Category Archives: Navy & Defense

SAFE Boats lease extension is a done deal


Port of Bremerton commissioners approved lease extensions Tuesday night for SAFE Boats International, the port’s largest industrial tenant.

Though the rough terms of the deal had been hammered out months ago, commissioners were clearly elated to have the agreement formalized. SAFE Boats employs nearly 200 workers in the port’s Olympic View Industrial Park.

“We’re very proud to have a relationship with SAFE Boats, and to have you in our industrial park,” Commissioner Axel Strakeljahn said. “At the end of the day it’s about the people who live in our community and the people who work at safe boats.”

SAFE Boats CEO Dennis Morris (pictured above) thanked the port for crafting lease extensions that meets the company’s changing needs.

safeboats“I think we’ve reached an agreement that will work for all of us,” Morris said.

The extensions lock in SAFE Boats as a tenant through mid 2017. After that, the manufacturer has the option of signing one-year extensions for up to four successive years on any or all of the four properties it leases.

The agreement requires a generous nine-month notice if SAFE Boats decides to not renew a lease.

The variable terms of the lease extensions could help SAFE Boats scale up or down to meet fluctuating demand for its small military and law enforcement boats.

“It does give us that flexibility in this dynamic business environment we find ourselves in,” Morris said.

As I reported last week, the agreement also gives SAFE Boats a steep discount on rent, to the tune of about $200,000 a year, or 41 percent.

SAFE Boats has leased space at the Port of Bremerton since 2000. The company is manufacturing a line of larger patrol boats at a Port of Tacoma facility.

With its main leases in Bremerton expiring at the end of June, SAFE Boats executives had looked for a way of consolidating operations. A search for suitable industrial space in Kitsap didn’t yield a ready solution

The company had the option of relocating its entire operation to the Port of Tacoma, but finally opted to stay in Bremerton.

With SAFE Boats sticking around, the Port of Bremerton’s industrial buildings are are largely full. The port still has a large number of vacant industrial pads it needs to find tenants for.

Commissioners may discuss a plan for creating spec buildings to attract more tenants at their next meeting.

SAFE Boats lease extension documents are embedded below: Continue reading

Navy Federal opens in downtown Bremerton


B7U-aqFCUAACMnIA Navy Federal Credit Union branch opened in downtown Bremerton Monday, after relocating from Auto Center Way.

The new branch is located at 555 Pacific Ave., Ste. 110, in the Sixth and Pacific building.  Navy Federal spokesman Brian Parker said downtown offices provide easier access for members.

693808_6341520_ver1.0_640_480“With the proximity to the shipyard, and the ferry terminal really, its really a key location for our members,” Parker said.

The full-service branch includes an ATM, mortgage services, and a  coin sorting machine. Parker said staff includes 10  full-time and five part-time employees. Navy Federal has about 23,000 members in the Kitsap area.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Navy Federal is the world’s largest credit union, with 259 branches nationwide, including seven in Washington State and two in Kitsap County. The credit union plans to open 20 new branches this year. A Tacoma branch is slated to open this spring, according to a news release.

Navy Federal is open to all Department of Defense and Coast Guard active duty, civilian, and contractor personnel and their families.

The opening of the credit union branch is a positive development for the Sixth and Pacific building, which narrowly avoided a foreclosure sale this winter. Group Health, Edward Jones and Distributed Energy Management also have offices there.

General Dynamics celebrates opening

unnamedPost by Ed Friedrich

Congressman Derek Kilmer, Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder and Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent jokingly jockeyed during General Dynamics’ ribbon-cutting Tuesday evening over who gets to help the new aircraft carrier guys.

“We want to lay out the welcome mat and for you to keep us on your speed dial,” Kilmer said in the renovated second floor of the Dimension 4 building at Fifth and Pacific, soon to be the General Dynamics building when the new sign goes up.

“If there’s anything Congressman Kilmer can’t give you on a local basis, we can,” Lent followed.

Gelder said the county also wants to team with General Dynamics, the Virginia-based outfit that under-bid Vigor for the next five years of non-nuclear maintenance, repair and alterations of aircraft carriers home-ported in and visiting Bremerton and Everett.

