Several workboat sectors are sluggish, most notably the U.S. Gulf and now the inland waterways. But there’s been one workboat sector that has seen a big growth spurt after 9/11 and continues to grow — patrol boats.
These boats have continued to be built at a steady pace and have been a thriving industry for boatbuilders.
That was evident at June’s Multi-Agency Craft Conference held at the U.S. Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore. MACC is where builders go to try and satisfy the demands of their customers, made up of the Coast Guard and Navy, as well as state and municipal law enforcement agencies. Associate Editor Kirk Moore attended MACC and reports in WorkBoat’s August cover story due out later this month that the Coast Guard and the Navy, the industry’s major customers, were looking for faster boats with longer ranges and with improved crew endurance at sea.
The two military branches were also pushing builders to help them continue their push toward standardization through fewer boat classes. To accomplish that, the Coast Guard wants to reduce its dependency on special-purpose boats.
At MACC, two boats that took center stage were from Brunswick Commercial and Government Products (BCGP) and SAFE Boats International. BCGP’s 1100 Impact is a new entry in the long-range interceptor market. BCGP said it has 30 of them going to the Middle East under the government’s Foreign Military Sales program, designed for offshore intercept.
At MACC, the company’s demonstration boat was equipped with a trio of Mercury Marine Verado 350 hp outboards, with a cruise speed of 38 knots at 4,000 rpm and a top speed of 65 knots. With a 300-gal. tank, the range is 300 nautical miles.
SAFE introduced its new 35’×10′ multimission interceptor (MMI) at MACC. The MMI, with a trio of 350-hp Mercury outboards, can hit speeds over 55 knots and is capable of high-speed transits in open ocean waters. The MMI is the next model in SAFE’s line of interceptors. The company said that its customers were looking for a smaller interceptor, and one that is flexible and can handle several different missions.
It looks like SAFE, BCGP and other builders are providing customers with what they need and demand.