Thankfully, Marad is putting up millions of dollars again this year to help small shipyards make improvements that will help bring in new business. A total of $9.8 million in federal funding is in the bank to support this year’s program to fund capital improvements and employee training at small U.S. shipyards.
While shipyards are happy to have the money available, the $9.8 million is only about 1/10 of what was funded back in 2009 — a total of 70 grants worth $98 million. However, it’s twice as much as the $4.9 million that was available last year, divided up among nine boatbuilders across the U.S.
Marad’s Small Shipyard Grant Program was born as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Shipyards that benefitted from last year’s program are Gravois Aluminum Boats/Metal Shark, Jeanerette, La.; Chesapeake Shipbuilding, Salisbury, Md.; Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Panama City, Fla., Marine Group Boat Works, Chula Vista, Calif.; Diversified Marine, Portland, Ore.; Conrad Orange Shipyard, Orange, Texas; Yank Marine, Dorchester, N.J.; Yager Marine, Owensboro, Ky.; and American Shipyard Co., Newport, R.I.
What makes for an eligible applicant? “The shipyard facility for which a grant is sought must be in a single geographical location, located in or near a maritime community, and may not have more than 1,200 production employees. The applicant must be the operating company of the shipyard facility. The shipyard facility must construct, repair, or reconfigure vessels 40 feet in length or greater for commercial or government use, or construct, repair, or reconfigure vessels 100 feet in length or greater for non-commercial vessels,” according to Marad’s web site.
Each grant pays a total of 75% of the costs associated with the shipyard’s upgrade, with the shipyard responsible for the other 25%.
The grants, provided through the Small Shipyard Grant Program, help eligible shipyards modernize operations, improve efficiency and reap the benefits of increased productivity by investing in emerging technologies and a highly skilled workforce.
Even though most U.S. shipyards are located in coastal areas, the economic ripple effects of U.S. shipyards reach all 50 states, according to government officials. In 2013, U.S. shipbuilders directly employed 110,000 workers and produced $37.3 billion in gross domestic product.
Applications for the grants are due by 5 p.m. EST on July 5, 2017. Marad intends to award grants no later than Sept. 5, 2017. Additional information is available on line or by contacting David M. Heller, director, Office of Shipyards and Marine Engineering, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. 20590.
Eligible projects under the program include capital and related improvement projects that foster efficiency, competitive operations, and quality ship construction, repair, and reconfiguration. In addition, training projects that foster employee skills and enhance productivity will also be considered.
Get those applications in and good luck…