For the Record: Coast Guard launches Morris-built training boat

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The first Morris Yachts-built Leadership 44 was christened and launched in June at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

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Shearwater is the first of eight L44s that Trenton, Maine-based Morris Yachts is building to replace the four 46-year-old Luders 44 yawls in the academy’s coastal sail training program. David Pedrick designed the L44.

“The L44 is the centerpiece of our leadership development,” says Adm. J. Scott Burhoe, superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy. “Someday soon, cadets will be sailing these boats themselves.”

Cadets participate in 12-day leadership programs aboard the 44-foot boats, sailing the open waters of coastal New England. They rotate through watch captain, navigator, cook, helmsman and deckhand positions as they develop skills in sailing, navigation and seamanship, and small-boat operations. As many as eight cadets and a safety officer participate in the training missions and offshore passages.

Hull Nos. 2 and 3 are under construction, and $348,000 remains to be raised for hull No. 8, says Anne Brengle, president of the Coast Guard Foundation, an L44 campaign partner with the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association and the Coast Guard Academy Parents Association. The fundraising effort took 30 months. The campaign is raising $6.5 million to build the eight boats.

— Michael LaBella

Seminar list at IBEX grows by 30 percent

This year’s International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference, scheduled for Oct. 17-19 in Louisville, Ky., will feature the most expansive educational component in the show’s 21-year history. More than 100 industry authorities will conduct 91 seminars, a 30 percent increase from 2010.

The IBEX 2011 seminar series has 14 specialized tracks covering Design and Engineering — Power, Composites Methods and Materials, Survey and Repair, Wood and Metal, Marine Electrical Systems, Onboard Systems, Boatyard Operations, Manufacturing Management, and Education and Training, plus four new tracks and the second annual Dealer Development track, which this year will be produced by Soundings Trade Only.

“The IBEX seminar series sets the standard for education in the marine industry, which has become a vital component to its ability to grow and flourish,” says show co-director and Professional BoatBuilder magazine publisher Carl Cramer in a statement. “The success of our industry is about what you know and constant innovation. With the addition of more than 30 new seminars and topics that address all facets of the boating business, IBEX offers great value for everyone from the manufacturer to the dealer’s service and parts manager.”

Conference includes tours of boatyards

Interlux Yacht Finishes and Awlgrip North America are sponsoring the American Boat Builders & Repairers Association field trip during the group’s annual conference July 18-19 at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in New Bedford, Mass.

The field trip offers those who attend the conference a group lunch and private tours of four major New England boatbuilding and repair facilities: Burr Brothers Boats; Fairhaven Shipyard Cos.; Bayline Boatyard and Transport; and South Wharf Yacht Yard. The trip is available for $45 for all participants. For information, contact Jessica Slemons at (401) 247-0318 or jslemons@abbra.org.

Middle-market CFOs grow more optimistic

Chief financial officers of middle-market U.S. companies are becoming more positive about the state of their industries and the outlook for growth, a GE Capital survey shows. The survey, announced in mid-May, indicates that the level of optimism has increased substantially since the CFOs first were surveyed in January 2010.

“As we continue to track CFO sentiment it’s clear that top-line growth for middle-market companies is improving. CFOs are more optimistic than they were a year ago, which is evident in their plans to invest in their people and infrastructure,” says Dan Henson, president and CEO of GE Capital Americas, in a statement.

The survey, which was done during the first quarter of this year, includes responses from 530 CFOs of companies with revenues ranging from $50 million to $1 billion and operating across seven industries: metals, mining and metals fabrication; food, beverage and agriculture; general manufacturing; health care; retail; technology and business services; and transportation.

The survey also found that 80 percent of CFOs expect to hire additional employees in the next 12 months.

West Marine building its biggest store ever

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West Marine plans to open the largest store in the company’s history later this year in Fort Lauderdale.

