Elliott Bay Design Group was established in 1988, when three partners purchased the assets of Nickum and Spaulding Associates, Inc. (N&SA), a Seattle naval architecture firm with a sixty-year history of quality marine design.

N&SA Principal Phil Spaulding built an outstanding reputation for ferry and tug design.  While N&SA Principal George Nickum, was an expert on ferry vessels and acknowledged for his work on ship stability, supporting the US Coast Guard in several international rule-making efforts during the 1960s and 70s.  Together they provided detailed engineering support to numerous shipyards in the US and Canada.  N&SA designed passenger vessels for Washington State Ferries (WSF), the states of Alaska and Hawaii, and British Columbia, Canada.  These designs included the eight original vessels in the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) fleet, eleven of the vessels in the WSF fleet, and five of the vessels in the BC Ferries fleet.  Their tug designs include a number of vessels for Crowley, such as the JUPTER, DARING, and INVADER classes, and vessels for Saudi Aramco and Wilmington Transportation.

Besides tugs and ferries, N&SA designed a 460-ton newsprint carrier, a 650′ Oil, Bulk, Ore (OBO) carrier, a 215′ research vessel (MILLER FREEMAN), a 650′ class of gas turbine powered tankers, and a 448′ dynamic positioning drill ship (GLOMAR 40).  Added to this diversity were yachts, barges, hydroplanes, fishing boats and cruise ships.

After EBDG purchased N&SA’s assets, Phil continued to provide support and advice.  His last major project was to support the design of the Jumbo Mark II ferries for WSF.

Throughout our history, EBDG has built upon our design archive and expanded our service offerings.  In 2006, we opened an office in New Orleans to better serve our Gulf Coast clients.  Seven years later, in 2013, we expanded north to Ketchikan to meet growing demand in the region.  Most recently, in 2019, we opened an office in New York to strengthen client access and relationship management on the East Coast.

“While EBDG was built on the legacy of Nickum and Spaulding Associates, we established our own brand identity. From the outset, we chose a name that would reflect the firm’s overall approach to design, while paying homage to its origins. The founding partners opted for a name we felt would encompass what the new group was about. The combination of a marine locale (Elliott Bay) with our passion (Design) and our collective approach (Group) made sense.”
~ John Waterhouse, Principal in Charge
In 2018, we celebrated our 30th anniversary – read more here!