With summer on the way, the tiny house dream of some people might take the form of a boat. Instead of a sailboat or other sleek sailing craft, a trawler has all the amenities in a tough little package – with a loyal following.
A trawler or pilot house is a usually a boat used for fishing or for the military and the police, but pleasure versions of the them are built as well that have comfortable areas for living and cooking. These boats are called cruising trawlers or trawler yachts and they come in many styles and sizes. Since they don’t have a sail, they rely on fuel and have cruising speeds of around 14-20 knots.
Typical designs of trawlers include a raised pilothouse or offset deckhouse and a “portuguese bridge” which consists of a walkway behind the foredeck, in front and to the sides of, the pilothouse windows, separated from the foredeck by a (generally) waist-high bulwark. The purpose of the bridge is to deflect water from the foredeck up over the superstructure top rather than slamming against the forward windows of the pilothouse. It gives a semi-sheltered area outside the pilothouse while underway. A secondary benefit is that it provides a “safe area” or handhold when it is necessary to be on the foredeck in inclement weather.
Trawlers come in lengths ranging from 35 to 60 feet long and can cost from about $30,000 upwards to $300,000 for a newer, more luxurious model. Most are built for long term cruising. Combined with large fuel tanks they can cruise far before needing to be refuelled. They can be home for between 2 to 8 persons for many days and can be a permanent home.
Usually trawlers have a single engine, though twin engine installations are also available from some builders. They have a large fuel capacity. Fuel range is normally 1,500-3,000 miles on smaller vessels, even greater for those over 45ft in length. When combined with the slower speeds of a displacement hull, these features give such vessels far greater range and economy than similarly sized planing boats. A large engine room under the main cabin is another feature of true cruising trawlers. Many also include a diesel generator of 5-20kW to power domestic appliances, bow thrusters, dinghy cranes, and similar equipment.