WASHINGTON — “Bath built is best built” is one of the most recognized slogans in shipbuilding. Dating as far back as the 19th century, it harkens to the days when dozens of shipbuilders dotted the Maine coast.
In the 20th century the term came to apply more directly to Bath Iron Works (BIW), builders of hundreds of destroyer-type ships for the US Navy. The slogan continues in wide use, by the Navy and by Bath and its corporate parent, General Dynamics.
The shipbuilder has enjoyed a stellar reputation, particularly over the last decade — a time when its chief rival in building Navy surface ships, Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, suffered through mismanagement, natural disasters and a host of issues, often earning the public ire of the Navy. Those problems led to a widespread reputation making the gulf coast shipbuilder the Navy’s chief shipbuilding problem child, while Bath was the yard with the highest dependability.
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