It all began on Craigslist, which Kevin scans regularly for raw materials for his Engineering Marvels. He’d been on the look-out for a tub to turn into a livewell for the boat and, last week, he hit the jackpot. There they were! Two twenty-five gallon tubs made of heavy-duty plastic. They had a big enough diameter that mackerel could swim in them, and they were sturdy enough to handle being filled with water.
He made the call to the contact in the ad, to a woman named Lucy. She was in Bourne, about fifteen miles from us, and Kevin told Lucy that I’d come pick them up.
“Wait,” Lucy said. “Your name is Kevin and your wife’s name is Tamar?” Kevin confirmed.
“Are you Starving off the Land?”
Turns out that Lucy is a regular reader and commenter! Which means there’s a kind of goes-around-comes-around rightness in turning her tubs into our livewell.
I zipped over with a check, and Lucy and I put the tubs in the car, talking about chickens and bees and gardens. We kept talking for quite some time, and could have gone on all day, I suspect, if both of us didn’t have to get back to work.
I brought Lucy’s tubs to Kevin for inspection. They were perfect. And if the first one didn’t work out, we had a back-up.
The tub was the big hurdle, but Kevin needed a few other things to get the job done. We needed a lid that was heavy enough to stay put when the boat was moving, made of a material that could withstand salt water, and fittings to attach the input hose at the bottom of the tub and the outflow hose near the top.
For the lid, we went with stuff called Azek, which is essentially boards made out of PVC. We learned about Azek from Bob (our friend, fishing instructor, and builder), who used it as trim when he put new doors and windows in our house. We bought one board, and Kevin cut a piece about two inches wide to span the top of the tub and snap in under the rim. Then he added semi-circles of Azek to each side of the center span with hinges, to make the lid you can lift up to put fish in or take them out.
Once that was done, it was just a question of hose fittings. Our boat has a pump that pumps in seawater for washing the deck, so we had a ready-made water supply. Kevin used a washing-machine hose to connect the pump to the bottom of the tub, and made the intake with PVC fittings and fluffy rubber washers to make sure it was watertight.
PVC and fluffy washers also connected a wider outflow hose about five inches from the top of the tub (to leave room for sloshing), and that hose was long enough to drain the water off the back of the boat, over the transom.
This past weekend, we used it for the first time. Would it work?