North America


There was a permanent shadow trailing Tom Farrell on the docks where his lobster boat was harbored, nestled alongside the Southern New Jersey coast. Behind him was a young boy, yearning to follow in his father’s footsteps and anxious to master the passion of the man he admired most.

Lobstering Legacy
PC: Brian Robbins of Commercial Fisheries News

“If he backed up, he would probably step on me,” reminisced the now grown son John Farrell who today carries the spirit of his father – and the lessons he taught him – each time he takes to the helm of his own lobster boat. The wisdom has also served as a guiding force from the mound to management during his lifelong career in Major League Baseball (MLB). 

Parallels in Preparation

John’s love of the water developed around the time he was in fourth grade; aligning with the same timeframe his father finally allowed him to lend a supportive hand in the family’s commercial lobster business. His first experience was stringing and badging claws but most of the knowledge gleaned came from watching his father – both on and off-season.

“Building traps is a time consuming task and that’s how my father spent the winter, preparing for the upcoming season,” John said.

There’s a noticeable parallel in the preparation that blends together John’s two seemingly different worlds.

“Whether its commercial fishing or baseball, in any occupation with a seasonal component, you may not get rewarded monetarily in the offseason but you’re putting into place what it takes to succeed in the upcoming season,” noted John. “That idea is where the work ethic was installed – you put the work in now to reap the rewards later.”

From the Mound to Management

This principle laid the groundwork for John’s MLB career which spanned the roles of pitcher, coach, manager and most recently director of player development for the Cincinnati Reds. He considers himself extremely fortunate for the opportunity to pursue two lifelong passions without the need to compromise one for the other.

“Fortunately, I could throw a baseball and went that route in life, but the vision of getting back to the water was always in the back of my mind. There were a lot of quiet moments spent thinking this through. My current role with the Cincinnati Reds allows for a balance and the combination of baseball and lobster fishing.”

An Investment a Lifetime in the Making

John spends as much time on the water as he can these days, averaging at least 15 times a month.

His 46' Mussel Ridge, aptly named Seaweed after his father’s nickname on the docks, is powered by a Volvo Penta D13. Significant research and deliberation went into the propulsion package decision.

Volvo PentaPC: Brian Robbins of Commercial Fisheries News
Volvo PentaPC: Brian Robbins of Commercial Fisheries News

“With an investment of this size, it’s not something you want to wing. When it came down to selecting a motor, a comparison was done between Volvo Penta and all of its competitors by creating a matrix. I knew the horsepower range, weight and size and what I wanted to achieve,” said John. “What jumped off the page to me was torque because torque turns into fuel efficiency and power. Volvo Penta was hands down the choice.”

The stringent selection criteria and careful process paid off with John noting he could not be more pleased with the efficiency, low fuel consumption and the way the boat runs with the Volvo Penta engine.

“It’s surprising that a 46-foot boat can cruise at 17-18 knots, burning 20 gallons an hour. The overall efficiency is extremely impressive.” 

He also mentioned the quietness of the engine which is particularly important during his favorite time on the water – sunrise. “There’s a general calming and peacefulness to being on the water at that time. I really relish in those moments.”

John’s satisfaction with Volvo Penta extends beyond the engine solution itself, noting that the service and support offered through Volvo Penta Power Center Power Products has been fantastic.

From sunrise to sunset, Volvo Penta is propelling John’s lifelong ambition of following in his father’s footsteps as a commercial lobsterman. “Being on the water brings me back to my childhood,” he said.

We’re honored to be right there with you, John.

Advantages of the D13-400

Reliable and high performance engines are needed for the demand of marine commercial operations. This high performance diesel engine offers the key benefits of low fuel consumption, emission levels and noise levels when running. It injects fuel for high pressure and performance, and has easily accessible service points. All of Volvo Penta's marine engines are designed with a unique torque so top speed can be reached with lower fuel consumption levels, load-carrying capability and the ability to maintain a high cruise speed – regardless of the condition at sea.

Another key advantage of this high performance diesel engine is the lowered total cost of ownership. The D13 is known for their robust cast iron cylinder block and head so the engines can work high on uptime, delivering the diesel fuel efficiency and power for workboats of all kinds.