Getting my Lobster License
The State of Maine offers its residents a recreational lobster license; we can have up to 5 traps. The number one rule is that the lobsters can’t be sold; they have to be for the resident license holder’s use only. You have to establish residency by 1) living in Maine for at least 6 months, 2) voting in Maine and 3) paying income taxes in Maine. The process also involves an open book test with a one time fee of $15, a license fee of $65 and fifteen cents per trap for identifying tags. So far we’re up to $80.75, the equivalent of maybe ten lobsters.
I have always been hesitant to get into this for two reasons. First, I thought I might make local lobstermen/women mad at me for muscling in on their territory, even though it’s in front of my house. These folks work hard and they are not known for their gentle ways, at least that’s the stereotype. A local Lamoine recreational lobsterman dispelled this notion and offered to “straighten them out” if I had any trouble. He claimed that the locals are doing fine and would not begrudge a few additional traps. This made a big change in my attitude.
The second reason is that I don’t have the right boat. I only own kayaks, a canoe, a dingy and a small sail boat. I suppose I could rope them all together to haul traps, but the license application requires naming a specific boat with a registration number, so I have to get a boat. I don’t know what this will cost, but I know what I want to do: build a boat and have it powered by electricity. No diesel-belcher for me!
I’m really trying to fit in, right?
I’ve been interested in electric boats for years. To me they are a perfect application of electric propulsion. Unlike cars, weight is not an issue. A ballast of lead acid batteries would make any boat more stable (or sink). A short lesson about boat design: boats can be designed to either be “planing” or “displacement”. A planing hull requires a big motor to rise out of the water, a displacement hull has a maximum theoretical speed through the water related to its waterline length, usually around six knots (6.9 miles per hour) for a 20 foot craft. It does not lift out of the water, it just makes a wave. A well designed displacement hull can move very efficiently at displacement speed, so an electric motor capable of moving a boat at displacement speed can do so for many hours with a bank of six batteries. The batteries can be recharged for much less than an equivalent amount of gas or diesel fuel, especially if done with photovoltaics. Imagine gliding through the water with no smoke or vibration, just a slight hum….
I hope to make this project into a blog series as I go through the process of building a boat and getting my license. Stay tuned.