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MN100: R.W. Fernstrum & Company

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

September 3, 2019

  • R.W. Fernstrum CEO & President Sean Fernstrum
  • R.W. Fernstrum CEO & President Sean Fernstrum R.W. Fernstrum CEO & President Sean Fernstrum

The 2019 version of the MarineNews MN100 edition - our annual look at the very best individuals and firms in the shallow draft, brown water and workboat sectors - has come and gone. Anchoring that prestigious list, as always, is R.W. Fernstrum & Company. That's no surprise to MarineNews readers.

R.W. Fernstrum & Company set the standard in marine heat exchangers over 70 years ago, building a reputation focused on innovation. Today, its commitment is to continual improvement, ensuring customers have quality, reliability, and the latest in cooling technologies. Fernstrum’s product offerings have grown through strategic partnerships to meet the growing demands of the marine market. Over the years, Fernstrum has grown into a worldwide organization with dozens of representatives across six continents. Focusing exclusively on marine cooling, this family-owned business has built a respected reputation throughout the industry for exceptional quality and service. In a nutshell, R.W. Fernstrum & Company is the global leader specializing in the engineering, manufacturing, and supplying of keel coolers.

The firm came to fruition in 1945 when Robert W. Fernstrum patented the first rectangular tube keel cooler for the United States Army and Navy. During World War II, the U.S. Navy encountered engine cooling problems with their landing craft and required a new closed circuit cooling system. After intense research, Mr. Fernstrum developed the basic keel cooler design that is still used today. The GRIDCOOLER Keel Cooler has evolved over the years into a line of keel coolers that offers nearly limitless variations to fit a particular application. Each solution is engineered to meet the requirements of the engine, vessel, and operating conditions. Active in all sectors of the workboat and brown water sectors, Fernstrum is also active in wind and tidal energy projects. Notably, R.W. Fernstrum & Company received ISO 9001:2015 certification in May (2018).
On the MarineNews MN100 top company list for six consecutive years, no other firm perhaps has as much respect in the world of workboats. They do one thing and they do it well. R.W. Fernstrum is the global leader in engineering and manufacturing of marine heat exchangers. With 70 years and four generations of experience in the marine industry, this firm has continued to play a role in applications that are getting attention across the industry. Fernstrum creates the product line others try to copy, and they continue to innovate today through product evolution and partnerships with other companies.

Recent deliveries for the firm include outfitting a towboat for Waterfront Services; 6 towboats with Master Marine, and contracts that include a tug with VT Halter for Q-LNG; 12 tugboats with C & C Marine; 4 tugs for Foss Maritime with Nichols Brothers Boat Builders with options for 6 more. In fact, with the advent of the USCG subchapter M towboat rules, the firm is busier than ever, servicing an important market sector that finds itself under increasingly tough regulatory scrutiny. Through it all, R.W. Fernstrum is there.

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