Making waves worldwide.

W ith 3,200 miles of shoreline, 50,000 miles of rivers and streams and direct access to the Pacific Ocean, it comes as no surprise that Washington State plays an important role in the maritime industry and international trade.

Washington’s maritime sector encompasses 2,300 companies, employing nearly 69,500 workers. It generates more than $21.4 billion in revenue and $4.7 billion in wages annually. Annual growth rate historically has been 3% to 6%.

The maritime sector is divided into seven main business lines, creating a diverse, yet synergistic ecosystem:

  • Cargo Handling & Logistics: Cargo ship operations, tugs, pilots, terminal operators and other activities at the state’s 75 ports.
  • Fishing & Seafood Processing: Fishing vessels, onshore and offshore processing facilities and fishing fleet operations.
  • Ship and Boat Building, Repair & Maintenance:  Small, medium and large yards serving recreational and commercial markets.
  • Passenger Vessel Operations: Cruise, charter, sightseeing and excursion operations plus the largest ferry system in the United States.
  • Recreational Boating: Marinas, boat sales, maintenance, storage, sports fishing and related activities.
  • Military Support: For U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and NOAA operations.
  • Support Services & Marine Technology: Fueling operations, marine electronics, refrigeration and gear manufacturers, research and development, supplies, naval architects and other professional services.

Of the 117 shipyards in the United States, 26 are located in Washington State. Companies such as All American Marine, Bayview Composites, Dakota Creek Industries, Delta Marine, Foss Marine, Northern Marine, Nichols Brothers Boat Building, SAFE Boats International, Westport Yachts and Vigor International are either headquartered in Washington State or have operations here.

Water runs deep in our veins.

Nearly 700 fishing and seafood processing operations can be found in Washington, which is second only to Alaska in seafood production. The state is also the largest producer of hatchery-reared and farmed shellfish, providing 25% of all domestic production.

The modernization of the fishing fleet offers plenty of potential for growth in the years to come. The state is said to have the highest boat usage per capita in the nation – 250,000 watercraft ply the state’s waters, including state ferries that serve as an aquatic highway system for Puget Sound commuters.

Thanks to the industry’s proximity to other key sectors, new advances in aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, composites, electronics and software are readily shared with the maritime industry so the latest advances can be incorporated into Washington made boats, products and services. A good example of that is the F/V Blue North, built by Dakota Creek Industries. This innovative longline vessel is one of the first fishing vessels in the U.S. to meet Tier III emission standards and allows non-targeted species to be released back into the wild.

The workforce of the future.

Our commitment to our maritime traditions extends into education as well. Public-private partnerships ensure a steady stream of highly educated and trained workers who are not only schooled in marine science, but also in aerospace, software, hardware, electronics and even nanotechnologies. The University of Washington offers coursework through their School of Marine and Environmental Affairs and School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences. There is also Seattle Central College’s Seattle Maritime Academy, the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies/Pacific Maritime Institute. The Northwest Center of Excellence for Marine Manufacturing and Technology and the Materials Science Technology program at Edmonds Community College offer certificate and degree programs, ensuring that Washington’s maritime industry remains strong and rich in know-how and in-demand trade skills.

On the horizon.

Maritime companies interested in doing business in Washington or investing in existing operations can rest assured that the industry offers long-term opportunities.

The maritime sector is focused on these key areas:

  • Setting the course for sustainable maritime industry innovation. The Washington Maritime BLUE 2050 is a strategy to ensure Washington state is home to the most sustainable maritime industry by 2050, aligned with Governor Inslee’s plans for deep de-carbonization, innovation and workforce development. Learn more.
  • Marketing and communicating the importance of the sector to the state’s economy.
  • Promoting policies and actions that sustain the current health of the industry and set a strong base for future growth, including addressing permitting issues that can be a disincentive to investment in marine businesses.
  • Working with industry and existing training and education resources to address gaps in the system and develop a clear career pathway to jobs in the sector.
  • Supporting policies and legislation that promote maritime economic development, such as recapitalization of the North Pacific fishing fleet.

We’re waiting on the line for you.

If you’re in the business of building amazing products or offering cutting edge services to the maritime industry, consider Washington State. We offer visionary businesses a critical mass of companies to partner with, educational partnerships that ensure a continuous stream of highly qualified workers, a marketplace where the best and brightest ideas come from cross-pollination and idea sharing, and a quality of life that is nothing short of paradise, for sailors and landlubbers alike.

Give us a call at (206) 256-6100 or email one of our business experts below to find out more about state’s maritime industry and speak with one of our business experts about the waves of opportunity in Washington.

Joshua Berger, Director of Economic Development for the Maritime Sector – Phone: (206) 256-6104

Evan Wendlandt, Maritime Business Development Manager, Business Development Team – Phone: (206) 256-6142

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