“The engines are running awesome. With or without a load, we’re burning three gallons of fuel per hour, cruising at 16–17 mph,” says John Tibbels, owner and captain at Tibbels Fishing Charter Service, a family-owned company started by his grandfather and great uncle in 1921.

Located in Marblehead, Ohio, Tibbels has repowered his custom-built Laux fishing boats, the Miss Jill, built in 1984, and the Harbor Queen II, built in 1982, with single Volvo Penta D6 330-horsepower engines.

“When a rod went through the side of the Harbor Queen II’s engine, it was time for something new since the engine had previously been rebuilt. I did a large part of the fabrication with a welder I know, and Ken Cotte, territory manager, Western Branch Diesel, helped me on the install of the first engine,” says Tibbels. “I was so happy with that one, that I ordered a D6 for the Miss Jill.”

Cotte explains, “John had an older Volvo Penta in one of the boats, which he liked. We discussed the best options and determined the six-liter engine was a good fit. He absolutely loves the fuel economy, they always start, and he’s getting the performance he needs to successfully run his charter business. He can’t believe how quiet they are too.”


CUSTOMER Tibbels Fishing Charter Service
VESSEL Harbor Queen II
LENGTH 40 ft
BEAM 12 ft
DRAFT 5 ft
VESSEL Miss Jill
LENGTH 33 ft
BEAM 11 ft, 6 in
DRAFT 3 ft, 6 in

The efficiency and savings from the engines are helping Tibbels’s bottom line. With around 130 charter trips per season, per boat, the savings are adding up. He also is impressed with the speed and power of the engines, which allow him to get to the fish quickly and get back home.

The Harbor Queen II holds an average of 15 people, while the Miss Jill carries about 12 people per charter. Out on Lake Erie’s western basin his passengers are fishing for walleye and perch. His customers have been happy with the quietness of the engines, which allows them to talk to each other, and there’s no smell or smoke.

Licensed in 1985, Tibbels states his fishing business has been on the upswing and he is running more than he was five years ago. The Harbor Queen II has about 400 hours on its engine, and Miss Jill has around 200.

“We went from manual to electronic shifting with the Volvo Penta engines. The engines have been smooth and responsive,” says Tibbels. “I haven’t needed anything other than routine maintenance—oil and filter changes. I have four big boats in the fleet. I’m considering a Volvo Penta D6 370-horsepower engine for Miss Jackie in 2021, because I need more power than I currently have in the boat.”

The boat operators love the control and power of the engines as well. The Volvo Penta D6s meet U.S. EPA Tier 3 emission standards.


“When I called Western Branch Diesel to check on getting a new engine, Ken Cotte called right back. I told him I needed the engine fast. He told me to relax and that everything would work out. He got me the engine and I was back in the water quickly.”

John Tibbels, Owner, Tibbels Fishing Charter Service