MERCY’S VESSEL was built in 1970 by Blount Boats, Inc of Warren, Rhode Island.  The original name was ATLANTIS and she served as a day trip fishing vessel operating off of New Jersey and New York.  Newer, faster boats limited her financial viability, and she was put up for sale.  For more details on her past, see the sub-page MERCY’S VESSEL Past.

The vessel is 110 feet long with a 25 foot beam and is 91 gross tons.  Her propulsion is two Detroit Diesel 16V71 engines, and she has two Detroit Diesel 271 generators, each of 20kw capacity.  As built, the fuel tank holds 2000 gallons.

The ship just before we took delivery in March 2015

After purchase in March 2015, the boat was moved from New Jersey to a marina on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.  It was registered under the name MERCY’S VESSEL to reflect its new mission in life of being a ship of mercy carrying hope and help for the sick, broken, and lost.   We spent the summer removing extraneous material and equipment, and then chipping, scraping, and priming the weather decks.  One side effect of owning a boat with a steel hull is the painting is never done; just when you think you are finished, it is time to start again.

IMG_0704The final product after priming

Hot, dirty work..but a labor of love                                                               after priming


All cleaned and ready for the Open House in September 2015
All cleaned and ready for the Open House in September 2015

We hosted an open house in late September.  It was a huge success with about 40 guests visiting.   Once that was over, we went to work overhauling the starboard main engine.  After we finished, a certified Detroit Diesel technician did some final adjustments on the starboard engine and then he worked on the port engine.  When he left, both engines were in tip-top shape.  MERCY’S VESSEL’s engines are ready for service.

The ship is powered by Detroit Diesels....and these engines are notorious for leaking...
The ship is powered by Detroit Diesels….both engines have been worked on to make them ready for service…

The priming of the weather decks and engine work are the beginning phases of modifying MERCY’S VESSEL for service on the mission field.  Our next objective is to take her to a shipyard in New Jersey where she will be lifted from the water so the hull can be cleaned, inspected, and then prepared for painting.  The fuel tank capacity will be increased to about 5,000 gallons, which should give us about a 1600 mile cruising range.  We have a few sea valves to repair or replace.  The last item on the shipyard work list is to construct the wing berthing.  We want to put 9 bunks on each side of the current superstructure for the evangelistic team members to sleep.  Extra bunks will be filled by members of the medical team and others who will meet us at the mission site.  Of course there is an extensive work list for us to accomplish while the boat is in the yards.  This includes things like working on upgrading the pilot house (the wiring reflects 45 years of service), installing a new fresh water system, installing a much larger sanitary tank, and so on to make the ship able to house and transport up to 28 people.  The ship is to have air conditioning installed.  To power that we will need to add an additional electrical generator.  The task ahead of us is monumental, but we approach it with all confidence that God will provide the human and financial resources when needed.

The work on the starboard diesel trashed the engine room for quite some time…but it was put back together and runs like new…and the engine room was cleaned.







Ready to head to the shipyard







Underway from Summit North Marina

The Lord gave us a beautiful day for a transit to the shipyard.  We left the Summit North Marina in Bear, Delaware about noon on Thursday July 7th, transited down the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal to the Delaware Bay and on out to sea.  We reached the open ocean a little before 7 pm.  Weather and seas were calm, with about 2-3 foot swells.  We took the ship about 60 miles off shore to give it a good run during the night.  We arrived at Ocean City, New Jersey Friday morning and then transisted up the Tuckahoe River for about 12 miles to reach Yank Marine, the shipyard that will start the major conversion process.  The next two videos show us following the guide boat through the Ocean City harbor and up the river.  Don’t let the river video fool you; the river channel is very, very narrow…outside the channel the water depth is 2-3 feet, and we need at least 7 feet of water.



Up the river to the shipyard
Moored at the yard
Version 2
The lift that will take the boat out out of the water

Coming into the lift well Coming into the lift well

Positioning for the  lift….



Starting to lift…the man with the device in his hands is the one controlling the crane.  He lifts the boat and then drives the boat around

Driving around the shipyard to be put on blocks


Mary removing ceiling panels and insulation….she essentially did that for all of the main cabin, and she removed most of the side panels and insulation also….and then she cleaned up the mess. She is definitely a keeper!!! But it is all part of Serving HIM Joyfully…


The hole cut in the fuel compartment so the shipyard can expand the fuel tank, and we can take out the old metal potable water tanks and put in the new plastic potable water tanks.
The hole cut in the fuel compartment so the shipyard can expand the fuel tank, and we can take out the old metal potable water tanks and put in the new plastic potable water tanks.


The Sardis men before starting work
The Sardis men before starting work


Removing the diesel generator exhausts
Removing the diesel generator exhausts


Clearing topside of the ship
Clearing topside of the ship


Removing the main engine mufflers
Removing the main engine mufflers


The main cabin after removing the toilets and the rear wall, and the diesel exhausts
The main cabin after removing the toilets and the rear wall, and the diesel exhausts


The Sardis men after finishing work
The Sardis men after finishing work


Jay Edwards applying epoxy paint before the new aluminum is put on
New foundation supports for the main cabin
Orhan is the main shipyard person working on MERCY’S VESSEL
Frank Olafson and I installing new support structs

Mary after cleaning the fuel compartment…no dirt left there…she is wearing it..
Frank Olafson working on framing windows..
The paint we use to stop rust will stain your hands…the can says if it dries, only time will remove it….uh oh…
Mary cleaning in the sanitary compartment. She is cleaning beneath the new sanitary tank supports, and after she paints the supports, we will install the tanks…
Orhan, our shipyard worker, building the back wall of the main cabin…this is the area where the clinic will be..
Finishing cleaning the newly expanded fuel tank…
Blake and I grinding decks
Our grandson Blake Jones using a needle gun to remove rust…
Mary and our grandson Blake grinding the decks
Blake taking a break….grinding is dirty work…and it shows
The 10 inch stainless steel pipes that will become our exhaust pipes
The new exhaust pipes being fitted…
Putting in the interior framing
Another view of building the interior framing..
Frank Olafson doing some plumbing
Framing the second deck
Paul Pecou working on building the second deck
Putting siding on the second deck
Autumn Majewski putting up insulation in the main cabin
Mary grinding decks in the main cabin
Mike Woznak and I working on the second deck
Putting on the roof of the second deck
Adding some sealant to the rivets on the second deck roof
Tommy Warrington and Reggie Wall from Good News Baptist, Chesapeake, Va working on the crew cabins
Pastor Todd McClure and men from Centerville Baptist, South Boston, VA
Mary asking for help with putting in putty on the walls
Chelsea Heating and Air installing the air conditioning
Chelsea working in the engine room
Chris Rakus working on the outside AC units
The men from Unity Baptist eating at the tables built by Jim Hogan…
Unity Baptist men installing the cooking hood
Captain cleaning the rub rail prior to painting….
John Yank and Mike LeMole determining where to put the anti-roll chocks
Sand blasting the boat…had not been done in many, many years….
Painted with zinc paint after sand blasting
Tony Smith from Sardis Lake Baptist putting body filler in some of the dings on the hull…He spent 3 straight days doing this..
Pastor Kevin Crofford helping Tony…
Sardis Lake Baptist men putting on the primer coat..
Orhan building the anti-roll chocks
Welding the chocks…over 200ft of welding in each chock
The chocks are completed
The pharmacy is nearly done
Mary painting the inside of the splash rail
Putting zinc paint on after sandblasting
Before sandblasting
After sandblasting, putting on zinc paint and primer
Tom and Diane Gouge and Chip Roton after painting the chock with anti-fouling paint…Tom is our First Mate