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Harbor Offshore Services


In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, an entirely new segment of the construction industry grew up: homeland security. As fear of terrorism grew and the wars in the Middle East expanded, the demand for heightened security skyrocketed.

And while clients clamored for the abstract notions of safety and security, the early efforts to meet these needs were basic enhancements consisting of chain-link fences, security cameras, manned patrols and check points. As time passed, military and nonmilitary security customers alike realized they were dealing with a sophisticated, invisible opponent with increasing potential to do harm.

Harbor Offshore Services, however, not only had a customizable solution used all over the world by the U.S. Navy, but the management team at Harbor Offshore Barriers has more than 200 combined years of marine construction, vessel captaincy and commercial diving experience applicable to the business of waterside security.

Director of Sales Tom Pruitt has 32 years in the shipbuilding business, starting as a welding engineer and gradually assuming production management assignments on a full range of shipbuilding and repair projects. He also worked six years as vice president of manufacturing for a steel fabrication company before assuming commercial waterside security barrier sales at Harbor Offshore Inc.

Although the U.S. government consistently has been the largest customer for Harbor Offshore Barriers, the commercial sector, including non-U.S. military,  has grown steadily, according to Pruitt. Since security at this level remains a relatively new concern to commercial customers, Harbor Offshore Barriers brings full management capability to a project from start to completion, while addressing the complexity of site specifics at worldwide locations.

“The client attention to waterside risk and how to address their risks has evolved considerably during the past eight years,” Pruitt says. “Particularly during the last three years, potential clients have become cognizant of the risk and potential of waterside intrusion, so there is a much more sophisticated sense of what they need to do to manage their waterside risk.”

Harbor Offshore Barriers’ port security barrier systems provide both visible deterrence and true physical resistance to high-energy impact by boats. They are the only systems designed and tested in true deployment conditions against attacking vessels while under full power throughout the impact. Harbor Offshore Barriers systems are designed to absorb both high-energy impacts generated by slow-speed/heavy-tonnage vessels and high-speed/lower-tonnage vessels.

From Turnkey to Partnership

Harbor Offshore Barriers uses its experience to take preliminary client specifications and develop a completely designed and engineered project. The company has never been in the business of fabricating and delivering a system and then concluding the relationship at that point.  All projects are managed to completion to ensure the system does what it was designed to accomplish.

“We realize that we have something special at Harbor Offshore,” Pruitt says. “We have the highest level of experience in our industry and the best product that we take to situations that other boat barrier suppliers cannot. We partner with our clients to give them the highest possible service and most competent boat barrier systems available.”

This partnering “value” approach is more important as the recession tightens its grip on commercial clients worldwide. In the United States, tighter federal security regulations are a significant cost for clients. With this in mind, Pruitt says Harbor Offshore Barriers’ newest role for clients is as a value-engineer.

“If we’re awarded a contract, we will try to engineer out more costs if we can,” he says. “Once we get past the budgetary stage, we continue to find ways to reduce the costs.

“With few competitors in the world, it is important that our clients understand that even fewer can deliver these capabilities – simple steps like value-engineering and long-term partnerships,” Pruitt states, “We are dedicated to giving our client high-end service and a high-performing product. We want our clients to avoid the mistake of accepting an inferior and untested or ill-tested product and underachieving service that ultimately fails.”

Pruitt says clients often tell him Harbor Offshore Barriers is the only company that actually demonstrates a high level of expertise, and has the best product alongside a dedication to reducing costs. “It saves a lot of money [for clients], quite honestly,” he says. “Value and integrity for our clients are fundamental company ideals.”

Looking Ahead

Even though Harbor Offshore Barriers has risen above its competition, Pruitt says the company does not plan to sit still. Instead, it plans to continue what it does best: to partner with clients around the globe to provide the most effective port security barrier systems at the best price.

“We’re going to stay steady and continue to provide the technologies and services that we have been because they work,” he says. “The competition has fallen away, leaving Harbor Offshore Barriers as the go-to boat barrier provider.”

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