Boats to build
By KAITLIN STROHSCHEIN
Port Orchard Independent Reporter
October 21, 2011 · Updated 3:50 PM
South Kitsap’s economy will get a $7 million per year boost when Northcoast Yachts starts building boats on Port Orchard’s waterfront, says Steve Yadvish, the company’s owner.
“We will announce the exact location when the deal closes, but make no mistake, Northcoast Yachts is committed to moving its operations to Port Orchard,” Yadvish, 55, said at a news conference Wednesday morning on the dock at Yachtfish Marine Inc., a Port Orchard waterfront business he bought in 2009.
South Kitsap’s political leaders played a major role in the decision, he said.
Northcoast Yachts previously manufactured boats — including high-tech maxi boats, high-performance speedboats and megayachts worth $5 to $19 million — on property owned by the Port of Tacoma.
Several bad experiences with the port’s management pushed Yadvish to relocate the facility.
Yadvish worked with state Sen. Derek Kilmer, who is vice president of the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County, to try to stay in Pierce County.
“When it became clear in early 2009 that a suitable location wasn’t going to be found there, he suggested we take a serious look at Port Orchard,” Yadvish said. “He told me the city had just elected an aggressively pro-business mayor who would be willing to work with us, and had changed the city’s business climate into one that is extremely business-friendly.”
Kilmer introduced Yadvish to Mayor Lary Coppola, and the two have worked together since 2009, when Yadvish bought Dockside Sales & Service Marina, which he renamed Yachtfish Marine Inc.
He plans to expand that business to include repairs and service for yachts up to 100 feet long. Over the past two years, Yadvish has worked with Coppola and the city’s staff to “jump through a number of environmental and regulatory hoops,” he said.
He thanked James Weaver, the city’s development director and Mark Dorsey, the city’s public works director and engineer, for their help navigating the city’s planning process.
Dorsey attended the press conference.
“Instead of the typical, ‘why it won’t work’ mentality of most governments, I have really found Port Orchard’s ‘how to we make it happen,’ can-do attitude extremely refreshing,” Yadvish said.
He praised Coppola, saying that his positive experiences with the city contributed very directly to his decision to move a second company to the area.
“If it hadn’t been for his hard work and personal determination to make this a reality, we might have been making this announcement in another city,” Yadvish said.
Coppola also praised the company for the positive impact he says it will have on the local economy.
Yadvish plans to buy materials for his upcoming projects from local businesses and firms as much as possible, then hire crews of 50 people at $20 per hour and up to do the skilled labor — from electrical wiring to painting — for the boats.
“In past years, with more than one yacht under construction, we have employed as many as 125 people,” he said.
Northwest Yachts couldn’t manufacture boats at the Port of Bremerton – like the Port’s anchor tenant Safe Boats International – because, Yadvish said, it would be difficult to drive the luxury megayachts down the highway.
Northwest Yachts recently completed a 125 foot vessel that’s now at a boat show in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The company initially asked $18.9 million for the boat, but has, since, dropped the price to $16 million.