Talking Boats with Al Herum

Our sister site Boats.com frequently posts stories that originally appeared in Soundings Magazine. We thought you’d enjoy this profile of Al Herum, who does marine electronics reviews.

Al Herum launched his website Marine Electronics Reviews in 2007. Herum, who is 53 and resides in Tavernier, Fla., uses his 1992 Contender, a 25-foot center console with a 250-hp Suzuki 4-stroke, as a testing platform for VHF radios, GPS/chart plotters, sounders and other marine electronics.

Al Herum, shown here with a permit, learned a lot about fishing and boats as a charter captain.

He has owned or piloted numerous vessels, from RIBs to a 50-foot sport-fisherman. In addition to the Contender, he runs a 1974 20-foot SeaCraft that heand his son restored.

Herum spent 20 years as a pilot for a major U.S. airline and still holds an aircraft mechanic’s license. After moving from Chicago to the Keys in the late 1980s, he ran a 37-foot twin-screw Stapleton express fishing boat for six years, hooking up his clients with dolphin, grouper and sailfish.

Q: What was the first boat you owned?

A: It was a 26-foot Mako with twin inboard gas engines, a tower — a center console fishing boat. I got that when I first moved to Florida in the late ’80s. It had twin Chrysler 318 gas inboards, and it was literally a maintenance nightmare. I will never buy a gas-powered inboard boat again —it’ll be either inboard diesel or outboard. Automotive engines are designed for certain operating levels, and those levels are not the same on a boat. Marine engines are used hard. You can’t coast down a hill in a boat. In the end, I repowered with newer 318s and replaced one transmission.

[My next boat] was just a small skiff with a 30-hp outboard — flat bottom, just a run-around, fool-around boat, a center console. I also had a Hobie Cat sailboat. I had a 19-foot Dusky with a 140-hp carbureted outboard. That is the kind of boat I prefer these days. They don’t require out-of-control maintenance.

Q: You ran charter boats in the Keys for 10 years. Tell me about the primary boat that you utilized for your business.

A: In the early ’90s I bought a big twin-diesel charter boat. It was a 37 Stapleton built in Miami.

Read the rest of this post, Talkin’ Boats with Al Herum.

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