Hull Design Efficiency Challenge finalists announced

News release

Challenge aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce operating costs for fishing boat owners

February 4, 2020 – Moncton, NB – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Sometimes, a nudge or an incentive can drive a whole industry to think outside the box and deliver ground-breaking solutions to longstanding challenges. That was the goal when the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) launched its Hull Design Efficiency Challenge.

The Hull Challenge called for Atlantic region boat builders and designers to develop fuel efficient boat hull designs that will help lower operating costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The challenge surpassed expectations by attracting 19 applications.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, revealed the three finalists that were selected to move on to the final stage:

-       Allswater, Halifax, NS and St. John’s NL
-       TriNav Marine Design Inc., St. John’s NL
-       Wedgeport Boats Ltd., Lower Wedgeport, NS

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) will build and test scale models of each design at its world class Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering (OCRE) Research Centre in St. John’s, NL. The finalists will also submit commercialization plans to identify future business opportunities for their design. The top-ranking design will receive a non-repayable contribution of $500,000. The winner will be expected to continue basic research and development to move their design towards pilot and pre-commercialization phases.

Advancements in clean technology mean more and better-paying jobs, an improved environment and quality of life, and are drivers of a strong middle class and prosperity for all Canadians.


“The potential in the world for hulls with low fuel consumption that reduce operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions is huge. We’ve got the backs of boat builders and designers as we help them seize opportunities, create good jobs here in Atlantic Canada and grow the economy.”
-           The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

“Supporting innovation is a critical part of making Canada a world leader in boatbuilding and design, and creating middle-class jobs that have a real economic impact in Atlantic Canada. As the Minister responsible for Impact Canada, the Hull Design Efficiency Challenge is an excellent example of how we are changing our approach to real-life challenges and solutions so we can deliver meaningful results to Canadians.”
-           The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada

“The National Research Council of Canada is proud to work with ACOA and Impact Canada to fuel innovation in boat design and construction while advancing the adoption of clean technologies through the Hull Design Efficiency Challenge. We are happy to lend our technical support, resources, and expertise to test the hull designs in our world-class facilities in St. John’s. I look forward to seeing the innovative technologies on display.”
-       Iain Stewart, President of the National Research Council of Canada

“It is my pleasure to be involved in the ACOA Hull Design Efficiency Challenge. It has demonstrated what we’ve known all along – that there’s a desire and capability to build better fishing boats that can help improve the environment and reduce operating costs. It’s a win-win initiative.”
-       Henry Demone, Chair of the ACOA Hull Design Efficiency Challenge selection jury

“The ACOA Hull Design Efficiency Challenge provides our team with an opportunity to showcase their creative abilities and is also a catalyst which will help drive energy efficiency in the local marine industry. We are proud and excited for being selected as a finalist!”
-       Rob Crutcher, President, Allswater

“Our Hull Design Efficiency Challenge submission was a real team effort and to be named a finalist in this competition provides another layer of recognition for our staff  who have been producing world-class, state-of-the-art fishing vessel designs and marine technical services for almost three decades. It is another example of the high quality of work being produced right here in Atlantic Canada. I would also like to congratulate the other finalists and all Challenge participants. Collectively, we are all helping to promote the vessel design industry in Atlantic Canada on the world stage.”
-     Rick Young, Director, TriNav Group of Companies

“I am both excited and thankful that Wedgeport Boats Ltd. has been selected as a finalist in the Hull Design Efficiency Challenge. This announcement brings us that much closer to the possibility of introducing a new, more efficient product to the industry while creating jobs and growth. I would also like to congratulate the other finalists and wish them well going forward.”
-     Fraser Challoner, Wedgeport Boats Ltd.

Quick facts

  • The fisheries industry in Atlantic Canada is valued at more than $3 billion and sustains thousands of jobs in rural and coastal areas of the region.

  • The market potential for a more fuel efficient boat hull is huge – in Atlantic Canada alone, there are nearly 14,000 fishing boats under 45 feet currently licensed.

  • A challenge-prize is an open innovation approach designed to provide incentives (both financial and non-financial) to encourage a broad set of innovators to tackle problems where solutions are not apparent. Challenge prizes can employ a series of stages to move innovators through to the ultimate goal of solving a given problem.

  • The finalists were chosen by a public/private selection jury based on the results of computer simulations of eight semi-finalist designs that were also carried out by the NRC.

  • The National Research Council of Canada’s Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering Research Centre in St. John’s, NL, is providing the technical evaluation and advice for this challenge.

  • Funding for the Grand Prize winner will be provided through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program.

  • This challenge prize is hosted by Impact Canada, a whole-of-government effort that helps departments accelerate the adoption of outcomes-based approaches to deliver meaningful results to Canadians.

  • ACOA has been working with Impact Canada to create and deliver the Hull Design Efficiency Challenge to incent advancements in the boat building and design industry. The challenge prize format was chosen because it removes financial risk and rewards success through various stages until a clear best-of-class solution emerges.

Related products


Jeremy Ghio
Director of Communications
Cabinet of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Ronald Levesque
Senior Communications Officer
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Media Relations
National Research Council of Canada

Page details

Date modified: