BFAR boat-making tech saves on wood

TUGUEGARAO CITY — Sturdy, cost-effective, safe and long-lasting are just some of the words that best describe the new fishing boats being introduced by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)- region 2.

Above all, these boats do not entail the use of precious timber.

Dubbed as the “Bangkang Pinoy”, the boats are fabricated using Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic technology. The Bangkang Pinoy was originally meant as rehabilitation assistance in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. Seeing its applicability specially for municipal fishers, the agency has decided to disseminate the technology in all regions. Dissemination was made through the Trainers Training on Fiberglass Boat Design and Construction being held by the BFAR – National Marine Fisheries Development Center in Sangley Pt., Cavite.

Unlike traditional wooden boats, the Bangkang Pinoy does not capsize even if overturned, due to built-in safety features. “The boats have hollow portions distributed within its hull, to aid in buoyancy and to keep it afloat, even if overturned,” says Rodel Pasaraba. The designers kept in mind the safety of the fishers, the BFAR RO2 technical staff, added.

While cost of fabrication materials, mainly resin, hardener, and matting can be higher compared to wood, Bangkang Pinoy is more cost-effective as it lasts longer, not susceptible to rotting & abrasion, and have lower maintenance cost. Fabrication is also much faster, as the materials can be easily procured, unlike wood which is banned nowadays.

So far, the BFAR in Region 2, has fabricated and distributed one hundred ten units of the boats, since the start of the year. These were distributed in provinces of Quirino (40 units), Isabela (40 units) and Cagayan (30 units). The bureau also assisted in the fabrication of 35 units for Angadanan, Isabela and has scheduled a training on fiberglass boat construction for San Mariano, same province, under their Bottom-up Budgeting programs.

Meanwhile, the BFAR RO2 has also started the distribution of fish stalls made of stainless steel. Compared to the usual fish stalls, the new stalls are more hygienic, long-lasting and enable the vendor to exercise proper fish handling. This can translate to a better price and faster marketing of the product.

According to BFAR RO2 Regional Director Milagros Morales, both projects are components of the agency’s pro-poor program dubbed as TARGET (Targeted Actions to Reduce Poverty and Generate Economic Transformation). PNA/