Today, despite an abundance of market challenges and supply chain headaches, many US police and fireboat builders are in possession of the holy grail of shipyards: a healthy backlog.

Dave Hunt, business development and project manager for Silver Ships, based in Theodore, Alabama, said orders for police and fire department vessels are on the rise and are expected to that this trend continues. “Between ships delivered and in production, we have seen a consistent year-on-year increase since 2017; especially the last two years. We expect strong growth in 2022 and beyond.

And it’s a similar story for other shipyards across the United States, from Metal Shark on the Gulf Coast to Moose Boats and North River Boats in the West, each of which has remained active for law enforcement clients and firefighters.

RIBCRAFT USA in Marblehead, Mass. is a specialist builder of 15- to 41-foot rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), and about 30% of its business is building police and fire boats, according to Matthew Velluto, the company’s chief commercial officer. development and marketing.

“We have seen strong demand with good steady growth in the police and fire boat market. Based on our current backlog, we’re looking to be back to where we were in 2021 in 2022 with maybe a bit more growth,” Velluto said. “It’s a market that we hope will continue to grow. Order levels are as good as they have ever been and we are in a good position, both in terms of current order book and demand and interest.

A RIBCRAFT 5.85 (19’4″) for the Mantoloking Police Department for maritime patrol and law enforcement operations in Mantoloking, NJ (Photo: RIBCRAFT USA)

For RIBCRAFT, the main demand drivers are the versatility, ease of use and rapid deployment capabilities of its vessels, Velluto explained. “Many departments and agencies are looking for vessels that provide ease of use, are functional and just allow them to do what they need to do. We’ve seen departments move from bigger boats and back to something that can get out on the water quickly and be easily operated by one or two operators, with the added benefit of lower maintenance and operating costs.

“Vermont State Police use our boats for everything from dive operations and patrol work to border enforcement and special security operations,” Velluto said, alluding to the versatility of the boats. boats. “RIBCRAFT currently builds boats for California Fish and Wildlife to support their patrol operations, whether for stand-alone operations ashore, basic enforcement duties, or for some of their fishing and fishing applications. other applications where the boats are used in tandem with some of their larger patrol craft.

Silver Ships has also been busy, and Hunt said the builder has more than 30 ships in production or delivered for law enforcement and emergency services ranging from local and state to federal in 2021. “Despite supply chain issues, we have managed to maintain a steady pace of production and are constantly looking to optimize our integrated production schedule to account for the uncertainties that have arisen in 2020 and 2021 while continuing to deliver to our customers,” said he declared.

Hunt said it was crucial to meet the specific requirements of each project. “Understanding each client’s unique needs is critical to our process. Law enforcement and first responders are not monolithic, so no one solution will provide a solution for all.

Hunt added that Silver Ships has seen “a noticeable shift” from retrofitting and using fiberglass recreational vessels in law enforcement to acquiring purpose-built aluminum vessels. “Custom aluminum workboats offer departments the ability to have a vessel suited to their operational mission profile and existing TTPs instead of having to adapt their procedures to a vessel that is ultimately designed for the recreational client. .”

Among recent notable deliveries from Silver Ships, League City Fire and Rescue, near Houston, took delivery of an Endeavor 30 multi-mission fire and law enforcement vessel. “The vessel, designed to meet the needs of law enforcement and fire/rescue, was immediately commissioned after rigorous training and was instrumental in providing water to a land-based apparatus in response to a major condominium fire a few months after its commissioning. date,” Hunt said. “Fitted with Suzuki twin propulsion and a Darley LSDE1000 direct mount fire pump, the vessel is both fast and extremely capable of running large amounts of water. The upgraded Raymarine electronics package with both a FLIR and side scan provides essential capabilities during search and rescue missions.