Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced today that Front Street Shipyard in Belfast has been awarded $667,028 through the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Small Shipyard Grant Program. This funding will assist Front Street Shipyard in purchasing and installing a new waterjet cutting machine on its premises to construct modern, lightweight carbon fiber ferries.
“A new waterjet cutting machine will help diversify Front Street Shipyard’s services to include a new production line, greatly enhancing its global competitiveness and making the shipyard the only U.S. company with these unique manufacturing capabilities,” said Senator Collins. “By helping Front Street Shipyard purchase this new machine, this investment will help boost Belfast’s local economy and create approximately 40 new jobs at the shipyard.”
“The Small Shipyard Grants award comes at an ideal time for Front Street Shipyard. Our facility expansion is underway and our new 22,500-square foot building will be ready to accept new customers this fall. The waterjet-cutting equipment we’ll purchase with the grant will streamline the custom and production boat building projects we intend to take on with our new facility,” said JB Turner, president and general manager of Front Street Shipyard. “We plan to hire up to 40 additional professionals to operate the new equipment and join our team of shipwrights. We’re grateful to the DOT and thankful for the support of Senators Collins and King who advocated on our behalf.”
Established in 2011, Front Street Shipyard provides marine clients in Maine and beyond with boatbuilding and related services, including new builds, boat refitting, repairs, and maintenance. The yard’s team of more than 100 experienced boat service professionals uses both advanced composite construction and traditional boat building techniques.
The purpose of the MARAD Small Shipyard Grant Program is to foster efficiency; competitive operations; and quality ship construction, repair, and reconfiguration in small shipyards across the United States. It also promotes employee skills and enhanced productivity related to shipbuilding, ship repair, and associated industries.
In May, Senators Collins and Angus King (I-ME) sent a letter to MARAD in support of Front Street Shipyard’s grant application.