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Bellingham boat builder lands federal grant to better handle bigger vessels

Watch All American Marine launch a 78-foot ferry into Squalicum Harbor

Local boat builder All American Marine launched a 78-foot passenger catamaran into Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Monday, March 4, 2019. The vessel, built for Kitsap Transit, will provide daily ferry service between Bremerton and Seattle.
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Local boat builder All American Marine launched a 78-foot passenger catamaran into Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Monday, March 4, 2019. The vessel, built for Kitsap Transit, will provide daily ferry service between Bremerton and Seattle.

A local boat builder was awarded a federal grant to make some key capital improvements to its facility.

All American Marine won $397,725 through the Small Shipyard Grant program. The program comes from the U.S Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, which announced the award in a news release on Monday, June 17. The agency awarded $19.6 million across the U.S. to support efficiency and competitiveness at local shipyards.

All American Marine plans to use the funding to make improvements to its painting department, allowing them to handle larger vessels while also meeting environmental requirements. That includes building a 40-foot blast booth with a vacuum system to allow for sandblasting and painting of small parts in an efficient, regulated manner, said Matt Mullett, CEO of All American Marine, in an email.

The manufacturer also plans on getting an 80-foot boom-lift and other lifts used for sandblasting and painting.

After building the 128-foot electric hybrid ferry for San Francisco’s Red and White Fleet in 2018, Mullett believes they are well positioned to land other large harbor cruise vessel contracts.

“Many of these operators are currently using 40- to 50-year-old steel boats with dated technology that require significant annual maintenance expenditures,” Mullett said.

All American Marine has steadily launched new ships this year. That will include its third passenger-only ferry for Kitsap Transit that is scheduled to launch next week. It is currently building a 72-foot law enforcement vessel for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and a 72-foot research vessel for Duke University. Next month it is expected to start construction on a 98-foot excursion boat, Mullett said.

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