Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Westport Shipyard Sold

By Mark Edward Nero

Westport Shipyard, the largest yacht builder in North America, said June 6 that the company’s assets have been acquired by Westport, LLC, an ownership group that includes members of the Louisiana-based Chouest family.

Westport Shipyard, which was founded in 1964 and is now celebrating 50 years in business, maintains three locations in Washington state, as well as a marina and sales office in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The company, which employs more than 400 workers, has completed more than 120 yachts since 2000. And one of those customers was Gary Chouest, a member of the new ownership group.

“Gary has always been passionate about our industry, and we are honored to count him as a customer, and now our majority owner, as well,” Daryl Wakefield, Westport’s president, said. Wakefield is expected to remain in his current role with the company, along with General Manager Dave Hagiwara, and the rest of Westport’s management team and employees.

The Chouest family of companies includes substantial holdings in its primary business in the oil and gas marine transportation industry globally, but also includes the Stuart, Florida-based American Custom Yachts (ACY).

“The Westport family is excited about joining forces with the Chouest family,” Wakefield said.
Since 1994, ACY has maintained a 63-acre facility accommodating the design and construction of custom sportsfishermen, as well as other affiliated companies.

Similar to the history of the Chouest family business, Westport began five decades ago with a fishing fleet, and has diversified into many other core businesses. Also similar to the Chouest business model, Westport maintains its own in-house vessel design and development team.

“We are pleased to join the Westport family, and look forward to pursuing the synergies that exist between the Chouest companies, ACY, and Westport,” Gary Chouset said. “We will continue to pursue the employment of skilled local workers, and will remain an active participant in the communities Westport serves.”