Posted on November 5, 2023
On October 11th, Rear Admiral (RADM) Charles E. Fosse visited Birdon’s Bellingham, WA facility for a tour of the manufacturing area and a briefing by team leaders on the progress of the 47’ Motor Lifeboat (MLB) Service Life Extension Project (SLEP). RADM Fosse, who recently took command of the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) 13th District, is responsible for the vast majority of the MLBs in service on the West Coast. During his visit, RADM Fosse reported that USCG stations equipped with Birdon MLBs have given positive feedback on the vessel’s quality, capabilities, and performance.
“We were excited to show Admiral Fosse the important work being done at our Bellingham facility,” said MLB West Coast Program Manager Patrick Kinser. “The MLB Service Life Extension Project contributes to our nation’s coastal patrol capabilities, and we’re proud to partner with the Coast Guard to extend the service life of these highly capable vessels for another 20 years.”
As Commander of the 13th Coast Guard District headquartered in Seattle, Washington, RADM Fosse is responsible for all Coast Guard operations in the Pacific Northwest, which encompasses the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana and includes more than 4,400 miles of coastline, 600 miles of inland waterways, and a 125 nautical mile international border with Canada.
The MLBs are an important part of the Coast Guard’s national security strategy. As an all-weather fast response vessel, they are essential to patrolling vast areas of the country’s coastline. These vessels are designed to operate in intense surf, extreme hurricane force weather conditions, and are rollover capable, meaning that they self-right if capsized and can continue operations. Since the contract award in 2019, Birdon has established full-rate production facilities on both the East and West coasts to facilitate the delivery process. Birdon remains on schedule to complete work for up to 117 47’ MLBs by 2029.