Nova Scotia-based Rosborough Boats wins $7.3M rescue boat contract

Rosborough Boats of Halifax has been building boats in Nova Scotia since 1955. Now the company has been awarded a contract that will see them build 12 rescue boats for the Royal Canadian Navy.

Canada's new fleet of Arctic offshore patrol vessels will be equipped with the rescue boats

Rosborough Boats of Nova Scotia will build 12 multi-role rescue boats, two for each of the six new Arctic offshore patrol vessels being constructed for the Royal Canadian Navy. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

A Halifax-area boat-building company has been awarded a $7.3-million contract to build rescue boats for Canada's new fleet of Arctic offshore patrol ships. 

Rosborough Boats in Beechville will build 12 multi-role, rigid-hull inflatable boats for the six patrol vessels being constructed at the Irving shipyard in Halifax for the Royal Canadian Navy.

Rosborough Boats was established in 1955 as a family business. The company builds a variety of vessels, from commercial fishing boats to cruising yachts.

The new contract with Irving Shipbuilding Inc., however, will be a first.

"These will be the first boats we'll be building for the navy," said Heaton Rosborough, company president. 

"We've gone through a rigorous testing process with both Irving and the navy and they are very impressed with our product."

Jobs for local companies 

The contract is part of the $1.3 billion Irving is spending on more than 300 Canadian companies as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The interior of one of Rosborough Boats' Rough Water rigid-hull inflatable rescue boats. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

"We have contracts that go from hundreds of millions of dollars down to small numbers," said Kevin McCoy, president of Irving Shipbuilding. "This is a good-sized contract."

The fibreglass hulls of the rescue boats will be built at the A.F. Theriault and Son shipyard in Meteghan, N.S., employing 15 people. 

The rest of the work will be completed at Rosborough's facility on St. Margaret's Bay Road. A news release said the contract will allow Rosborough to keep 12 full-time employees and create two new positions.

Work on the 8.5-metre rescue boats will begin next month and could be completed as early as the middle of next year. The boats will be used for fast rescues, marshalling and towing lifeboats, as well as deploying naval boarding parties.

The first two patrol vessels, meanwhile, are expected to be delivered to the navy next year.