Sea Ray abandons plan to join jetboat market

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Sea Ray decided not to enter the jetboat market because of the “unacceptable quality, reliability and durability of the propulsion systems” in prototype boats.

“The primary and by far most significant reason Sea Ray decided not to enter the jetboat market was the reason given in the written statement — the unacceptable quality, reliability and durability of the propulsion systems in our prototype boats,” marketing vice president Matt Guilford told Trade Only Today.

The company did not mention its supplier by name, but has said in the past that German engineering company Weber Motors would provide the jet propulsion for the endeavor first announced in 2012. Weber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Guilford said other reasons, such as BRP’s decision to sell its jet propulsion systems to at least two boatbuilders after exiting the boatbuilding business itself, were secondary considerations at best.

“Obviously the landscape changed significantly” since Sea Ray made its decision to enter the segment, Guilford said. “When we started the project we knew BRP was leaving the industry and at the time had made its jetboat business for sale, so that part of the landscape changed. That played a role, but that certainly wasn’t the only reason. We said as clearly and as well as we could what the major component was in the release we put out.”

Guilford said the endeavor wasn’t a complete wash because while Sea Ray was doing market research for the project the builder gained insights into consumer tastes and preferences in the 25-foot-and-under recreational day boat segment — an area the company has said it plans to aggressively pursue in both the sterndrive and outboard configurations.

“For Sea Ray, there were enormous insights we got into consumer tastes and preferences in the recreational day boat segment, and that helped our understanding of what consumers are looking for in the 25-foot-and-under category,” Guilford said.

“Even though we are not pursuing the jetboat business I think the insights we got are going to increase our competitiveness in that category. It wasn’t a waste,” he said. “As we got to the end of this thing we were able to say, ‘That’s not the right path for us,’ but it has illuminated other market opportunities. We’re not coming out with jetboats, but we are laser-focused on delivering highly competitive sportboats.”

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— Reagan Haynes


5 comments on “Sea Ray abandons plan to join jetboat market

  1. Chris Foster

    As I said when Sea Ray made their decision to enter the jet boat market;
    What do they think they know about the jet boat business that BRP doesn’t?
    Turns out not much!

  2. Mel

    If the SeaRayder was enough of a warning.. then the Bayliner Jazz should have sealed that coffin for BBG along time ago.

  3. Grandman

    It was a bad decision from the get-go, and the only ones who thought it was good was the Brunswick Boat Group. Everyone else in the industry were shaking their heads. First of all, it was slap in the face to the Mercury/Mercruiser team to select another supplier for the propulsion system. Secondly, they are better positioned to exploit the models which can and should use the in-house engines ( Mercury Mercruiser)

    The Boat Group, and Sea Ray management over the years have tried to influence the industry with “their” ideas and management styles. They have not been the leaders as were the leaders of the past. Competitors with effective and new products have dominated the growth. The people with knowledge, passion and experience have been pushed aside throughout the industry. The companies who continue to believe in trust and support lead the way going forward.

  4. Moose

    Very sad for SeaRay that they have to abandon the Jet Boat market project due to a poor powerpack selection. As mentioned, the 25ft jetboat market is definitely the market to go for at the moment and the big winners should be Chaparral & Glastron/Scarab who have decided to go with a known & proven powerpack selecting BRP as their supplier.

    Very ironic that SeaRay came out loud in January saying they were going to be the 1st 4-Stars JetBoat in the industry, when we all know that BRP was officially the 1st one to receive the jetdrive OBD-M 4-Stars certificate from EPA & CARB, and that’s back in 2011.

  5. Bob "Chey" Ciafre

    I sold Sea Rays from 1985-2008 and the Sea Rayder was a blow to what Sea Rays were all about!

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