News Releases


Thank you, Scott. This is a great day for the security of our country and for the strength of our workers.

Today we're celebrating the single largest purchase of identical response boats ever made by the Coast Guard – $145 million for 700 boats over the next seven years! I’m here today to congratulate all of you – the men and women who build the boats that keep our country safe. I know you put your heart and your soul into every boat, and it makes a difference.

Your boats are like nothing else in the Coast Guard's inventor: they’re highly maneuverable, they have state-of-the-art navigation systems,they can reach speeds of more than 40 knots, and they are easy to move – by plane or trailer – to any port that is threatened. I’m proud that these remarkable boats are built right here in Washington State. I know this growing industry is supporting jobs and the local economy here in Port Orchard and the Kitsap Peninsula.

In the Senate, I serve on the Transportation and the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittees. In that role, I help write the budgets for the Transportation Department, the FAA and the Department of Homeland Security, including the Coast Guard, Border Patrol and Secret Service. I’ve used my position to make sure that our Coast Guard has the funding and resources it needs to protect us – and to fulfill all of its missions. I helped provide the funding and direction to have these SAFE Boats built for -- and placed in – the Coast Guard’s service.

In 2001, the President proposed just two Coast Guard SWAT teams – known as Maritime Safety and Security Teams – to protect all of America’s ports. I insisted that we double the number of these elite response teams, and I insisted that we permanently station one in Seattle to protect the Puget Sound. Last summer, that Unit – number 9-11-01 in honor of September 11th – was commissioned in Seattle – as the first team of its kind in the nation.

And I didn’t stop there. Last year, I was the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee when the Coast Guard awarded the $20 million, sole source contact to SAFE Boats International. Since September 11th, I’ve been working to make sure we have the resources to meet the needs facing our country.

In the nearly two years since that tragedy, the Coast Guard has increased its role in maintaining port security, including boarding and inspecting incoming commercial ships, and maintaining protective perimeters around port facilities. This contract for 700 SAFE Boats represents another unequivocal endorsement of your company's unique capability to manufacture a fast, safe, versatile boat that has an enormous number of Homeland Security applications. I want to make sure that the men and women of our Coast Guard have the tools they need to complete every mission effectively -- and this new boat will help.

Here in Washington state we have many waterfront military facilities that could be targets for terrorists. This fast, versatile, safe boat can help us protect our defense installations and the public. I believe these boats will not only become the standard for the Coast Guard, but for all of our Homeland Security and law-enforcement agencies.

In fact, because the Coast Guard was so impressed with your work, the Border Patrol recently tested a SAFE Boat in Bellingham. If they follow the Coast Guard’s lead, I’ll take great pride in using my Homeland Security position to help them buy as many SAFE Boats as they need.

At a time when our economy is struggling and manufacturing jobs are declining, I will continue to do everything I can to keep the jobs we have and to attract new ones. In the short term, this contract will bring needed construction jobs to the region – giving our local economy a much-needed shot in the arm. It is providing good family-wage jobs and increased business for Port Orchard and the entire Kitsap Peninsula. In the long term, it will be an important addition to our homeland security plan – providing a critical asset to help keep our communities safe and secure, and, I'm proud to be your partner in this effort.

So thank you again for building a craft that will help our security, our safety, and our economy. You make the boats that make America safe, and I’m proud to be your champion in the United States Senate.