Category Archives: Maritime

Vigor to add new dry dock, capacity.

A large vessel rests in a drydock, awaiting repairsWashington’s maritime sector got a big boost this week as Vigor Industrial agreed to purchase a dry dock from a South Korean company.

The dock, which is 640 feet long and 116 feet wide, will be the company’s largest in Washington State. It allows Vigor to add more boat building and maintenance capacity to its facility on Seattle’s Harbor Island.

The company had been searching for the right fit for several months and the $20 million dock will help the company expand into new markets and handle more customers.

Vigor hopes to transport the dock over the summer and have it operational by late fall.

Read more about the company’ new dry dock in the Business Journal.

Manufacturers have customized training options.

shipbuildingAs technologies change and work forces age manufacturing companies have an ongoing demand for highly trained workers that are up to speed with new skills. Employers in maritime, aerospace, composite materials and advanced manufacturing work in partnership with Washington State’s extensive community college and technical school system to develop customized training programs to meet their workforce needs. Maritime training includes welding, fabrication, marine propulsion and engineering along with on-deck maritime skills. Read more about maritime workforce training in the SeattleTimes.

The maritime industry employs 148,000 and generates about $15.2 billion in revenue. 80% of all luxury yachts are built in Washington State. In the aerospace sector, over 1,350 companies employ 132,500 highly trained workers and more than 1,300 commercial, military aircraft and unmanned aerial systems are produced annually.

The technical and professional skills required to keep these manufacturing sectors on the cutting edge is possible because of their close relationship with Washington’s community and technical college system.

To learn more about maritime, aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors in Washington contact

Protecting our coastlines.

newSafeBoatWith an increasing emphasis on protecting our nation from intruders by land, by air and by sea, a boatbuilder in Bremerton, Washington has the coastlines covered. SAFE Boats is building the next generation of high performance watercraft targeted for law enforcement. Their new Coastal Interceptor Vessel will go into service helping border patrol officers to deal with smuggling and border issues in the high risk areas of our nation’s coastlines.

One of Kitsap Counties larger private employers, SAFE Boats taps into a wealth of boat building expertise and a highly-skilled workforce in the Bremerton area.  A flourishing manufacturing company, SAFE Boats also exports its high-performance vessels to other countries  needing to secure their national coastlines.  Read more in The Seattle Times.

The maritime industry in Washington State employs over 148,000 jobs and generates $15.2 billion in gross business income annually. Boatbuilders in Washington combine the use of next-gen composite materials, advanced technology and cutting edge software and electronics to manufacture the most durable and efficient vessels on the water. From recreational boats and kayak paddles to rugged workboats, high performance military vessels and double deck car ferries, including 80% of all luxury super yachts, are made in Washington State.

To learn more about the maritime industry in Washington State contact



Tugboat design steering in new directions.

TugAura_page_slideshowThe Washington State maritime industry continues to be at the forefront of advanced vessel design. With an eye to increased maneuverability, fuel efficiency and reducing carbon footprint by using fuels other than diesel, companies like Jensen Marine, Foss Maritime, Elliott Bay Design Group and others are re-engineering the tugboat for today’s demands.

Washington State has 11 deep draft ports making it a key global export hub. Container ships, tankers and marine traffic rely on tugboats to move safely within the harbor and our innovative maritime companies are re-thinking the hardworking tugboat.

Read more in the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Boating season sees increase for boat builders.

Luxury yachtsWashington State’s maritime roots stretch back generations and today the maritime industry includes military craft, custom kayaks, luxury yachts, marine design and architecture, shipbuilding and repair and after-market products and services. In fact, 80% of all super yachts built in the U.S. are built right here in Washington.  There are over 1,100 marine related companies in Washington State.

Rebounding from the recession, sales of smaller craft and custom super yachts have increased steadily over the last 3 years. Innovation has been a hallmark of our manufacturing sectors with the marine and aerospace industries collaborating to pioneer the use of composites and advanced manufacturing techniques in the construction of boats and aircraft.

To keep pace with the demand for highly skilled workers, Washington’s community colleges and technical schools are working collaboratively to prepare workers for the expanding future of composites in manufacturing.

Read more about the maritime industry in The Puget Sound Business Journal.

Hydroplanes flying with next-gen composites.

slo mo shunIn the late 1940s the collaboration of an aerospace engineer, a boat builder and an auto dealer resulted in the first hydroplane flying across Lake Washington at speeds of nearly 180 mph. Then in 1950 the Slo-Mo-Shun IV captured the Gold Cup and put Washington State hydroplane racing on the map.

Last year, when the Peters and May racing group of Edmonds, Washington needed to rebuild their race damaged hydroplanes, they turned to the expertise of composite manufacturers right in their home state. Read more about Peters and May in H1 Unlimited.

Washington State advanced manufacturers have pioneered the design and use of composites. Today the collaboration continues between aerospace, maritime and advanced materials technologies which is not only re-defining hydroplane construction but airplane parts, boat hulls and decks, prosthetics and other structures demanding lighter weight, increased flexibility and strength.

