Boat-building company picks Anacortes site

An Australia boat-building company has decided to open a facility in Anacortes rather than in Bellingham.

Last month Aluminum Boats Australia entered into a 30-day due diligence period with the Port of Bellingham to lease a 30,000-square-foot site at the Fairhaven Marine Industrial Park, near the Bellingham Cruise Terminal. According to a press release from the port, Aluminum Boats Australia officials said Bellingham was its first choice, but that the inability to directly launch vessels the size the company builds from that site added “insurmountable costs” to the business. Protection of sensitive salmon habitat and tidelands alongside the industrial park restricts the port from building a launch facility at that site.

The company found a site in Anacortes with direct launch capabilities, but is delaying its expansion until it secures a new business contract.

The company manufactures 80-to-100-foot catamaran-style boats used for tourism and passenger ferries, among other things. It expects to have a work force of 25 people that could be larger if things go well.