“We’re designing and building the new Fort Lauderdale West Marine Boating Superstore from the ground up to better serve the customers in this amazing boating market. We believe it will be the world’s largest, and hopefully most exciting boating store, with the largest selection of core for-the-boat products and for-the-boater apparel and shoes,” CEO Geoff Eisenberg says in a statement.

At 50,000 square feet, the store will be twice as big as the company’s current largest location.

Brunswick expects to gain market share

Brunswick CEO Dustan McCoy reiterated his belief in May that the U.S. retail marine market will be flat in 2011, although his company will experience revenue and earnings growth because of market-share gains and volume leverage. McCoy made the remarks at the Wells Fargo Securities Consumer, Gaming and Lodging Conference in Las Vegas.

For the year to date, the retail market is down about 2 percent and likely negatively affected by unfavorable weather, senior analyst Tim Conder said in a report after McCoy’s presentation.

“[Brunswick] continues to gain market share across engine, boat and fitness segments and expects further gains throughout ’11,” Conder writes. “Engine share gains are likely to continue on 1) Volvo’s exit/less focus on sterndrives and 2) outboard gains stemming from Japanese supplier disruptions more significantly impacting Japanese competitors (i.e., Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki). We believe boat share gains are likely to continue, and management expects ’10 share losses to be replaced in ’11.”

Brunswick is benefiting from strong aluminum and pontoon boat demand, historically the first indicator of a recovering boat industry, Conder notes. Management says 90 percent of boat brands are profitable today and the remaining 10 percent are on a path to being profitable or reassessed, he says.

MarineMax secures new floorplan financing

MarineMax increased its financing facility with GE Capital from $100 million to $150 million. The facility has a three-year term that will expire in June 2014 and has two one-year options to renew, subject to lender approval. Borrowings will be secured primarily by the company’s inventory that is financed through the facility and related accounts receivable.

“We are pleased to be able to strengthen our financial flexibility by adding the additional borrowing capacity,” Michael McLamb, executive vice president, CFO and secretary, says in a statement. “Based on our two most recent quarters we have seen an increase in new-boat sales, and this expansion of our credit facility better positions us for growth as the industry recovers. The increase also further strengthens our ability to capitalize on other growth opportunities that may arise.”

In other news, MarineMax has introduced the MarineMax Community, a website that allows users to share their boating experiences, photos, videos and opinions, as well as access resources designed to help them maximize their enjoyment on the water.

The site, www.community.marine max.com, is free and open to anyone interested in fishing, wakeboarding, yachting and other boating activities.

“Our goal is to create a true online community where boaters, fans and friends can share their passion for the water and water-based activities,” MarineMax e-business manager Rob Bowman says in a statement.

MRAA opposes life-jacket mandate

The Marine Retailers Association of America is urging its members to let Congress know they oppose proposals to make life-jacket wear mandatory. Several federal agencies, led by the Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety, are working to require all boaters to wear life jackets. Included on the list of government agencies are the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Park Service, according to the MRAA.

“I believe a mandatory life jacket law for adults is the biggest threat to the economic vitality of recreational boating and is far bigger than the onerous luxury tax of a generation ago,” MRAA chairman Dave Foulkrod says in a statement.

MRAA members are urged to go to the group’s website at www.mraa.com and follow the prompts to contact members of Congress. They also can contact Coast Guard Capt. Mark Rizzo, chief of the Office of Boating Safety, at (202) 372-1260 or by e-mail at mark.d.rizzo@uscg.mil.

Cummins, Caterpillar issue financial reports

Cummins expects significant sales and profit growth this year and beyond as it takes advantage of long-term global economic trends and the recovery of key U.S. markets, chairman and CEO Tim Solso told shareholders May 10 at the company’s annual meeting.

The company expects 2011 sales to grow nearly 30 percent, from $13.2 billion in 2010 to $17 billion, and earnings before interest and taxes to be 14 percent of sales this year — both company records — Solso says. Earnings in that category were $1.7 billion on sales of $13.2 billion in 2010.

