Employees rejoice as MetalCraft Marine celebrates biggest contract yet

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 5:00 PM EDT
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TOWN OF WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - It’s MetalCraft Marine’s biggest contract yet: $31 million to design and build a boat for the U.S. Coast Guard, and employees are rejoicing.

“Oh it’s amazing. It’s good job security. It’s a good group of guys to work for. We all have fun here and we get things done. It’s awesome,” said Braeden Fargo, a welder and fitter with the company.

The manufacturers will be building 17 Long-Range Interceptors III (LRI-III) for the U.S. Coast Guard over the course of about five years.

MetalCraft has experience with the boat’s predecessor, the LRI-II.

“It’s got a cabin on it. It’s water jet propelled. Very high speed very high performance boat,” said General Manager Michael Allen.

Allen said the company’s bid wasn’t the lowest. Instead, it was chosen by the U.S. Coast Guard because of it’s reliability. He said he’s proud of his team.

“We won this contract because of the quality of the boats we’re building today. Having that recognized, everyone is just ecstatic about it,” Allen said.

To meet the contract’s demands, the company will have to expand. That means it’s set to bring on more staff in the coming years.

“Hopefully we can add some more great craftsmen, some great crew to us. It builds like family. Hopefully we can keep going, keep signing contracts and keep expanding,” said Gary Thayer, the Fabrication Supervisor for MetalCraft Marine.

Rob Aiken with Jefferson County Economic Development said the contract is good news for the whole county.

“You may be selling to the federal government but the money stays local. People are able to spend and buy here. Buy homes raise families. There’s no better place to do so than the North Country,” Aiken said.

Over the next few weeks, MetalCraft will work with the contractor to finalize the design of the boat. Production should start within the next six months.