Page 23: of Marine News Magazine (September 2022)

Boatbuilding & Repair

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Shipyards sk anyone working in the shipyard business, we added a fourth leg. Our yacht business is one leg of the and they’ll tell you balancing yacht, commer- stool, commercial is another leg, navy repair is another and cial and government vessel repair work con- new construction is the fourth. It’s really hard to fall over currently is no easy task. Add a bit of new con- when you have four legs.”

A struction to the mix, and you’ve got Marine Group Boat MGBW’s new construction work is primarily for the

Works (MGBW), a Chula Vista, Calif. shipyard that has U.S. Navy, and it is currently building two high-speed pa- seeming mastered the balancing act. trol boats that the U.S. will transfer to Jordan. “We’d like to “There are a few tricks to the trade,” said MGBW presi- have a little bit of new construction going on all the time.” dent Todd Roberts, a Cal Maritime graduate with a U.S. The repair workload is also balanced out by the chang-

Coast Guard license for vessels up to 1,600 tons. “The big- ing of the seasons. MGBW sees a slowdown in yacht work gest thing we do is run an extremely clean, environmental- during the summer months while those vessels are busy ly friendly operation. . . What that means is you don’t have cruising, so it ? lls up with tugs and high-speed ferries be- anything on the ground, you don’t have anything in the air cause their work is not season-dependent. “We try to give and you don’t have anything in the water, and this avoids that feedback to our customers. We let the commercial contamination on the yachts. I don’t want to undersell it customers and the Navy know, to the extent that they can and say it’s good housekeeping, but that’s exactly what it is, control their schedule, they probably will get a better value and in our case, it’s to a pretty meticulous level.” and faster turnaround when you hit us and we’re not our “Now on the ? ip side, when yachts are washing, which busiest time,” Roberts said. “It’s no different than going they do frequently, we ask them to do that during low to a restaurant on a Tuesday night versus a Friday night. wind period so that we don’t have water going all over our You’re just going to wait less for a table, and you’re prob- commercial boats when we’re trying to weld and paint,” ably going to get a better meal.”

Roberts said. “It’s a bit of a ballet managing it, but the key MGBW recently completed a fairly large $4.6 mil- is running a really clean operation. If you can do that, then lion program for Golden Gate Ferry to service and repair you can do both.” four high speed, aluminum passenger ferries: Del Norte,

The other side of the coin, Roberts said, is personnel. Mendocino, Golden Gate and Napa. The work scope in- “It’s just sort of the way we were raised. When we start- cluded everything from routine maintenance, inspection ed the yard, we cross-trained everybody from day one. A and paint, to waterjet replacements and major structural welder was a welder, and you’re a craftsman, and what you repairs that required MGBW to remove a superstructure weld on is irrelevant. And it’s careful oversight by our su- from the hull of one of the ferries. Notably, the project pervisors and our quality assurance folks, to make sure that wrapped up ahead of schedule at a time when many ship- our crew members are abiding by yacht quality standards yards are plagued by supply chain challenges. when they’re on a yacht, which is everything from shoes “Supply chain continues to be a challenge for us all. And and markings and no tool belts, and nothing that could the only thing you can do is work collaboratively with your scratch against something if there’s not proper protection, customer to get the contract awards early and before the to shoe covers.” vessel arrives, and get that material ordered immediately

Over the past three years or so, MGBW’s workload has and on the ground prior to the vessel’s arrival. If you do, been about 60% yachts and the remaining 40% a mix of you can do amazing things for your customer.” commercial and government vessel projects. From both an Roberts said MGBW has taken that approach with operational and business point of view, chasing multiple Golden Gate Ferry, working collaboratively with their markets certainly presents a number of challenges. But on contracting team to change how contracts are awarded. “It the other hand, this model also provides more opportunity used to be that they awarded the contract and you took the as diversi? cation can help a yard stay busy through market boat and did the work. Now we’re working in an environ- dips and cycles. “That’s always been our mantra,” Roberts ment where the contract is awarded, then we receive a no- said. “We call ourselves a three-legged stool, and years ago tice to proceed before we take delivery of the boat, allowing MN 23|

Marine News

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