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Bremerton company to build 8 boats for Ukraine

The patrol boats can reach speeds beyond 40 knots and have a range in excess of 600 nautical miles.

BREMERTON, Wash. — Bremerton-based SAFE Boats is under contract to send eight boats to Ukraine over the next few years to help strengthen the country's naval capabilities. 

The boat, called the Mark VI, is 85 feet long, can reach speeds beyond 40 knots and has a range in excess of 600 nautical miles.

SAFE Boats received a $100 million contract to build the vessels. 

The company mostly constructs boats designed for patrols and search and rescue, which means speed and maneuverability are vital.

Chris Mogaveor trains SAFE Boats customers on how to operate the boats. Now, due to the contract secured with the US Navy, specialists like Mogaveor will soon be training the Ukrainian Navy.

"Some days I feel guilty about picking up my paycheck, cuz this is so much fun," Mogaveor said. "As long as they do what I teach them, they're gonna get there and back." 

SAFE Boats is currently building a set of military vessels in the Port of Tacoma.

The patrol boats are designed to be flexible and work in a variety of missions, such as escorting and protecting larger ships and deploying special forces teams.

CEO Richard Schwarz says this kind of diversity in performance is vital.

"Operating smaller boats allows a lot of that flexibility, you can operate in coastal waters, in shallow waters where a large vessel can't operate, so it just dramatically expands the envelope of missions," he said.

SAFE Boats has sent vessels to other countries in the past, but when the workers heard about the conflict in Ukraine, workers were excited to help with the war effort.

"Building boats for Ukraine right now is something that the entire team is proud to be doing, an opportunity to contribute in some small way to something that's beyond the walls of our production facility and really doing something that's much bigger than just us," he said.

The company expects to finish building the first two boats this year, along with expanding its workforce to make sure the boats get out as soon as possible.

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