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Hull & Deck >> Fishbox Project Description

Progress on this endeavor could only be accomplished with a collaborative effort involving many innovative products, companies and individuals. To find out more about these companies and products, select any one of the company links below.

Sponsors For This Project: MAS Epoxies | Dometic Environmental Corporation

Fishbox Form

Here, the form is being made for a male mold of the fish box interior. The box is almost six feet on the beam and will hold the long side of a bait tray (beer case) fore and aft. The depth of the box is about 26", not too deep to be able to clean easily.
This photo shows Dave (my son-in-law) carefully fitting the mica. Dave did all the work on the fishbox! I did the initial design and he executed it. Unfortunately for Dave I kept changing details as he was putting it together. He is a very talented guy and took my design changes in stride since both of us knew what we ultimately wanted to accomplish.

Dave at Work!

Fishbox Details

Mica board is applied for a smooth finish that can easily be waxed. Very carefull attention was paid to drainage. The top of this photo is the bottom of the inside of the fishbox. Note the curve! A port and starboard drain will be made in the aft corners. This image shows the aft side of the box. Note the notch! This notch goes around the three exposed sides of the box and is created so your feet can go under. This detail gives you a tight and stable stance during a fight fish while you are in the standing position.
This photo displays the making of the female mold for the outside of the fishbox. A space of over 3" is maintained for insulation. Once this form has been completed, it will be removed and the interior box glassed.

Insulation Area

Mica Applied

Here is the box with mica on all surfaces. Body putty was used to make radious joints.
This is my solution to fixing the problem of that spot on the backside of the drain that always holds dirt and does not drain.

Drain Pipe

Proper Drain

This configuration should leave no corner shelf for dirt to lay. When the part is completed, the drain should actually be part of the corner. If this works like I think, then I will do the same in the cockpit floor.
This photo displays the outside of the fishbox while on its side. The PVC pipes protruding are the drains. When the box is upright, the drains are located aft port and starboard.

Molded Fishbox

Inside the Box

This is the interior of the box. At this point, parts of the mold are still in the box. Even though the box turned out quite well, the mold should have been sealed much better. If the mold had been sealed properly, it would have been easier to pry out the mold remains.
This is what remains of the mold. Because it was not sealed properly we had to dissmantle it from the inside.

Lesson Learned

Drain Corner

Note how the drain is part of the corner. All water will drain from this box.
The fishbox is now ready to be shipped to Dometic so it can be wrapped with coils and insulated. The outer part lifts off so they can scrape the coils. Dometic will then tape the shaved ice pipe in place and lower the outer skin back on. Once this has been accomplished, insulation will be poured into the 3 1/2" void and the box will be shipped back.

Box Ready to Ship

Shipping Fishbox

Dave and I loaded the box onto his truck. Stacey and I then drove it to Mechanicsville, VA.
Here is the Dometic Corporation facility.


Unloading the Box at Dometic

Everyone we met at Dometic was really nice (the receptionist refferred to me as "young man"! I really liked her!) including Mark, the tech from the refrigeration department, who will wrap the box with coils and then pour the insulation. Here, Mark and I unload the box from the truck.
I asked Mark for his opinion on the box and his reply was "this is a big box". I told him it would fit cases of beer, I mean bait, fore and aft. He told me he always liked to have plenty of bait on hand himself. I let Mark know how the pipe for the Ice Shaver is to be installed so he could work around it and he made notes on the box. He asked me where we wanted the tubing to come out and made those marks on the box as well. At Dometic, the grounds and facilities are kept imaculate and it just seems like a great group of people. Stacey and I look forward to the return trip.

Checking the Box


Here comes the fishbox pulled with Scott's amazing Saturn. The box is now wrapped with coils and insulated.
They filled the box with insulation. This baby is ready to cool!



This end has the connections for the refridgeration and the pipe end fitting for the Eskimo ice shaver hose. I will put a layer of glass to seal the insulation and then we will be ready to install.
The box is tacked in place with screws and clamps while the epoxy dries. I will also fabricate additional support from the old transom and/or the stringers.

Tacked In Place

Large Enough?

Our son-in-law says, "It's not a Fishbox until we actually are able to catch fish and put them in it!" So, for now, we call it a Beverage Box. The refrigeration is working flawlessly. We love this box. While we have yet to set it to its lowest settings, we have had it freezing items at the bottom.

Installed Fishbox

Fish/Beverage Lid

The lid needs further fitting due to expansion and contraction. It is a fine line between a nice tight fit and not being able to open the lid because it is too tight. We also need to rout and recess the handles.
The Eskimo Ice shaver came with the boat and is a wonderful piece of equipment. Eskimo has since been purchased by Dometic Corp, the makers of Cruisair. We have performed an upgrade that allows better monitoring of the unit and includes a repeating control at the helm.


Feeding Ice

Shaved ice is fed through the tube and into our fishbox.
This machine can make 600 lbs. of shaved ice per day. It is great for margaritas or snow cones. Not to mention that when we catch fish this is the surest and quickest way to cool them down and keep them fresh.

600 lbs. Per Day


Full operation of the unit can be monitored from this Bridge Control Unit. There is also an electric eye in the fishbox that turns off the machine when it indicates it's full. We love it!

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