‘We are pleased to join the Westport family,’ says principal of new owning family
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A new 164-foot Westport yacht sits in the slings of a TraveLift outside the company’s factory in Port Angeles in 2012. Westport Shipyard has been sold to a Louisiana-based company. —Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

ABERDEEN — Westport Shipyard Inc., one of the state’s largest luxury yacht builders with factories in Port Angeles, Westport and Hoquiam, has been purchased by a Louisiana investor.

The details of the deal were not released, but a statement from the company said Westport will continue to build yachts in Port Angeles and the Grays Harbor County cities of Westport and Hoquiam.

Westport’s assets have been acquired by Westport LLC, an ownership group that includes members of the Louisiana-based Chouest family, the company announced in the statement.

The statement said Westport will retain its current president, Daryl Wakefield; general manager Dave Hagiwara; and “the rest of Westport’s management team and employees.”

“We will continue to pursue the employment of skilled local workers and will remain an active participant in the communities Westport serves,” Gary Chouest, principal of the Chouest family, said in the statement.

“We are pleased to join the Westport family and look forward to pursuing the synergies that exist between the Chouest companies, ACY and Westport,” he said.

ACY is American Custom Yachts, a yacht builder in Stuart, Fla.

Westport Shipyard Inc. was renamed Westport LLC as a division of Edison Chouest LLC of Cut Off, La.

“Gary [Chouest] has always been passionate about our industry, and we are honored to count him as a customer and now our majority owner as well,” Wakefield said.

Westport produces composite-construction yachts of 85, 98, 112, 130 and 164 feet.

The longest come out of its 100,000-square-foot, 72-foot-tall plant at 637 Marine Drive in Port Angeles.

A 164-foot Westport manufactured in Port Angeles in 2010 was offered Saturday by a Florida broker for $33.75 million, according the broker’s website.

Westport, founded in 1964, employs about 400 people at its three sites in Washington and has completed more than 120 yachts since 2000, according to the company statement.

Last July, Westport announced layoffs at its plants in Port Angeles, Westport and Hoquiam because of a lack of work.

A company representative then would not comment to the Peninsula Daily News on how many employees were laid off and how many remained in Port Angeles.

The Chouest family of companies includes large holdings in its primary business in the oil and gas marine transportation industry worldwide, according to the company statement.

One of these holdings, Edison Chouest Offshore, operates a marine transportation fleet of more than 200 vessels, ranging from 87 feet to 360 feet long, according to the company’s website at www.chouest.com.

These vessels are built to support the deepwater oil drilling industry.

Edison Chouest Offshore operates shipyards in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Brazil, according to the company website.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 07. 2014 6:27PM
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