SAFE Boats scores big federal grant
There’s more icing on the cake for Bremerton/Tacoma-based SAFE Boats International. The aluminum boat manufacturer and a leading supplier to military, federal, state and local law enforcement is one of only two Washington State shipyards to receive this year’s MARAD (Maritime Administration) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The award of $716,983 means SAFE Boats is on track to re-open its large-craft facility in the Tacoma Tideflats this fall. The funds will go toward acquisition of a travel lift, welding machines, forklifts and other material-handling equipment, and the addition of 50 maritime workers. Upon being fully staffed by the end of 2022, the company will employ 75 FTEs at the site.
In January 2021, SAFE Boats was awarded a $20 million contract for the U.S. Navy to build Mark VI patrol boats for the government of Ukraine. The company is on schedule to construct and deliver the first two boats in December 2022.
It takes a village
As part of the MARAD grant application process, letters of support were submitted by the EDB and other community partners, including Port of Tacoma, Impact Washington, City of Tacoma, Pierce County, workforce connections and other resources. Those partners helped SAFE Boats smooth the way for the Mark VI award and launch Tacoma operations.