The company also will significantly increase its investment in the business this year. It expects to spend as much as $650 million on capital projects to increase capacity and invest in new technologies and products. The company also expects its joint ventures to make $300 million in capital investments to expand its businesses.

“The actions we have taken over the past two years have kept Cummins strong during the recession and have set the stage for a period of sustained profitable growth,” Solso says in a statement.

Meanwhile, sales of Caterpillar marine engines were down 27 percent in April, compared with the same month in 2010, the company says in a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The rate of decline was slightly better than reported in March and February, when sales were down 33 percent and 36 percent, respectively, compared with those months last year.

Caterpillar reported an increase in engine sales in all other segments.

NMMA urges support of tax simplification bill

The National Marine Manufacturers Association has again expressed support for the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act of 2011. NMMA and its partners sent a letter in May to U.S. Reps. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Howard Coble, R-N.C., of the House Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law urging them to back the legislation.

Under H.R. 1439, which the NMMA says has strong bipartisan support, a business that has no real presence in a state would not be taxed by the state in which the limited business activities take place, but in the state where it is physically present and has substantial activities.

In other legislative news, the NMMA attended a meeting in May on the America’s Great Outdoors program with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and other department officials.

The program was launched last year to develop a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda through lasting conservation solutions, including those involving boating and fishing.

During the town hall portion of the meeting, the NMMA encouraged the administration to support the reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Secretary Salazar indicated his strong support for the reauthorization and says that his department would encourage administration support for such,” the NMMA says.

Lastly, NMMA called on the marine industry to tell Congress it opposes a bill that would remove the deductibility of interest on boats that are used as second homes.

“This bill, the ‘Ending Taxpayer Subsidies for Yachts Act,’ is both misnamed and wrongheaded and would accomplish nothing except putting American boatbuilders and other boating service providers out of work precisely at a time when the industry has not recovered from the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich says in a letter to industry professionals.

The bill, H.R. 1702, appears to be based on the assumption that only rich people own “yachts” and that the American taxpayer is subsidizing their lifestyle, according to the NMMA. A yacht, by definition, is any vessel 26 feet or longer, and the deduction on interest expense is only applicable if the boat has a head, galley and sleeping berth. n

Industry mourns the passing of veterans

The industry lost several longtime figures in May.

• Les Groombridge, president of the former Outboard Marine Corp. of Canada from 1980-86, died May 15 in Peterborough, Ontario. He was 86.

Groombridge retired as president after 45 years with Outboard Marine, having worked his way to the top job after starting as an office boy.

The producer of Johnson, Evinrude and Elto outboard motors, along with chainsaws and snowmobiles, Outboard Marine had a 70-year history in Peterborough, beginning as the Johnson Motor Co. in 1928.

• Tiffany Randolph Cockrell, founder of Tiffany Yachts, died May 13 at his Virginia home. He was 89. Early in life he and his father built Chesapeake Bay deadrise workboats.

After he returned from World War II, Cockrell began building pleasure boats. In the ensuing years his company built more than 150 yachts, many still in use. Cockrell was joined in his business by his children and grandchildren.

• Arent Hendrik Kits van Heyningen, founder of the company that later became KVH Industries, died May 11 in Newport, R.I. He was 95.

He worked at Phillips Electronics in Eindhoven, Netherlands, for several years before immigrating to Canada in 1953. There he worked at Central Dynamics and Canadian Aviation Electronics, where he designed one of the first flight simulators for military aircraft.

After moving to Newport, he joined the Raytheon Submarine Signal division in Portsmouth, where he worked as a principal engineer until retiring in 1986.

In 1982 Kits van Heyningen and his two sons, Robert and Martin, started Sailcomp Industries. Sailcomp became KVH Industries in 1986, and he was chief scientist until 2010.

• Harold Marshall Nix Jr., founder of Coating Technologies USA, died May 2 after a long battle with cancer. He was 57.

