is still standard in today's shrimp trawlers. From the thirties forward diesel engines became common place as the ships became larger and traveled further offshore.
Mast: Early masts were not used for trawling, but rather creature comfort and gear maintenance. Nets used to be made of cotton fiber and were very highly prone to mildewing and rotting. The addition of the mast allowed the shrimpers to host their nets up at days end to dry, as well as for rigging up an awning to provide shade to the men on deck.
Typically three fishermen - the captain, the rig man and a deck hand - work a shrimping trawler that sets out to sea for upward of 20 days. The length of the voyage is dictated by how much they are catching. A haul of 20,000 pounds is considered a good trip.
The primary gear used to harvest shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico is the otter trawl, while in closer state waters fishermen may also use a wider variety of gears like butterfly nets (wint nets) and beam trawls. Vessels using otter trawls are required to use BRDs and TEDs in both Florida state and federal waters. Florida requires the use of BRDs and TEDs in all other types of trawls.