Kvichak Merges with Vigor Industrial

from “Rovings,” Professional BoatBuilder No. 156
Compiled by Dan Spurr

KvichakCourtesy Kvichak Marine Industries

Kvichak Marine recently delivered a pair of 36.6′ (11.2m) crew/pilot boats, Lelu and Kitson, to West Coast Launch Ltd for service along the British Columbia, Canada, coast, including charters for First Nations Villages, whale watching, and grizzly bear tours.

Vigor Industrial, a major builder of ships and repairer of commercial vessels in the Pacific Northwest, and Kvichak Marine Industries, the Seattle-based fabricator of aluminum workboats featured throughout PBB’s publishing history (see “Kvichak,” PBB No. 96; and “Virtual-Reality Welder Training,” PBB No. 133, page 14), announced last March that the two companies were merging “to unite their strengths in the design and fabrication of aluminum workboats, shipbuilding, and boatbuilding,” adding that the combined company will “play a dominant role in recapitalization of North Pacific fishing fleet and emerging Arctic oil and gas operations.”

Regarding Kvichak founders/owners Jim Meckley, Brian Thomas, and Keith Whittemore, Kvichak marketing manager Carol Reid told PBB, “Brian is now president of Vigor Kvichak LLC and running the Ballard-Kent-Cutting facilities, Keith is the executive vice president of Vigor’s New Business Development Group, and Jim is vice president and master builder of Vigor Fab. Dave Weed [formerly vice president for product development] left Kvichak years ago and is consulting as an engineer. The sales, marketing, and estimating department is moving to the Harbor Island facility next month. The rest of the Kvichak employees stay where they are.”

A press release added this information: “This transaction builds on the 2014 Vigor and Oregon Iron Works (OIW) merger, which expanded Vigor’s reach into highly complex industrial products in marine, renewable energy, aerospace, nuclear containment, transit, defense, hydroelectric, bridge building, and other commercial construction industries. Adding Kvichak to the Vigor family of companies adds to Vigor’s product line diversification and its mission to build and sustain family-wage industrial jobs.”

Vigor Industrial’s website showcases an impressive series of recent builds: Tokitae, a 144-car passenger ferry for the Washington State Ferries, and Global Pilot, a double-hulled barge with 15,000 bbl [630,000 gal/2.4 million l] fuel capacity; and extensive facilities at eight locations including a 960 (293m) dry dock in Portland, Oregon.

Kvichak recently announced winning a long-sought contract from the San Francisco, California Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) for construction of two 400-passenger ferries. Incat Crowther, headquartered in Australia, with an office in Lafayette, Louisiana, is the designer of the 135 x 38 (41m x 11.6m) catamarans. Power: 1950-hp (1462-kW) MTU 12V400 M64+ Tier III engines with ZF7600 reduction gears, plus after-treatment exhaust systems. Nichols Brothers of Freeland, Washington, was subcontracted to build the bolt-on superstructure, as it did for four 118 (36m) Kvichak-constructed ferries in service on San Francisco Bay for WETA.

Kvichak was recently awarded a contract to build a 60 (18m) catamaran research vessel for the California Department of Water Resources. Its mission: “monitoring water quality, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and benthic macroinvertebrates in the San Francisco Bay Estuary, San Pablo Bay Estuary,” as well as inshore on the nearby ocean.

In our 2005 report on Kvichak, smaller boats were then its mainstay, notably the 41 (12.5m) Response Boat-Medium, and a variety of oil-spill-containment vessels, and pilot boats.

Kvichak Marine Industries, 469 NW Bowdoin Place, Seattle, WA 98107 USA, tel. 206–545–8485, fax 206–545–3504, website www.kvichak.com.

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