Learn more about the history of innovation in Washington State.


Maritime has great depth in Washington State.

ship yard with heavy crane in beautiful twilight of dayWashington State boasts several deep water ports and a rich maritime history of innovation and craftsmanship. Today Washington’s maritime sector ranges from luxury yachts to custom kayaks, from military craft to commercial shipbuilding, and includes marine design, repair and after-market products and services. More than 28,000 skilled tradespeople, marine engineers, craftsmen and shipwrights are employed by the state’s 1,100 maritime-related companies.

Industry stakeholders and government leaders came together in a roundtable discussion to gain a deeper understanding of the maritime industry of today in Washington and assess future needs. Washington State has maintained a leadership position in maritime innovation by the cross-pollination of technology, advanced manufacturing and traditional know-how to consistently deliver next generation watercraft.

Read more about the maritime industry roundtable in The Puget Sound Business Journal.

Study says maritime industry has a $30 billion economic impact in Washington State.

The maritime industry in Washington State generated a total of $30 billion in direct, indirect and induced revenues in 2012 and is responsible for over 148,000 workers according to a comprehensive study commissioned by the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County and the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County with support from the Puget Sound Regional Council. Maritime wages are close to or greater than the state median wage of $51,000, averaging $70,800 per year. The industry, as a whole, paid nearly $4 billion in wages in 2012.Luxury Yachts

Industry wide, revenues have grown 6.4% per year on average with Maritime Logistics and Shipping seeing the highest growth rate at 10.2%. The job outlook for the sector also appears to look good, with ample opportunities for job seekers. Retaining and recruiting skilled employees is a top priority for the cluster.

To download the full study, go to:

Commerce names LoadStar executive Stephen Sewell to lead maritime sector economic development.

Ports veteran brings powerful record of public and private sector accomplishments to new post in state’s Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness

OLYMPIA, WA – Governor Jay Inslee today welcomed Stephen Sewell to the Department of Commerce as economic development director for the state’s maritime industry sector. He introduced Sewell while participating in a roundtable at Crowley Maritime and tour of the Harbor Island Training Center at Vigor Industries late this afternoon, along with Commerce Director Brian Bonlender and other officials.

Sewell is a founding executive and Senior Vice President at LoadStar, a subsidiary of the world’s largest port operator, Hutchison Port Holdings.

“I’m enthusiastic about being in a position to help address some of the big issues facing our state – education, jobs and transportation. Positive change in all of these areas is possible through the growth and health of the maritime industry,” Sewell said.

“Steve Sewell is a dynamic and well-respected leader who has developed strong local, national and international relationships over more than 25 years in the maritime industry. He will be an outstanding asset in our efforts to expand our working waterfront as a job creation engine for Washington’s economy,” Governor Inslee said.

“Washington has one of the most vibrant maritime sectors in the country, producing some of the best family-wage jobs in the region, but its importance to our economy is often overlooked or taken for granted,” Commerce Director Brian Bonlender said. “Modeled after the state’s Office of Aerospace, this position will help drive policies important to the continued growth of the maritime sector.”

Sector-focused economic development is the first pillar of the state’s job creation strategy, Bonlender said.

Sewell’s appointment is part of a plan to recruit leads for as many as eight industry sectors: aerospace, advanced manufacturing, agriculture, clean technology, information and communications technology, life sciences, maritime and military. Commerce is working closely with stakeholder groups in the various industries to recruit leaders with strong private sector experience, but also unique depth working successfully with public sector entities.

Sewell has served in senior leadership roles at the Port of Seattle, including Managing Director of the Seaport Division, Corporate Secretary and General Counsel.


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Study says, Port of Tacoma ready for ultra large ships!

In July, the Port of Tacoma’s Washington United Terminal was host to the largest ship ever to call in Tacoma, the Zim Djibouti, a 1,145-foot-long vessel carrying more than 10,000 container units.

But the port could be seeing even larger vessels calling at its Blair Waterway terminals now that a new study has shown the waterway can safely handle them.45204_10151507377511561_1640801222_n

That $40,000 study paid for by the port and the Puget Sound Pilots organization, set firm conditions for allowing the so-called Ultra Large Container Ships to transit the Blair.

That study was commissioned at the prompting of several containership lines calling at the Washington United Terminal on the port’s Blair Waterway, said Lou Paulsen, director of strategic operations for the port.

Those conditions were determined in simulations at the Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle. Those tests used a model of the Blair Waterway and a model of the M.V. Hamburg Express, a containership some 54 feet longer than the Zim Djibouti with a carrying capacity of more than 3,000 additional 20-foot containers.

The test was conducted under several different scenarios with different load configurations and weather conditions.

The study concluded a vessel the Hamburg Express’ size could safely navigate the Blair if it was accompanied by three tugboats, if it had a working bow thruster and if it was guided by two Puget Sound pilots.

The study suggested that wind, which can affect the vessel’s path, be 20 knots or less.

The report further recommended that the port remove two high spots in the waterway near the navigation channel to give the pilots more flexibility in guiding the big ship.

To learn more go to the News Tribune.