WARREN, RI – Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed visited one of Rhode Island’s storied small shipyards, Blount Boats, Inc., to celebrate a new $937,933 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Small Shipyard Grant Program.  Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, who successfully wrote the law to restore federal funding for the Small Shipyard Grant Program, says this new federal grant is a win for the shipyard, Rhode Island’s marine economy, and the Ocean State’s shipbuilding industrial base.

The nearly $938,000 federal grant will be used by Blount to purchase a versatile new hydraulic lifting unit with a telescopic boom known as a ‘telehandler,’ as well as two new 3-ton overhead cranes, a forklift, and four scissor lifts.  This new equipment will enhance the shipyard’s operations efficiency, service capacity, and improve material handling capabilities.

“Small shipyards like Blount Boats provide a big lift to Rhode Island’s economy and America’s commercial fleet and I’m proud to deliver this federal grant to help Blount Boats make capital investments in new equipment.  Shipbuilding has changed a lot over the years and I am committed to ensuring Rhode Island’s shipyards have the modern equipment, technologies, and workforce they need to compete, thrive, and serve America’s commercial fleet and public safety and military vessels now and in the future.  I restored the Small Shipyard Grant Program and continue delivering annual federal funds for it because it helps our shipyards compete, increases productivity, and expands employment opportunities.  This was a highly competitive grant process and I commend Blount Boats for putting together a successful application.  I know they will put these funds to work increasing production and bringing more shipbuilding jobs and opportunities to Rhode Island for years to come,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee.

Celebrating 73 years in business, Blount Boats is one of few shipyards led by an all-female executive team and is helmed by President and CFO Marcia Blount and Executive Vice President Julie Blount.

“Thank you, Jack! We truly appreciate Senator Reed’s successful effort to restore the Small Shipyard Grant Program. The new equipment awarded on the 2022 MARAD Grant will definitely increase productivity and expand employment as we continue to build the vessels for the offshore wind industry,” states Marcia Blount.

MARAD’s Small Shipyard Grant Program is designed to support small shipyard projects that make capital and related improvements or provide training for workers in shipbuilding, ship repair, and associated industries.

After funding for the Small Shipyard Grant Program lapsed for two years, Senator Reed successfully led the effort to restore funding for the program and restarted it in 2016.  In the most recent omnibus appropriations law, Senator Reed secured $20 million for the Small Shipyard Grant Program.  Blount Boats was one of two dozen shipyards nationwide to receive a share of $19.6 million in discretionary grants from MARAD in this latest round of funding.

Founded in 1949, Blount Boats is a full-service shipyard that designs, constructs, and repairs a variety of vessels, including ferry boats, crew transfer vessels (CTVs), icebreaker/buoy tenders, and tugboats. 

As more offshore wind farms continue to be built in the Atlantic Ocean, Blount Boats has earned accolades for building and repairing vessels used in the offshore wind industry.

Small Shipyard Grants are available to U.S. shipyards with fewer than 1,200 production employees.  Over the years, Rhode Island shipyards have received over $7.3 million in federal grants from this program.  Other small Rhode Island shipbuilding companies that have received federal funds in the past include J. Goodison Company in North Kingstown, Newport Shipyard in Newport, and Senesco Marine in North Kingstown.