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Like a Fish Out of Water

It takes a special trailer to haul a 58-ton boat

The waterfront hamlet of Deale sees plenty of boat traffic. But nothing like the 80-foot sportfisherman stopping traffic on the street.
    The boat — atop a very long blue trailer — had an entourage, led by a Maryland State Police squad car and followed by escorts on truck and foot.
    Rather than this 90-minute procession, boatbuilder Jimmy Weaver had hoped to move the hull by water from one boatyard on Rockhold Creek to another on nearby Tracy’s Creek for final finishing. When that didn’t pan out, Weaver was forced to go by land.
    But first he had to build a trailer big enough to carry the behemoth.
    “We started with a house-moving dolly,” Weaver said. “They can be steered at the rear, like a hook-and-ladder fire truck. You can even make the trailer go sideways, if necessary.”
    Next came supports and axles, all with an eye to weight. To get road-transport permits, truck, trailer and boat together could weigh no more than 120,000 pounds. That’s a “super load.” Any heavier is an “engineered load.”
    The final weight was 116,000 pounds.
    With a boat this big and heavy, less build-out can be done prior to transport. Engines, for example, are installed later.
    Height restrictions also play a part. The cabin, or house, of the boat must be removed by a crane prior to the road trip, then replaced after the boat arrives at its destination.
    To get the trailer back to its starting place at Hidden Harbor after off-loading, Weaver’s crew dismantled it. Intact, it would require another road-permit to move.
    Completion of a Weaver sportfishing boat takes four or five months, so stay tuned for an April 2015 launch of the 80-footer.