Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE96-148
Mr. Pelz raises oysters on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay. He raises them in sacks, each of which weighs 50 to 80 pounds. Five sacks are attached to what he calls a “floating reef,” made of PVC pipe, which is in turn moored to a dock. The reefs, then, can weigh as much as 400 lbs.
Handling the sacks and reefs is awkward, because of their weight, the wet, slippery surfaces, and the height of several feet that they must be raised and lowered between the dock and the water. Mr. Pelz applied for a SARE grant to assist him in designing and constructing an elevator to facilitate their transfer.
Mr. Pelz worked with a manufacturer of boatlifts. They built a wooden platform on a frame of galvanized steel, which is projected to last some 20 years in this salt water environment. The lift rides on two tracks, each with its own electric motor; it was decided that this was the best way to keep it from jamming.
Mr. Pelz is very happy with the way it has turned out. The lift saves a lot of labor, and has greatly reduced the risk of back injury.