Seattle Dollars: Washington produces 80 percent of the country’s super yachts

As part of our #SeattleDollars series, we’re highlighting surprising stats about our city and state.

Her name is Laurel, and at 240 feet she is one of the largest custom yachts built in the United States since the early part of the last century, according to Seattle-based yacht builder Delta Marine.

About one-fifth of United States’ shipyards are located in Washington state. So it’s not too surprising that our state’s maritime industry generates more than $21.4 billion in gross business income and $4.7 billion in wages annually, according to our state Department of Commerce. What’s more surprising is that 80 percent of the country’s super luxury yachts are built here in Washington. Yes, 80 percent.

Built in 2006, Laurel can accommodate up to 14 owners and guests and 25 crew members. She boasts an outdoor jacuzzi, gorgeous sun decks and even a “verdant herbarium,” where the crew can grow fresh herbs. “This is life at the top, indeed,” reads the Delta Marine brochure.

Delta Marine is a family-owned business with a 25-acre shipyard just between Seattle and SeaTac airport on the Duwamish Waterway. It’s one of the three largest yacht builders in the state. Westport Yachts, with facilities in Westport and Port Angeles, is the largest yacht builder in North America with more than 100 recreational yachts manufactured to date. And Nordlund Boat Company is a company owned by two brothers who’ve been building custom yachts for more than 55 years in Tacoma.

“Yacht” and “superyacht” are words that mean different things to different people, says Peter Schrappen, director of government affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association. “There’s an old joke that you only use the word yacht twice: when you’re trying to sell a boat or go on a date with someone.” At any rate, Peter defines superyachts as any recreational vessels more than 80 feet long. He adds that superyacht owners usually spend 10 percent of the boat’s value on maintenance, fuel, crew salaries, dockage fees, insurance and more.

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By The New Tropic Creative Studio
The WhereBy.Us Creative Studio helps clients big and small engage locals, through campaigns that use creative marketing, storytelling, events, and activations to build community, conversation, and impact.