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Birdon Announces Master Boat Builders Will Build WCC Superstructure

Posted on September 4, 2023

Birdon America, Inc. announced that Master Boat Builders, Inc. of Coden, Alabama, will build the superstructure for the Waterways Commerce Cutter (WCC) Program, a vital component of Birdon’s $1.187 billion contract to design and build 27 new vessels for the U.S. Coast Guard.

With this contract award, Birdon continues demonstrating its commitment to careful selection of strong U.S. suppliers with proven track records to deliver on significant programs for the U.S. Government. Master Boat will perform the work under a firm-fixed price (FFP), indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) subcontract.

Established in 1979, Master Boat Builders is an internationally recognized vessel and workboat manufacturer. Over the past 45 years, the company has built and delivered over 450 vessels to customers all over the world, including tugboats, offshore supply vessels, fishing vessels, and dive support vessels. The shipyard manufactures boats for major corporations, maritime industry operators, fishing businesses, and individuals with a focus on quality, reliability, utilization, safety, and cost-effectiveness.

Garrett Rice, President of Master Boat Builders, Inc., said, “We are excited to announce our partnership with Birdon America and honored to be part of the WCC program team. This is an important opportunity for our employees as it will create new sustainable jobs and additional shipbuilding capability and capacity in Coden, AL. We are proud to play a key role in delivering the highest quality cutters to the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Robert Scott, President of Birdon America, Inc., said, “For the Waterways Commerce Cutter Program, as with all of our programs, Birdon’s approach is simple: find the best partner with the best solution for the customer. Garrett and the entire Master Boat Builders team are focused on expanding the nation’s shipbuilding capacity and creating purposeful jobs, and we are thrilled to have them on the team.”

Birdon previously announced the first major tranche of WCC subcontract awards, as well as completion of the WCC Program Management Review (PMR).

About the WCC program:

The WCC contract is comprised of two separate but related vessel designs: the River Buoy Tender (WLR) and the Inland Construction Tender (WLIC). Both variants are complex, modern, and designed to military standards. The new cutter design will provide up to 11 days sustainment for up to 19 crew members. The 27 vessels will be constructed within a 10-year period commencing with an 18-month design finalization period.

The WCC cutters are essential to maintain and protect the United States’ intra-coastal and inland Marine Transportation System. This System spreads over 12,000 miles of commercially active inland waterways through which 630 million tons of cargo moves annually, accounting for more than $5.4 trillion annually and 30.7 million jobs for the U.S. economy. To support the safe and efficient flow of economic activity along these U.S. rivers, lakes, intercoastal waterways and harbors, WCCs establish and maintain over 28,200 inland Aids to Navigation (ATON). Additional missions include search and rescue (SAR), marine safety, marine environmental protection, ports, waterways, and coastal security (PWCS).

Many of the current WCC vessels are over 70 years old. The vessels do not meet current readiness and technology standards and are increasingly expensive to maintain. This leads to operational delays, crew safety concerns, and does not allow the assignment of mixed gender crews.

About Birdon America Inc.:

Birdon has extensive experience in the engagement and successful execution of major U.S. Government programs. The company has a strong track record of delivering the required outcomes for our clients through an unwavering focus on designing fully compliant, operationally superior vessels that meet the needs of our customers now and into the future. In particular, Birdon has established a successful track record with the U.S. Coast Guard during the last three years through its existing contract for the 47’ Motor Lifeboat Service Life Extension Program.

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