No one wants to turn away business. But, that’s what Newport Shipyard had to do last year. According to general manager Eli Dana, it was due to being at full capacity at times, and not having big-enough berths at other times. Starting in June, that situation is about to change. The Rhode Island-based facility got the green light for expansion.
Final approval for the additional space came from the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council in late March. The agency regulates the development and preservation of coastal areas of the state, among other functions.
Specifically, Newport Shipyard will add 560 feet (approximately 171 meters) of dock space to its current footprint. Right now, the marina and repair yard has 2,833 feet (about 863 meters) of dock space. In addition, the existing footprint makes it challenging to accommodate multiple megayachts exceeding 120 feet (37 meters) simultaneously.
The expansion will let it handle extra, and significantly larger, yachts. As Dana explains, “Yachts are becoming increasingly larger in size, and it is our desire to keep them returning to Newport.” The visitors come both during the popular summer season, and the offseasons, “when they are seeking major refit and repair work,” he adds. The firm has 75 full-time employees in summertime and a further 225 subcontractors all year long. “Their business not only benefits Newport Shipyard, but also the city of Newport and our surrounding communities,” Dana points out.
Piling installation should start in early June. That’s when Newport Shipyard expects delivery of the new docks. Once everything is in place, four berths will join the north side of the facility’s longest dock, nicknamed “Charlie Dock.” Meanwhile, on the southern end of Charlie Dock, four current docks will extend farther out.
Newport Shipyard has three TraveLifts capable of lifting 100-, 200-, and 500-ton vessels.