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ACQUISITIONS

Huntington “Hunt” James has purchased a controlling interest in McKee Craft Boats and is now its president and CEO. James is a former minority owner of the company.

No purchase price was disclosed.

“I look forward to continuing the great tradition of unsinkable boat construction that has led over 30,000 recreational, government and commercial boat buyers to choose McKee Craft over the last 40-plus years,” James said in a statement.

No layoffs are planned at the Fairmont, N.C.-based boat maker as a result of the ownership change, said spokesman Todd Sanders.

“If anything, there will be new hires,” he told Soundings Trade Only.

James has served in numerous roles at Raymond James & Associates, which was founded by and run by his family. James initiated the firm’s purchase of the naming rights to Raymond James Stadium, home of the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He also is co-founder of Digital Hands, a provider of managed information technology services.

James holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

MANUFACTURERS
Lopolight, a Danish manufacturer of LED navigation lights, has received type acceptance for the company’s complete line by the U.S. National Marine Manufacturers Association.

The company says it holds type approval for all sizes and all types of vessels around the world for its LED navigation lights.

The NMMA requires test reports from component manufacturers to assist certified boat and yacht manufacturers in using equipment that meets the applicable American Boat and Yacht Council standards and U.S. Coast Guard regulations.

The approved product listing of navigational lights, fuel tanks, fuel hoses, bilge pumps, bilge blowers, steering helms, steering wheels and horns is published for the mandatory use of all certified boat companies when specifying equipment in each of their models.

Annual type accepted costs are $200 for NMMA members, $500 for non-members. This covers all type-accepted components produced by the manufacturer.

Regulator Marine has become the industry’s first boatbuilder to have 100 percent of its dealer network pass the NMMA Dealer Certification program.

Based in Edenton, N.C., Regulator manufactures 23- to 32-foot offshore sport fishing boats. Regulator has 16 dealerships, some of which have multiple locations.

Regulator assisted its dealers throughout the certification process. In addition to covering half the expenses for certification and future recertification, the company also designated customer service manager Cheryl Williams as its in-house liaison to take full ownership of the program, visiting dealers throughout the country and assisting as needed through all phases of the program.
 
EXPANSIONS
West Marine has announced its relationship with East Marine Denizcilik & Turizm A.S. to open its first franchise store in Istanbul, Turkey.

The new store is scheduled to open in July. It’s part of a multistore development agreement for Turkey. Istanbul, located on the Bosphorus Straight, straddling Europe and Asia, is surrounded by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, making it an ideal location for a West Marine store, according to company officials.

Other locations are being identified along Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.

Representatives from Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently received a tour of the historic Merrill-Stevens Shipyard on the Miami River as the yacht repair facility prepares to modernize and expand its operations.

The visiting officials included Col. Paul Grosskruger, Commander of the Engineers’ Jacksonville district, and Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., from the House Ways and Means Committee and the Armed Services Committee.

The Army Corp of Engineers is coordinating the dredging of the Miami River’s federal channel. While local and state sponsors have supported their pieces of the financial funding equation, Congress is increasing its effort to secure a significant share of the maintenance dredge and environmental cleanup dollars for the Miami River.

The maintenance dredge and environmental cleanup is expected to increase international trade, commerce and local employment, and is considered essential to improving the natural environment of the Miami River, its tributaries and Biscayne Bay.

“The enormously complex shipyard plans are dependent upon scores of items on a checklist,” said Ron Baker, president of Merrill-Steven Shipyard, in a statement. “One of the most important elements of the modernization plan’s success is the completion of the maintenance dredging of the Miami River.”

The planned modernization and expansion of the yacht repair yard will allow megayachts up to 250 feet in length to travel up the Miami River for full-service yacht repair and refit. Once the overall project is fully operational, projections indicate the Merrill-Stevens Shipyard will employ 500 workers.

Zimmerman Marine, a yacht repair and custom boatbuilding yard in Mathews, Va., plans to open a second location in Deltaville, Va.

Zimmerman Marine has operated at its Mathews location for the last 27 years. Beginning July 1, the company will be open for business at Norview Marina on Broad Creek in Deltaville.

“Norview Marina has a great location — close to over 2,000 boats and easily accessible from [Chesapeake] Bay,” Zimmerman president Steve Zimmerman said in a statement. “Norview’s proximity to so many locally owned boats will enable us to offer our services to boat owners who would have been inconvenienced by traveling to our Mathews location for service work.”

In addition, the new site has a service building with 36-foot-high doors and a high-capacity lift slip. Zimmerman also will have a new 75-ton Marine Travelift in place by Sept. 1.

REPRESENTATIVES
Todd Marine recently appointed ComMar Sales as its new rep group for northeastern states from Virginia to Maine.

ComMar represents Todd Marine and its affiliate companies, Tracy International and Kodiak Marine. It’s responsible for OEM and aftermarket sales.

Todd Marine products include boat seats as well as boat and marine accessories and supplies. Its OEM division provides boatbuilders with helm chairs, tables, water and holding tanks and more. Tracy International manufactures high-quality and luxurious yacht seating and accessories. Kodiak Marine, a division of Tracy International, produces live bait tanks and accessories.

Caframo of Ontario, Canada, a manufacturer of marine fans, cabin heaters and accessories, has chosen W.M. Black and Co.  to represent its product line in the Great Lakes area.

Headquartered in Ohio, W.M. Black and Co. has been representing marine manufacturers in the Great Lakes region, west through Iowa and Missouri as far north as  Ontario, since 1992.

Caframo products are original equipment on boat brands and available at marine retailers here and abroad.

AGREEMENTS
Aqua Marine Properties LLC, a division of Aqua Marine Partners LLC, has entered into a marina management agreement with Daytona Marina and Boatworks in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The marina, which will be doing business as Aquamarina Daytona, is a popular destination during race events held at the nearby Daytona International Speedway. It features amenities such as a fueling station, Wi-Fi service, brokerage, full service boatyard and reciprocal privileges with other AMP facilities.

The marina also features a boater’s lounge with laundry facilities and showers, dockage for mega yachts up to 200 feet in length, undercover storage for yachts up to 116 feet and cable television hookups.

There are plans for additional upgrades in the near future, said Michael Shanley, who heads up the marina management division of AMP.

AMP offers a number of consumer programs, including monthly membership programs that feature customized boat maintenance packages.

Based in Aventura, Fla., Aquamarine owns or manages marina projects in Florida and Georgia. The management team provides environmental and regulatory support, human resources management, security and retail operations management.

This article originally appeared in the July 2008 issue.

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