BELLINGHAM - Boat builder All American Marine unveiled its latest vessel on Bellingham Bay on Friday, June 14, providing a sign that the private sector boat tour industry is starting to bounce back.
The 83-foot catamaran Triumphant did a brief trial run on the bay for Dan Salas, CEO of Harbor Breeze Cruises.
Harbor Breeze Cruises operates in Long Beach, Calif. The name Triumphant has a special significance for Salas, who said it was a big risk but also a big opportunity for his company.
"The name represents the hard work to get here," Salas said. "We started thinking about this vessel when the economy was terrible. But at some point you can't be sitting on the fence anymore. Now we're here and it looks like the economy is coming back."
All American Marine is working with more private sector businesses to build boats, a sign that confidence about the economy is growing, said Matt Mullett, owner of the Bellingham company.
"There's a pent-up demand for boats," said Mullett, noting that the company worked on more public sector projects as the private sector waited for the economy to get back on track. "The last three or four boats we've done were for private companies."
The Triumphant kept about 50 All American Marine employees busy for about seven months, as 24,000 man-hours went into the project. The 150-passenger vessel will be used for whale-watching as well as a variety of other events, including dinner tours and cruises around Long Beach. It has stadium-style seating and a variety of other features, including a dance area.
Salas said he chose this hull design because it allows the boat to sit higher in the water, making it more fuel efficient and a smoother ride.
The plan is to finish some minor details on the Triumphant before sailing down to Long Beach on June 29.
As for All American Marine, it is currently working on two other passenger boats, one that's scheduled to go to Alaska, while the other is slated for Niagara Falls.