BELLINGHAM - A Fairhaven boat manufacturer will receive a nearly $1 million federal grant that could mean expansion and additional jobs.
All American Marine will get $999,100 from the U.S. Maritime Administration's Small Shipyard Grant Program, according to a news release from U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett.
Owner Matt Mullett said the grant will go toward replacing an old crane system as well as add a crane for an expanded facility. The company is currently working with the Port of Bellingham to find a 15,000-square-foot facility close to its current site near the Bellingham Cruise Terminal to build larger vessels. Other equipment will be purchased with the grant, including welding machines.
If the company is successful in finding additional space, it could add another 15 jobs to its workforce, which currently stands at 50.
The additional facility would enable All American Marine to build ferries and other vessels that carry more than 151 passengers. Currently it's a tight fit to build a boat around that size, Mullett said.
The company's current crane system is more than 30 years old, making it difficult to find replacement parts.
The Bellingham facility is busy, having recently finished the 83-foot catamaran Triumphant for Harbor Breeze Cruises of Long Beach, Calif. All American Marine is currently working on two other passenger boats, one that's scheduled to go to Alaska, with the other slated for Niagara Falls.
The Small Shipyard Grant Program has nearly $10 million available for capital and related improvements for qualified shipyard facilities. According to the agency's website, the program's goal is to foster efficient, competitive operations.
Larsen said in the news release that small shipyards in northwest Washington help drive the economy and these grants help keep small shipyards competitive in the international maritime market.