Friday, December 5, 2014

Willard Marine to Design NOAA Rescue Boats

By Mark Edward Nero

Southern California-based boat design and manufacturing company Willard Marine said in late November that it has been awarded contracts to develop two new sizes of Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Fast Rescue Boats for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

An inboard-powered 5.9-meter SOLAS rescue boat with waterjet propulsion is to be built for the NOAA ship Nancy Foster, and a 5.4-meter outboard-powered SOLAS rescue boat is contracted for the Hi’ialakai in Hawaii.

The SOLAS self-bailing fiberglass-hull RIBs are gel-coated international orange. Willard Marine says it will acquire the necessary U.S. Coast Guard SOLAS certification for both vessels. Both NOAA ships require SOLAS Fast Rescue Boats per the International Maritime Organization’s life-saving appliance code to facilitate NOAA’s research-and-survey missions.

Willard Marine is the only American manufacturer of SOLAS rescue boats, which are rigorously tested by the US Coast Guard and only certified when proven to meet high safety standards, Willard Marine President and CEO Ulrich Gottschling said.

“NOAA expects the very best in vessel safety, durability and performance from Willard Marine, and they can count on our SOLAS rescue boats to help get people to safety when they need it most,” Gottschling said in a statement.

Privately held Willard Marine is based in Anaheim, California and also has a facility in Virginia Beach, Virginia, not far from NOAA’s Washington DC headquarters and from Norfolk, Virginia where the Nancy Foster is based.