The inventor of Bristol Finish High Performance Wood Coatings started formulating Bristol Finish in the late 1980s when he couldn’t find a wood coating for his sailboat that could withstand the Florida sun.

“Through many months of trial and error and years of fine-tuning, he finally developed what has become known as a top-of-the-line premium wood coating in both the marine and architectural industries,” the company says in a statement.

Promoter sought for Aquapalooza

Sea Ray’s Aquapalooza signature event has been so successful the company is no longer able to produce it, says vice president of marketing Rob Noyes.

“It’s been such a success that it’s absolutely outgrown our capabilities — we’re not promoters; we’re boatbuilders and we’re in the boating business,” Noyes says. “We’re looking for promoters who might be interested in it. It’s a great event. It just needs somebody who can organize it.”

There will be no signature event this year, although smaller events will be held around the country this summer.

Noyes says an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 people attended the 2010 signature event, which was held at The Reserve at Lake Travis near Austin, Texas. Country star Brad Paisley was the headliner.

“You put [that crowd] in the water and you add all their entertainment that they all bring in, their coolers, it becomes a daunting task,” says Noyes. “It’s a lot of fun for people, but it’s unbelievably costly and time-consuming, and with a department of three I can’t afford to do it.”

— Beth Rosenberg

MTU Detroit Diesel has a new name

MTU Detroit Diesel Inc. announced June 1 a name change to Tognum America Inc., effective immediately. Tognum America, like MTU Detroit Diesel before it, is a subsidiary of the Germany-based Tognum Group and is responsible for sales and service of MTU engines and MTU Onsite Energy distributed energy systems in North America and Latin America.

Tognum America has offices in Detroit; Houston; Washington, D.C.; San Leandro, Calif.; St. Rose, La.; Miami; and Mankato, Minn. The company also operates two production facilities — one in Mankato for diesel and gas-based generator sets and one in Aiken, S.C. where it machines parts and builds MTU Series 2000 and 4000 engines.

Tognum employs more than 750 in North America.

Engineering firm buys boat designer

JMS Naval Architects & Salvage Engineers of Mystic, Conn., acquired Roger Long Marine Architecture Inc., the company announced in June. The acquisition includes exclusive rights to Maine-based Roger Long Marine’s Challenger class fast research vessels.

Roger Long, his company’s founder and principal designer, will become a senior design consultant to JMS’s research vessel design projects.

Milestone marked, scholarships given

By the end of April, Brunswick’s Fort Wayne, Ind., facility had successfully worked more than 1 million hours without a lost time accident or illness. The plant produces Harris FloteBote and Cypress Cay pontoons.

“One million hours without lost time is affirmation of that dedication,” Tavid Markarian, vice president of operations at the Fort Wayne plant, says in a statement.

In other news, for the 54th year, the Brunswick Foundation awarded 74 scholarships to sons and daughters of Brunswick Corp. employees. Each will receive a single-year scholarship of $2,500.

The winners span 25 Brunswick locations worldwide and represent the company’s corporate staff, as well as all Brunswick business units: Brunswick Boat Group, Brunswick Bowling & Billiards, Life Fitness and Mercury Marine.

Scholarships are based on the applicant’s academic record and leadership abilities, demonstrated by extracurricular activities. Financial need is an additional consideration, and scholarships can only be used toward a baccalaureate degree.

EPA seeks tougher PVC regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency this spring proposed stronger standards that would require facilities that produce polyvinyl chloride — used to build some RIBs and other inflatables — to reduce emissions of harmful toxins, improving air quality and protecting people’s health in communities where the facilities are located.

The standards would reduce the emissions of air toxins such as dioxin and vinyl chloride while giving facilities the flexibility to choose the most practical and cost-effective control technology or technique to reduce emissions. Facilities also would need to monitor emissions at certain points in the PVC production process to ensure the standards are met.

