MARAD, the maritime administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation, has awarded a $667,028 grant to Front Street Shipyard of Belfast, Maine, as part of its 2018 Small Shipyard Grants program.
Front Street intends to use the money to purchase a Flow Mach 700 waterjet cutting machine, according to a company statement. Capable of cutting nearly any material, including stainless steel and titanium, the Flow Mach 700 will machine large parts, such as wooden frames for recreational boat molds and carbon fiber panels for commercial ferry construction.
Shipwrights will be able to cut parts directly from electronic data drawn by engineers, reducing production time while improving quality and accuracy,
according to the shipyard.
“With a machine of this size and capability we hope to attract diverse projects, including non-marine applications,” JB Turner, president of Front Street Shipyard, said in a statement announcing the grant.
Maine’s U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, chairwoman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, said “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 shipyard expects to begin installation and operation of the waterjet cutting machine early this winter. It will be installed in the new building currently under construction on a lot adjacent to the current yard. The 22,500-square-foot building will accommodate large yacht refits and commercial vessel construction projects. Construction is expected to open this fall.
“This grant will have a meaningful impact on our business, our employees and our community,” Turner stated. “We’re grateful to the DOT and thankful for the support of senators Collins and Angus King, who advocated on our behalf.”
Front Street Shipyard is a boatbuilding, yacht refit and service facility with hauling capacity for vessels up to 485 tons. The yard provides dockage, repairs and storage for recreational and commercial vessels up to 200 feet. The shipyard is accepting job applications for its new facility.