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For The Record: Builders recall workers, boost their production - Trade Only Today

For The Record: Builders recall workers, boost their production

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Autumn brought good news from several boatbuilders that are adding workers and ramping up production. Fishing Holdings, the parent company of Ranger Boats, announced the expansion of its manufacturing facility in Flippin, Ark. The company will invest $13 million to retool, transition and expand its facilities, creating more than 115 new jobs. The additional jobs will increase total employment at the manufacturing facility to approximately 540 people.

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"We're very fortunate to have a world-class manufacturing facility that's home to such wonderful employees and some of the industry's strongest brands," says Randy Hopper, president of Fishing Holdings, which also includes Stratos and Triton.

  • Hydra-Sports Boats announced that the initial transition of molds and integration into MasterCraft's Vonore, Tenn., production facility is complete and full-line production of 2011 models is under way. MasterCraft purchased Hydra-Sports earlier this year in the Genmar bankruptcy auction.

"It is an extremely exciting time for Hydra-Sports," president and CEO John Dorton says in a statement. "From a product-line perspective, we have identified and implemented many improvements that strengthen both the quality and functionality our owners are looking for."

In other news, Hydra-Sports added two members to its sales staff. Kirk Lewellen returned to the company as regional sales manager for Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Lewellen has more than 15 years of experience in sales management, much of it at Hydra-Sports. Adrian Hart joined the company as international sales manager. Hart brings 35 years of industry experience to the brand.

The company also added 3A Marine in Hingham, Mass., and Anglers Marine in Brunswick County, N.C., to its dealer network. And the signing of Warsash Marine in Southhampton, England, provides a new affiliation for Hydra-Sports overseas. The company says it is looking for more dealers to expand its network.

  • Nordic Tugs announced plans to restart production to provide products for spring deliveries. The Burlington, Wash.-based builder is continuing to take orders during the temporary suspension of production that it announced in August. Nordic Tugs boat owners, dealers and service yards are receiving parts and service support.

A skeleton staff is in place to field customer inquiries and maintain the plant to keep it prepared to resume production when business improves. During the fall boat show season, the company's dealers have seen a great deal of interest in new boats, Nordic Tugs reports.

  • Cadillac, Mich.-based Four Winns is starting to call back workers, largely because it moved Glastron production from Minnesota to Michigan. About 220 were on the job earlier this year, but that number has increased to more than 400, according to a local report.

Four Winns is part of Rec Boat Holdings, a division of Platinum Equity affiliate PBH Marine Group, which also includes Glastron and Wellcraft.

Leadership changes at two Brunswick brands

The Brunswick Boat Group announced leadership changes at its Boston Whaler and Crestliner brands. Ben Cast will become president of Crestliner Boats and Jeff Vaughn will succeed Cast as vice president of sales, marketing and customer service at Boston Whaler. The changes took effect Nov. 1.

Cast, who has been with Brunswick since 2005, will succeed Bryan Burns, who is leaving Brunswick for a job in the Little Falls, Minn., area. Cast will be based in Little Falls. Vaughn has been with Brunswick for 16 years. He began at Boston Whaler, where he was a regional sales manager for three years before a promotion to vice president of sales, a position he held for five years.

IYC acquires Sacks Group

International Yacht Collection acquired The Sacks Group Yachting Professionals, a full-service superyacht charter and brokerage company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Our companies share similar values," says Felix Sabates, chairman of Fort Lauderdale-based IYC, in a statement. "We both put our clients first and are committed to new ideas to improve their yachting experience. As partners, together we offer a compelling first-class service to charter clients, owners, captains, crew and shipyards around the world."

With the acquisition, the group's combined fleet of charter, brokerage and management yachts will total more than 160, more than 20,000 linear feet of yachts.

Merger unites multihull builders

Australian catamaran builder Seawind Catamarans purchased Corsair Marine, a builder of trailerable trimarans, Seawind announced. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Seawind says customers of both companies will benefit from the combined business. "Our loyal Seawind customers will see benefit in technology transfers, as well as the cost benefits of a larger overall manufacturing base and the integration of some common componentry," managing director Richard Ward says.

Established in the United States in 1984, Corsair Marine was bought by Australian Corsair dealer Paul Koch in 1994, but remained at its home base in San Diego. Four years ago, the company relocated manufacturing to Vietnam.