Air toxins from PVC production affect nearby communities. There are 17 PVC production facilities in the United States. A majority of them are in Louisiana and Texas. The proposal would cover all existing and any new PVC production facilities.

The EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The agency also will hold public hearings in the Houston and Baton Rouge, La., areas.

Separately, the EPA is developing standards for the chemical industry that will address air toxins such as dioxins and vinyl chloride. The agency will issue a proposal for those later this year.

Maine boatbuilder is up for sale

Southport Island Marine, an 11-year-old Maine boatbuilder and service yard, is for sale. Owner Douglas Goldhirsch, a sail training instructor, boat designer and builder, says he plans to step away from the business to spend more time with his family. He says he is optimistic that a buyer can be found who will share his passion for building beautiful boats and providing outstanding service. The business is on Southport Island in the Boothbay region of Mid-Coast Maine (www.southportislandmarine.com).

“In the 11 years that I have operated Southport Island Marine, the yard has built a strong reputation as a quality boatbuilder and a top-shelf service yard,” Goldhirsch says. “We’re committed to maintaining that level of service as we seek the right buyer — someone who wants to continue and maintain what we have worked so hard to establish, both in the boatbuilding and the service areas of the business.”

Southport Island Marine is known for such boats as the Southport 30, Handy Billy 21, Hurricane Island 30 and Celebrity Class Sloop. Included in the sale are 13 acres of commercially zoned real estate; a large, heated workspace with four work bays; two large cold-storage sheds; four small outbuildings; two trucks; a hydraulic boat transport trailer; a Kubota tractor; a 17-foot Aquasport workboat with a 90-hp E-TEC; office equipment; shop tools; molds for the Southport 30; and the business name and customer base.

Information about the sale is available by contacting Kim Latour of Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty at (207) 687-9663 or klatour@legacysir.com.

Industry groups prep for annual conferences

Three industry associations are fine-tuning their annual conferences and online brochures.

The American Boat Builders & Repairers Association’s annual conference this year will focus on boatyard and boat repair business owners, operators and managers. The conference will be expanded by 25 percent and is intended to bring decision makers in the boatyard and repair industry together to discuss common problems and best business practices. It will be held July 18-19 in New Bedford, Mass.

The International Marina & Boatyard Conference posted a brochure with exhibitor, sponsorship and advertising opportunities for the 2012 show online (www.marinaassociation.org). Produced by the Association of Marina Industries, IMBC is scheduled for Feb. 1-3, 2012, at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The brochure combines all commercial and vendor opportunities into a document that provides attendee demographics and the benefits of participating, as well as exhibitor, sponsorship and advertising openings and contracts.

The American Boat and Yacht Council announced its first publication in a series of technical resources that was translated into Spanish. The Brunswick Boat Group partnered with ABYC to produce and publish the Coast Guard Compliance Guidelines.

The guidelines cover federal requirements for ignition protection, grounding, batteries, conductors in circuits of less than 50 volts and more than 50 volts, secondary ignition circuits and overcurrent protection. It also provides typical wiring diagrams for several types of boats. For information, contact jramsey@abycinc.org.

Boatyard chain to help school

Brewer Yacht Yards in Rhode Island are donating $500 from all new summer slip contracts to support the Edgewood Sailing School in Cranston, R.I. When the 103-year-old Edgewood Yacht Club’s clubhouse burned down this year, the sailing school lost most of its gear.

“Most of our employees and customers participated in a sailing program similar to ESS at some time in their lives,” Michael Keyworth, general manager of Brewer Cove Haven Marina in Barrington, says in a statement. “The waterfront is such an important part of what makes Rhode Island unique that we were eager to help the Edgewood Sailing School get back on its feet.”

Brewer operates 22 full-service marinas in the Northeast and has Rhode Island locations in Barrington, Warwick, North Kingstown and Portsmouth.

This article originally appeared in the July 2011 issue.

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