US superyacht builder Westport Shipyard under new majority ownership
by Risa Merl
US superyacht builder Westport has been acquired by Westport, LLC, an ownership group that includes members of Louisiana's Chouest family.
The Washington-based builder celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2014. The builder has three locations in Washington state and a marina and sales office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The builder is renown for its composite built, semi-custom superyachts. Gary Chouest is an owner of one of the larger yachts in Westport's lineup.
'Gary has always been passionate about our industry, and we are honored to count him as a customer, and now our majority owner, as well,' says Westport’s President Daryl Wakefield. He will remain in his post, alongside General Manager Dave Hagiwara and Westport's senior management team and employees. Westport employees more than 400 employees.
The Chouest family primarily has holdings in the oil and gas marine transportation industry. They also own custom sportfish yacht builder American Custom Yachts, based in Stuart, Florida.
The mood at Westport post-acquisition is upbeat, and the investment influx should bring new visions from the shipyard. Ron Nugent in the Florida office confirms this notion and hints at exciting new action coming from Westport, which has its own in-house vessel design and development team. 'We are always tweaking our products,' Nugent adds, in reference to Westport's commitment to updating its popular models. 'You will be hearing a lot more from us.'