North Carolina-based Custom Steel Boats signed an approximately $1.5 million contract with the Savannah, Ga.-based Chatham Area Transit Authority to build a 67-foot, S-Class 149-passenger ferry.
"The timing couldn't be better for us," Teresa Flowers, vice president of Custom Steel Boats, of Merritt, told the Sun Journal newspaper. "We were scared to lose the talent that we did have, so we knew we needed to get them back to work as soon as possible."
Flowers said the contract enabled the company to rehire five of its workers and hire two others. The company also will eventually bring back 25 to 30 of its subcontractors, she said.
The 29-year-old family-owned company historically has been on the pleasure boat side of the industry, Flowers said. But she said that more commercial boatbuilding work was being done because of the sluggish economy, the newspaper reported.
The boat is scheduled for completion in September 2011.