North Tonawanda shipyard receives $317,641 grant
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced a federal grant totaling $317,641 for Smith Boys Shipyard. The award is funded through the U.S. Department of Transportation Small Shipyard Grant Program. This is the first such grant awarded to a New York operator in the past 10 years.
In a letter supporting the grant, Higgins wrote,” Located at the mouth of the Erie Barge Canal, Smith Boys Shipyard is a valuable resource for the maritime industries in the region that rely on them for repairs and maintenance. In fact, they are the only shipyard in the Eastern Lake Erie region that offers these services year-round. The next closest alternative is a shipyard in Canada.”
Higgins added, “The Lake Erie waterfront is undergoing a major economic revitalization and bringing with it an increase in commercial vessel activity. With the new equipment, Smith Boys Shipyard will be able to accommodate these larger workboats and extend their winter work season.”
The $317,641 grant for Smith Boys Shipyards will assist with the purchase of a vessel transporter and CNC plasma cutter. The vessel transporter will allow transfer of large vessels into the facility's covered building space and facilitate repair work year-round, even in harsh winter climates. The CNC plasma cutter will improve the shipyard's steel fabrication capabilities to accommodate repairs to steel hulls, railings and other features of the larger commercial vessel customers. The shipyard will pay for the remaining 35% of the project's costs.
"As one of the only essential facilities in the region that can offer emergency repairs for commercial and government vessels on the Great Lakes or Erie Canal waterways, Smith Boys Shipyards is pleased to receive this grant," said James Marinello, general manager of Smith Boys Shipyards. "This grant will benefit the entire regional maritime community, and we thank our congressional delegation for their strong support of the project."
In fiscal year 2020, nearly $20 million was made available to small shipyards that serve government and commercial vessel operators, to help them modernize through equipment acquisitions and employee training programs. Small shipyards employ more than 100,000 nationwide and support the movement of people and goods through our ports and waterways.
Smith Boys Shipyards is a vessel repair facility in North Tonawanda that offers year-round haul out, repair and storage services for vessels up to 70 tons. The shipyard began in recent years as an adjunct service offering by longstanding Smith Boys Marine Sales, which has served the region's maritime community since 1937. As the region's commercial vessel sector has grown with the waterfront redevelopment of the City of Buffalo, Smith Boys has improved its capabilities to serve this market. The grant will further increase the facility's service capabilities and grow year-round job opportunities.