Burger Boat signs deal to build 78-foot research vessel

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The U.S. Geological Survey awarded a contract for the construction of a large research vessel for lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior to Burger Boat Co. of Manitowoc, Wis.

The vessel, which will replace the agency’s 38-year-old Grayling, is expected to be a commercial-grade, 78-foot boat and will be designed and constructed for a 40- to 50-year service life. The boat will be used for scientific and mission-related tasks, including dragging nets along the lake bottom, catching fish and using sound waves to detect fish and assess their abundance.

"The entire Burger team is very excited to be awarded this significant contract," Burger Boat president and CEO Jim Ruffolo said in a statement. "The Grayling will further reinforce Burger’s commitment to designing and constructing quality vessels that meet each owner’s specific requirements, whether they are custom yachts or commercial vessels."

JMS Naval Architects of Mystic, Conn., developed the preliminary design of the new Grayling.

This contract will create additional skilled shipbuilding jobs at the Manitowoc shipyard and the project will help support numerous companies that supply raw materials and equipment for the project, according to the Geological Survey.

The new Grayling will be stationed at the USGS base in Cheboygan, Mich., and will incorporate modern marine standards and state-of-the-art technology to more safely and effectively conduct fisheries research.

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