HOW WATTS MARINE BECAME WORLD EXPERTS IN SHORE POWER FOR CRUISE SHIPS
The genesis of Watts Marine was an unexpected meeting between Mike Watts, a Division manager at Cochran, a large electrical contractor based in Seattle, and a team from Princess Cruise Line at Seattle’s Terminal 30 in 2004. Princess was looking for a partner to build a shore power system in Seattle and reached out to Mike who had done work with them in the past.
The team quizzed him about shore power and high voltage solutions and asked if he could build them a solution. Based on his deep experience with commercial high voltage projects, Mike said he could.
“I was a bit taken aback when the Princess team asked me to accompany them to a meeting with Seattle City Light right then and there,” he said. Needless to say, Mike attended the meeting which turned out to be the beginning of Cochran’s shore power division which Mike bought from the company in 2021 and renamed Watts Marine.
It started from there. Mike and his team found partners to build the equipment and completed the design, engineering, manufacturing, installation and commissioning for that first project in under six months. The city facilitated the process.
Mike and his team went on to install their shore power solution in San Diego, San Francisco, Halifax, Vancouver, Brooklyn and Long Beach. With each new project, the team’s knowledge and expertise grew deeper and the technology solution more robust.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought change to many businesses including Cochran. Based on the complete shut down of the cruise industry, the company was looking to divest itself of its Marine Division and approached Mike with the opportunity to purchase it. “It had always been completely separate from the rest of Cochran, so this was a no-brainer for me,” Mike said. “So I spoke to Brenda and we decided to buy it together with her running the business and financial aspects of the company, allowing me to focus on new business and the customer relations that we are known for.”
Today, as the cruise industry returns to full operation, the team at Watts Marine is excited to continue to bring innovations to support operations and continue to reduce environmental impact.
WATTS MARINE TIMELINE
Mike Watts joins Cochran as a project manager for commercial projects
Seattle (Princess Cruises)
Seattle (Holland America Line)
Cochran sets up Cochran Marine as separate entity and Mike as VP
Two locations at Port Metro Vancouver, BC
Port of San Diego, CA and Port of San Francisco, CA
Port of Long Beach, CA
Brooklyn, NY and Port of Halifax
Brenda and Mike Watts purchase Cochran Marine with Brenda as 51% owner and rename it Watts Marine.
The 10th system was installed at the Port of San Diego along with the company's new Mobile Cable Positioning Device. This is the second system installed which allows the Port to support two ships at a time.