These 11 young companies and startups were selected for the Second Wave of the Maritime Blue Innovation Accelerator and will receive intensive programming over a 4-month period. Startups receive access to Washington Maritime Blue industry and ocean leaders alongside a global network of mentors and advisors. This is a powerful opportunity for local companies to grow and secure funding in a sector where capital is often scarce.

Meet the Founders at the Second Wave Launch Event – January 27th

From digital solutions to large infrastructure – innovation in the Blue Economy will need a diverse and varied financing approach; from public funding to equity stakes. We are seeing investments from Angel groups, Venture Capital, Impact and Corporate investors. There is a need and opportunity for philanthropy, debt financing, and coordination of public dollars to fill gaps and buy-down risk. The blue economy will need to blend financing options, build hybrid stacks of capital, and coordinate across public and private agencies.




Silverback Marine, a full-service contract aluminum boat builder, has moved from Seattle’s Sodo district to rented facilities at the Port of Tacoma.

Silverback specializes in landing crafts, skiffs, offshore boats, barges, dredges and catamaran boats for commercial customers and players in the maritime industry. It also serves government customers and pleasure craft boaters throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Silverback's new manufacturing space is located at the port’s Earley Business Center, a 50-acre maritime industrial park at the former site of Todd-Pacific Shipyards. That's especially meaningful to Silverback CEO Ian Gracey.

“We recently discovered the aircraft carrier USS Block Island was built here during World War II. My grandfather was an officer on that ship in 1945. To be building boats today in these same four walls is really amazing,” Gracey said.

He added that Tacoma is an ideal location for the company's workforce and the maritime industry in the area is attractive for a small boatmaker.

Port of Tacoma Commission President Dick Marzano, a retired dockworker, said he was delighted that Silverback is moving south as one of the public agency's new tenants.

“It is exciting to see boatbuilding activity returning to the Tideflats, and we welcome the new business opportunities and jobs they will bring to the Port and Pierce County,” Marzano said in a news release.

Silverback was recently awarded a contract for the Port of Lopez Island to build an all-electric pumpout vessel, which the port said will operate in and around Fisherman Bay. The boat will be paid for by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Port of Lopez Island said on its website.

“Startups and emerging small businesses play a key role in our economic development efforts,” City of Tacoma Community and Economic Development Director Jeff Robinson said, who added he looks forward to working with the boatmaker as they grow their company there.

Silverback was also picked in December to take part in the Maritime Blue Innovation Accelerator, an effort by the state and the state and Port of Seattle to boost the region's so-called blue economy.