Attendance doubles at Annapolis show

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Organizers of the United States Powerboat Show, held Oct. 14-17 in Annapolis, Md., say attendance this year more than doubled from the rain-soaked 2009 show and rivaled the 2008 numbers. The powerboat show followed the successful U.S. Sailboat Show, held Oct. 7-11 in the same location.

"This industry needed a shot in the arm and a signal that the worst of the sales slump is behind us," says Paul Jacobs, general manager of show producer United States Yacht Shows, in a statement. "Large enthusiastic crowds, along with the many boats being sold over the four-day event, could be a sign that the recovery has begun. We certainly hope that is the case. It felt like a far more positive mood among sellers and buyers than the past two years."

Former Riviera CEO starts new venture

Wes Moxey is back at the helm of a multimillion-dollar boatbuilding business, but he is not planning to go head-to-head with Australian builder Riviera, the company he left two years ago.

Moxey, who resigned as CEO of Riviera in 2008, has teamed with Sydney dealer and former Riviera retail manager Lee Dillon to launch Belize Motoryachts. The retro-styled yachts were designed in Australia and will be built in Taiwan, where Moxey says tooling for the range was advanced. Dillon will handle distribution from his new business, Luxury Design Motoryachts, in Sydney. Moxey will handle predelivery and customization.

Belize is targeting nine boat sales in its first year, growing to about 50 a year during the next five years across four models, the smallest of which is a 50-footer, according to the report. Moxey says the United States and Europe, in particular, would drive international sales.

NMMA adds two certification standards

The National Marine Manufacturers Association says its boat and yacht certification program added two new standards for model-year 2012, making it stronger and more comprehensive. The new standards are for gasoline and propane detection systems and galvanic isolators.

"Safety and quality design are of the utmost importance for boaters and prospective buyers, and as the only boat and yacht certification program in the U.S., NMMA Certified helps them find the best boats on the market," says Robert Newsome, director of NMMA Engineering Standards, who oversees the NMMA certification program, in a statement. "We've made great strides over the last five years to create a more stringent program to ensure recreational boats are safer than ever before as we continuously look for ways to improve the boating experience."

A boat must meet 47 categories of standards to become NMMA-certified. NMMA has added 15 new sets of standards in the last five years, including electric/electronic propulsion control systems in model-year 2008 and anchoring, mooring and strong points in model-year 2010.

Viking Yachts hosts dealer meeting

New boats were among the highlights of the annual Viking Yachts dealer meeting at the Viking factory in New Gretna, N.J., and the Seaview Hotel in nearby Galloway Township.

Principals Bill Healey, Patrick Healey and Bob Healey Jr. spoke about Viking's goals for the 2011 model year, new models and updates in the fleet, manufacturing updates and boat show plans.

New models, logo at Carver Yachts

Carver Yachts is preparing for the 2011 model year by introducing several new models and a newly designed logo to represent the brand.

"We decided to represent our new corporate status with the introduction of a new graphic identity for the brand," president Robert VanGrunsven says in a statement. "This new logo has a distinctive, contemporary flair that signifies a change and our continued commitment to the future of the Carver brand."

The new logo and corporate branding was introduced at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and was seen on the new Carver 44 Sojourn.

Pulaski, Wis.-based Carver Yachts is a division of Marquis Yachts LLC and is owned by J&D Acquisitions.

Frisini acquires stake in Sonic Powerboats

Frisini Motorsports, manufacturer of Spectre Powerboats, acquired an interest in Sonic Powerboats from CSI Marine and will be rebranding its full line of lake and offshore boats, along with adding new models, the company says. Terms were not disclosed.

Sonics will be sold through the company's current dealer network and the company is seeking new dealers for the full product line, says John Cunningham, head of marketing and sales.

Latitude Industries completes acquisition

Latitude Industries completed its acquisition of ChampionMarineUSA.com.

"We are glad this acquisition is complete and we are now currently seeking other acquisition candidates in the marine and transportation industries. We are also looking to put more products for sale on the www.championmarineusa.com website," Carolina Hernandez, CEO of Latitude Industries, says in a statement.

This article originally appeared in the December 2010 issue.

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