May 26, 2023 by Dorie Cox
SAFE Boats International (SBI) has transferred 100% of the company’s ownership to its employees. The aluminum watercraft designer and manufacturer build vessels from 21 to more than 100 feet in length.
The SAFE Boats International Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) has acquired the company in a move that began in late 2022. SBI began in 1996; it now has more than 250 employee- owners in two Washington state locations, Bremerton and Tacoma.
“It has always been our dream and our vision to make SAFE Boats International about our team and the community we live in,” said company co-founder Scott Peterson. “Transitioning to a 100% employee-owned company creates the foundation to become a true Northwest legacy. This allows an incredibly talented and dedicated SAFE Boats team to continue supporting the men and women in uniform around the world for generations to come.”
Known for reliable and durable vessels for military, law enforcement, first responder and commercial customers, the company has delivered more than 2,500 boats to customers in more than 70 countries. SBI has been awarded contracts that include 540 boats for the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Response Boat-Small, 58 boats for USCG Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement, 52 boats for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Coastal Interceptor Vessel, and 12 boats for the U.S. Navy and 8 boats for the Ukrainian Navy.
“SAFE Boats’ success reflects the dedication and commitment of its team of talented craftspeople,” CEO Richard Schwarz said. “Employee ownership through an ESOP is the ultimate opportunity for the company’s employee- owners to share in that success.”
An ESOP is an employee retirement plan in which employees own business shares and benefit from the shares’ growth in value. In the United States, 6,500 ESOPs cover nearly 14 million participants, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership