Birdon America, Inc. has named All American Marine, Inc. (AAM), Bellingham, Wash., as the West Coast shipyard for Phase I of the U.S. Coast Guard 47-foot motor lifeboat (MLB) Service Life Extension Program (SLEP).
Last August, Birdon America was awarded the prime contract to perform SLEO work on 107 of the 117 MLBs in the USCG fleet
AAM is currently working on two MLBs at its yard, with a plan to ramp up to eight MLB vessels each year during Phase II.
The current in-service MLBs were designed by the USCG and built from 1997 to 2003.
The 47-foot MLB is the Coast Guard’s primary search-and-rescue platform operating in surf and heavy weather conditions. It has self-righting capability and the ability to operate in winds up to 50 knots, seas up to 30 feet, and surf up to 20 feet.
These boats are now approaching the end of their original 25-year service lives. The goal of the SLEP is to extend their service life for an additional 20 years and retain or exceed their original operational capabilities and characteristics. There are 107 vessels (of 117 total) that are included in the SLEP program.
Birdon America developed and proposed a solution to meet the Coast Guard’s SLEP requirements and included system replacements, performance enhancements in the areas of noise, seating, and reliability and addressed structural issues.
The main work will be on systems experiencing technical obsolescence: the main propulsion, electrical, steering, towing and navigation systems, as well as replacement of areas of the hull and structure that have demonstrated high failure rates. Additionally, efforts to enhance human system integration will be made where practical to do so.
The original operational capabilities and characteristics of the 47-foot MLB will not change.