SV Seeker: The Boat The Internet Built
Like so many others, Doug Jackson grew up watching “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau”, and instantly fell in love with the sea. In school, science and marine biology classes were Doug’s favorites, though he ultimately chose a career as a computer programmer and database administrator. Fast forward to years later; Doug is now back working on his dream of sailing the sea, just as Cousteau did, and SV Seeker is the boat that will take him there.
“I conceived SV Seeker as the red neck version of Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso,” says Doug. “My plan was to build a vessel for scientists who have a passion for their work and the ocean. Money would not stand in our way, and we would build what we need and allow the wind to carry us as it carried explorers before us.” Doug’s vision to allow people to conduct important research, all free of charge, has led to tremendous support for this project, which appeals to a range of people, from oceanographers, archaeologists, and marine biologists to divers and wreck hunters, and adventurers and explorers.
Like Doug, the extended SV Seeker community doesn’t believe resources should stand in the way of the project. People from around the world are sharing the story, sending in donations and supplies, and eager to volunteer. “I expected to build Seeker almost alone, but instead I touched on something that resonated with so many others,” notes Doug. Thanks to the extensive online community, Doug has no problem finding helpers: “We have to schedule volunteers to avoid having more help than we actually need at any given time.”
SV Seeker Attracts Volunteers & Donations From Around The World
SV Seeker’s online community includes people from all over North America, and even overseas. Thousands of donations have been made online to help support the project financially, as well as donations of equipment, parts and supplies, while hundreds of volunteers have arrived at the Tulsa, OK worksite to help build the vessel from the ground up. “Our volunteers range from a PHD candidate working on nuclear reactors, to truck drivers, welders, sculptors, actors, cops, carpenters, builders, counselors, fishermen, sailors and almost any other profession,” shares Doug. “Some volunteers bring little more than an adventurous attitude and the willingness to learn, while others bring fabrication skills that have been honed over decades.”
Specialized Equipment Helps SV Seeker Volunteer
The SV Seeker worksite is bustling with activity. Doug keeps fans of the project updated on the progress through his popular YouTube channel, which boasts over 165,000 subscribers. Volunteers find themselves painting, hammering, sandblasting, pouring CNC castings, wiring the electrical, and engineering the mechanics in the engine room. Completing this work, often within a small, enclosed space, requires specialized equipment. One piece of equipment that has helped Doug and the volunteers throughout the build process, is the VMAC Multifunction 6-In-1 Power System.
VMAC Multifunction 6-in-1 Power System
SV Seeker’s VMAC Multifunction 6-in-1 Power System features an air compressor, welder, battery charger, battery booster, generator, and PTO port for hydraulic power—in one complete system. “Before we found the VMAC Multifunction unit, we were sourcing each of these systems separately. It was enough equipment to completely fill the back of a pickup,” says Doug. Small enough to fit on a single pallet, the VMAC Multifunction is significantly more compact than having six separate machines, but it is also up to 6 cubic feet smaller than other leading multi-power brands. It’s lightweight, weighing just 570 lbs, making it up to 400 lbs lighter than other leading all-in-one multi-power systems.
“The thing I liked most about the VMAC Multifunction is that it provides flexibility,” says Doug. “Most of the time the multi-power system will be bolted to the engine room floor and provide AC and DC power for the boat.” However, Doug predicts the VMAC Multifunction will be used for work that they cannot anticipate. “A researcher may be removing sediment from a wreck requiring an air compressor. We might need to perform repairs on another boat, or even on land. We could use the Multifunction to power submersible hydraulic pumps, welding current, or power for hand tools,” explains Doug. “It’s designed to be mounted in a truck, but at only 570 lbs and with its compact size we can easily move it to where our work requires and have everything we need for a variety of jobs.”
Welders Prefer VMAC Multifunction
Doug has been fortunate to have experienced Fabricators volunteering on the SV Seeker build, and with the VMAC Multifunction, he is able to offer them the equipment they need to do the work. “Two professional welders from HollyFrontier Tulsa Refinery have both been very pleased with the performance of the VMAC Multifunction’s welder. They’ve been so impressed, they prefer to use the VMAC Multifunction to power their welds over our Miller XMT 300 welder.”
Get Back To Work Sooner
When asked what he would say to anyone considering purchasing a VMAC Multifunction 6-in-1 Power System, Doug finds the ability to complete repairs right on the worksite as they’re needed a huge advantage: “I grew up working on a farm and with construction equipment. Inevitably something would break, and in those days, it meant bringing the equipment back to the warehouse shop to use the power tools and welder required for the repairs. It surprises me how often I still see this model for doing business, where a $25,000 pickup truck is towing equipment back to the shop for repairs. Give me an old truck and a VMAC Multifunction Power System and we’ll be back to work a lot sooner.”
November 2019 SV Seeker Update
Volunteers from around the United States and beyond continue to call on Doug and the SV Seeker crew to help work on the vessel. Saturdays are a busy day for visitors, and the crew welcomes those who are interested in learning more and touring the boat.
These days, tasks include installing foam board, insulation, and wooden panels for the ceiling and the walls inside and installing caulking to ensure the boat is airtight. Engine room storage drawers have been put in. The team at SV Seeker has also been painting the boat, and the VMAC Multifunction has been used to provide extra air power when painting.
There’s also been some beautification projects at SV Seeker, with the two dragons being painted. Beyond decoration, the dragons will also serve a useful purpose on the vessel—the left side dragon will have a pearl in its mouth to glow red to identify the port side of the boat, and the dragon on the starboard side will have a pearl that will glow green.
The SV Seeker community has grown a lot over the last 8 years. Doug’s project has inspired a lot of different people to not only volunteer to work on SV Seeker, but to also get creative and work on their own projects. SV Seeker videos end with “What Did You Make Today?” in the credits and do-it-yourselfers send in photos of their own projects to be featured. As one volunteer said: “Not being good at something is no excuse to not give it a try.” And it’s this attitude that has allowed one man to inspire thousands of people and to build a 74-ft motorsailer in the front yard of his Oklahoma home.
Get Involved With SV Seeker
If you’re interested in volunteering, Doug and the SV Seeker crew only have three rules: “#1 Get the job done, #2 Have fun, #3 Be safe. The VMAC Multifunction covers #1 and #2, so be safe.”
To learn more about SV Seeker, visit their website www.svseeker.com. Here you’ll find video updates, crew bios, posts from volunteers, photos, a “junk store” that helps support the project, and different ways to donate to SV Seeker.