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Bremerton, WA – SAFE Boats International, LLC (SBI) – a leading designer and manufacturer of aluminum watercraft ranging in size from 21 to more than 100 feet – has completed a transaction that transfers 100% of the company’s ownership to its employees. The SAFE Boats International Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) has acquired the company, completing the final milestone in a journey that started in late 2022. 

SAFE Boats has experienced dramatic growth since its beginning in 1996 and now has more than 250 employee-owners in two locations.  The company has been honored with several significant contract awards, including the USCG Response Boat-Small (540 boats), USCG Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement (58 boats), US Customs and Border Protection Coastal Interceptor Vessel (52 boats), and the flagship USN MK VI Patrol Boat (12 boats for the US Navy and 8 boats for the Ukrainian Navy). Each of these major contracts – combined with a loyal domestic customer base of more than 160 state and local agencies and international customers in 70 countries – has established the company as a leading and trusted designer and manufacturer of high-performance aluminum watercraft.

“It has always been our dream and our vision to make SAFE Boats International about our team and the community we live in,” remarked 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.”

Richard Schwarz, CEO, said, “SAFE Boats’ success reflects the dedication and commitment of its team of talented craftspeople. Employee ownership through an ESOP is the ultimate opportunity for the company’s employee-owners to share in that success.  In the end, it is our team that makes our company what it is, and it is only appropriate that they benefit from the results of their contributions.”


According to the National Center for Employee Ownership, there are approximately 6,500 ESOPs in the United States, covering almost 14 million participants. 

An ESOP is an employee retirement plan that allows employees to own shares in the business and benefit from the shares’ growth in value over time.