Shipyards are still building boats

A year ago in WorkBoat, Senior Editor Ken Hocke wrote about what some Gulf shipyards were doing to survive the depressed offshore energy market.

What Ken and WorkBoat have consistently found during this and past Gulf of Mexico energy slumps is that yards that have diversified have found a lot of success. As Dr. Lothar Birk, associate professor and chair, school of naval architecture and marine engineering at the University of New Orleans, told Ken for WorkBoat‘s October shipyard report, “The ones that tend to be the strongest are those that are diversified, building not only different types of ships but building for the military and commercial customers.”

One of those Gulf yards is Eastern Shipbuilding, which boasts a diverse orderbook. This includes the recently delivered multipurpose field support vessel Harvey Stone for Harvey Gulf International Marine and Robert Allan-designed Z-Tech tugs for Suderman & Young Towing and Bay-Houston Towing.

You can also include Louisiana yards Gulf Island Shipyards, Swiftships and Metal Shark Aluminum Boats, and Alabama’s Horizon Shipbuilding.

But the workboat industry is much, much more than the offshore energy industry and Gulf yards. Just look at how busy shipyards on the other coasts are. In the East, Chesapeake Shipbuilding recently delivered the 12th  Sassafras-class tug to Baltimore’s Vane Brothers Co., Blount Boats has been staying busy with passenger and wind farm vessels, and Gladding-Hearn has signed another contract to build a new  Chesapeake-class pilot boat.

Out West, Safe Boats International, Vigor Industrial, Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, Diversified Marine, All American Marine, and others are all staying busy. And let’s not forget about the Great Lakes where Great Lakes Shipyard, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and others are also building different types of workboats.

As Ken found in his research, from the coasts to the Great Lakes, shipyards are cranking out workboats in impressive numbers.

About the author

David Krapf

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989. He has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.

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