The first job will be Everett-based USS Nimitz, which will arrive at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in January for a 16-month maintenance period. The company, which will employ about 200 people here, has put together a “dream team” from Virginia transplants, retired military and PSNS workers, and former Vigor employees, said senior general manager Jeff Brooks, who flew in from Norfolk for the event.

“One of the most important things about being here is how Congressman Kilmer and the community have embraced us,” Brooks said. “People call us by our first names already. We’re partners. We want that partnership to last.”

SAFE Boats delivers first MK VI patrol boat


SAFE Boats International delivered the first of its new MK VI patrol boats to the U.S. Navy in August, according to a Navy wire story.

It’s the first of 10 patrol vessels SAFE Boats is building for the Navy. SAFE is headquartered in Bremerton but building the MK VI series in Tacoma.

The 85-foot boats will be used by the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command for coastal and river operations. The patrol boats can accommodate up to 10 crew members and eight passengers, while motoring at speeds up to 35 knots. 

The first MK VI completed sea trials over the summer and will be deployed in the spring of 2015, according to the Navy. SAFE will continue deliveries through 2018.

The Navy awarded SAFE an initial $30.5 million patrol boat contract in 2012 and an additional contract earlier this year.

 Courtesy image

Is it time to rename SKIA?


The Port of Bremerton needs to recruit manufacturers to the slow-growing South Kitsap Industrial Area.

But most companies outside the region have never heard of Kitsap County, let alone its southern extremities. Given the county’s lack of name recognition, port Commissioner Axel Strakeljahn believes it’s time to rebrand SKIA.

VicinityMap“Where is South Kitsap and what does that mean to you?” Strakeljahn said at a Tuesday night commission meeting. “It has no meaning outside our local area.”

His solution? Give the 3,500-acre industrial area a name that reflects the broader region. “Puget Sound Industrial Center” was one suggestion.

Strakeljahn said he and port CEO Jim Rothlin have informally discussed a potential name change with a number of area leaders, including representatives from Puget Sound Regional Council and Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent. The idea was well received. Continue reading

Kitsap delegation in England for air show


Last year a delegation of Kitsap economic development leaders attended the Paris Air Show. This year, it’s England.

County commissioner Charlotte Garrido, Kitsap Aerospace and Defense Alliance co-chair Tim Thomson and John Powers of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance are at the Farnborough Airshow outside London this week. The trip was organized and funded by KADA.

The Kitsap are meeting with aerospace companies to promote the county’s potential as a manufacturing center. They’re part of a large Washington contingency that includes Gov. Jay Inslee. The air show continues through Saturday.

Pictures from Farnborough are being posted on the KADA Facebook page.

Photo: From left, Tim Thomson, Charlotte Garrido, Gov. Jay Inslee, Trudi Inslee and John Powers. Contributed photo.

Kitsap wages are below state average, above national


Kitsap County workers earned nearly $1.50 less an hour than the average Washington worker in 2013.

blog.workersBut they were $1.26 better off than employees across the U.S.

The county also employed a disproportionately high number of marine architects and engineers.

Those were a few takeaways from fresh local wage data released by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics last week. The detailed numbers, available for perusal online, estimate wages across all industries for May of 2013.

According to BLS, the average hourly wage in Kitsap was $23.59. The national average was $22.33. That’s a 6 percent difference.

The state average was $25.04, buoyed by the whopping $27.46 earned by Seattle/Tacoma/Everett workers.

Here’s a look at how Kitsap wages stacked up across the region (you can wave your clicker over any of these charts to see exact numbers):

Continue reading

Bremerton to host sustainable shipping symposium


Greening up the maritime industry will be the topic of a fall symposium in Bremerton.

The inaugural Blue Green Sustainability Symposium, organized by the American Society of Naval Engineers, is scheduled for Oct. 1-2 at the Kitsap Conference Center.

Here’s the description of the event from the society’s website:

Blue Green 2014 focuses on energy efficiency, reductions in discharges and emissions, and environmental safeguards for port facilities and ships at sea.

Blue Green 2014 will attract prominent guest speakers, panelists, and paper presentations from industry, academia, Navy, Coast Guard, and government officials.

Join us for an extraordinary opportunity to interact with government policy makers, ship operators, repair and maintenance professionals, ship designers, builders, engineers, program managers, life-cycle engineers, suppliers, and other technical experts.

The society is accepting technical paper abstracts through May 8.