The total number of vessels in WorkBoat’s 2016-2017 construction survey, which includes the number of newbuilds under contract, under construction or delivered in the last 12 months, is 510, compared to 515 in last year's survey.
As always the total is a fluid number. Why? Shipyards like Kingston, Ontario, Canada-based MetalCraft Marine
is building everything from boom boats to fireboats, landing craft, patrol boats and more, but list the number of each as "multiple" rather than a specific number.
As they have for the past several surveys, patrol boats led all categories this year with 137 vessels, compared to 101 last year, a sign of the times.
Passenger vessels continue to make gains. The "Dinner, Excursion and Sightseeing" category totaled 31, a big jump from the 19 in 2015. "Ferries and Water Taxis" more than doubled from 14 last year to 30 this year. Again, the strength of these categories is helped by a stronger economy and more discretionary income.
Tug construction remains steady, increasing from 60 to 68. The category that made the biggest jump was "Other," which includes everything from "barges" that carry people along the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas, to skiffs to “multipurpose” vessels. The number last year was 12, compared to 68 this year.
Owners pulled back slightly on "Towboats/Pushboats" partly due to an overhang of equipment, but the category still totaled 48 newbuilds. Last year it was 52. Although almost 50% of the Gulf of Mexico platform supply vessels are cold or warm stacked, there are 31 in this year’s survey, down from 51 last year. There are no Liftboats in this year’s survey.
The past year has been an eventful one for some shipyards. Moose Boats was purchased by Petaluma, Calif.-based Lind Marine in October 2016, but continues to operate as usual at its Vallejo, Calif., location. All American Marine will move into a new 57,000 sq. ft. facility at the port of Bellingham (Wash.) in April.
Geo Shipyard, New Iberia, La., was not as fortunate. The shipyard closed its doors before the end of 2016. "There were just no boats to build," said Geo's David LeCompte. Geo built the 64'9"x21'6" research, training and academic vessel Trident for Texas A&M University at Galveston that was one of WorkBoat's Significant Boats of 2015. "We have the yard up for sale," said LeCompte. "It's a good facility. Somebody will want it."
The rest of the numbers rolled out this way: Pilot Boats, 8; Crew, Crew/Supply, Personnel Launch, 9; Fire/Rescue, 7; Boom/Spill Response, 2; Research Vessels, 8; Other Military, 4; and Non-Self-Propelled Vessels, 59.
This post was originally published on Feb. 9, 2017. It was updated on March 17, 2017 with the completed survey.