All American Marine has landed another large contract as the company gets closer to moving into its new waterfront facility.
The Bellingham boat builder announced a deal to build a 600-passenger, hybrid electric vessel for Red and White Fleet of San Francisco. The deal was signed during a recent Passenger Vessel Association Convention in Seattle. The contract is valued at nearly $7 million.
The vessel is expected to be completed by late spring 2018. This follows a September announcement inking a deal with Argosy Cruises of Seattle to build a 500-passenger tour boat. That project is expected to be completed this fall.
The 600-passenger vessel, which will be named Enhydra, is a milestone contract for the company in several ways. It will be the first vessel with the hybrid propulsion system built by the company, which includes lithium-ion batteries. According to All American Marine, it will be the largest lithium-ion hybrid vessel built in the U.S.
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All American Marine partnered with BAE Systems to design and integrate this hybrid system, which will provide a silent and emission-free operation during evening sunset cruises. Once it is ready, the boat will give tours of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
“We see the propulsion configuration on the Enhydra as phase one in our move toward the full electrification of our fleet,” said Joe Burgard, vice president of operations for the Red and White Fleet. “We are very pleased with the team All American Marine has put together to deliver this unique vessel.”
The project also gives All American Marine the chance to be on the forefront of this technology, said Matt Mullett, CEO of the Bellingham company. Right now the batteries are the biggest limiting factor, but the technology is improving to the point that significant growth is expected in the hybrid vessel market.
“The Teslas of the seas aren’t far off,” Mullett said.
Mullett said both the Enhydra and Argosy contracts wouldn’t be possible in the company’s current Fairhaven manufacturing plant. The company is getting ready to move into its larger 57,000-square-foot facility on Hilton Avenue.
The stormy winter weather has slowed down the construction of the building, which is about three months behind schedule. All American Marine is expected to be in the building in late March, Mullett said.
All American Marine employs around 45 people and is planning to hire more as it moves into its new facility. Last fall Mullett said he expected to add about 25 employees in the next several years.