Even with last year’s closure of Marco Shipyard Seattle, the shipbuilding industry in the Pacific Northwest is healthy.
The area’s heavy concentration of shops that specialize in aluminum vessels is paying dividends as more and more commercial vessels are being built from this lightweight and versatile material.
The crisis over the use of non-marine quality 5083-H321 alloy turned out to be something of a blessing for many builders. When the aluminum suppliers accepted responsibility for the bad material and agreed to pay for all repairs and replacements, the affected yards ended up with steady work rebuilding dozens of vessels.
Government work, including military as well as state and local agencies, has provided many contracts for small aluminum boatbuilders throughout the area, including Kvichak Marine, Northwind Marine, Safe Boats, Rozema, All American Marine, ACB, Almar, Munson and Workskiff.
Yards like Nichols Brothers and Dakota Creek that build in both steel and aluminum are also busy with newbuilds. Nichols is building a steel ferry for Pierce County and Dakota Creek is finishing a car ferry for Alaska while getting started on a new fireboat for Seattle. — Bruce Buls