SAFE Boats Named Manufacturer of the Year, Delivers Purpose-Built Survey Boats

(Left) SAFE Boats CEO Richard Schwarz accepting the AWB Manufacturer of the Year award. Photo: Association of Washington Business. (Right) The autonomous SAFE Porter 78S hydrographic survey vessel ArchieOne. Photo: SAFE Boats International.

Bremerton, Wash.-based SAFE Boats International was recognized as Manufacturer of the Year by the Association of Washington Business at AWB’s annual Evening of Excellence gala at the Tacoma Convention Center on Nov. 17.

AWB bestows this premier award in recognition of a Washington state manufacturer that has “a commitment to business excellence, has found creative solutions to challenges that raise or enhance the industry standard, as well as involvement in state and/or local public policy issues that affect manufacturers,” according to SAFE Boats.

SAFE had several noteworthy achievements over the past year, including receiving the company’s largest single contract award of $119 million to build Mark VI patrol boats for Ukraine, achieving ISO 9001:2015 certification in its Bremerton manufacturing and customer support facilities, and reactivating its Tacoma large craft production facility.

“After enduring a year of significant challenges, the recognition received by our peers in manufacturing is a direct testament to the tenacity and dedication of our SAFE Boats team,” CEO Richard Schwarz said. “This award, while an incredible honor, is the biproduct of what we do every day and I couldn’t be happier being on this amazing team of professionals.”

SAFE Boats said that it is closing out 2022 on positive footing, with a near-record backlog and a strong outlook for the future of the company.

Also in November, the company announced a production partnership with Florida-based autonomous maritime technology provider Mythos AI.

SAFE Boats has delivered a purpose-built Porter 78S workboat to Mythos AI which was showcased at the 2022 International WorkBoat Show, which took place in Nov-30-Dec. 2 in New Orleans.

The aluminum-hull, outboard-driven Porter 78S survey boat, built under an exclusive license agreement with Stormer Work Boats of the Netherlands, is specifically designed for the integration of Mythos AI’s self-driving and autonomous hydrographic survey control system.

Mythos AI’s first autonomous SAFE Porter 78S hydrographic survey vessel, dubbed ArchieOne, is fully equipped and in-service, collecting data and demonstrating its capabilities to hydrographic survey stakeholders in the U.S. southeast.

A second vessel is approaching completion, and future builds are scheduled for 2023 and beyond, according to SAFE Boats.

“SAFE Boats was attracted to Mythos AI’s focused and realistic application of self-driving, autonomous car technology to solve workflow inefficiencies for workboat operators,” Schwartz explained. “Their team has a refreshing approach to addressing this underserved space and has developed exciting capabilities in a short time span. It’s exciting to be a critical partner and witness their technology rollout.”

Mythos AI’s approach applies self-driving, car-derived technology and applies it to the far more manageable maritime environment. ArchieOne, Mythos AI’s initial product offering, is a vertically integrated autonomous hydrographic survey vessel.

Hydrographic surveys require a specialized skill set and the ability to rapidly interpret various environmental details. They are conducted at low speeds where maintaining course and coverage requirements manually is a challenge while executing dynamic routes to avoid obstacles and collisions in congested waterways.

“Mythos AI sought SAFE Boats as its production partner for their proven quality, discipline, and precision in replicating boats for large programs. Mythos AI CEO Geoff Douglass commented about partnering with SAFE Boats.

“Commercial, self-driving robotics and autonomous systems require a level of engineering and manufacturing discipline that is challenging to find in boatbuilding,” he added. “The team at SAFE had this discipline and was from start to finish a great program partner.”

The Porter 78S is an eight meter by three meter (26.25 foot by 9.84 f00t) aluminum workboat powered by dual outboard engines with a large pilothouse and working deck area inclusive of a moonpool for multibeam sonar deployment.

The Porter range of workboats are offered by SAFE Boats in inboard and outboard configurations from 6.5 meters to 12 meters (21.3 feet to 39.37 feet).

“SAFE Boats and the Stormer Porter 78S are the ideal builder and vessel platform for our initial market offering,” Douglass said. “We look forward to continuing the relationship.”