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For the record: Earlier date helping New York boat show

The National Marine Manufacturers Association says it is drawing support from the industry’s largest manufacturers — including Brunswick and Genmar — and numerous dealers throughout the New York region who will be exhibiting at the New York National Boat Show, which was rescheduled this year to Dec. 13-21.
NMMA says the exhibitor enthusiasm and support reinforces its decision to hold the show two weeks earlier than previous years.

The new marketing campaign follows the theme, “Where will you be December 13?” with a promotional video being distributed online at

NMMA skipping a year with Liberty Boat Show
The NMMA postponed the Liberty Boat Show until Oct. 1-4, 2009, in an effort to provide a stronger show for exhibitors. It had been scheduled for Sept. 25-28, 2008.

The decision to postpone was made after discussions with exhibitors, who agreed to push the show back because of current economic conditions, according to the NMMA. Exhibitors felt it was better to aim for a strong event 12 months later, when the market is likely to be expanding, according to the association.

NMMA purchased the Liberty Boat Show in May from Liberty Event Management LLC.

Tougher emissions standards for gasoline engines in 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Sept. 4 it has set strict new standards for gasoline engines.
When fully implemented, the rule is expected to yield annual emission reductions of 600,000 tons of hydrocarbons, 130,000 tons of nitrogen oxide, 5,500 tons of direct particulate matter and 1.5 million tons of carbon monoxide, according to the EPA. The agency also expects the new standards to save about 190 million gallons of gasoline each year.

The rule goes into effect in 2010 for a range of gasoline-powered personal watercraft and inboard and outboard engines, and in 2011 for lawn and garden equipment of 25 hp or less.

To meet the new emission standards, manufacturers likely will employ catalytic converters for the first time in many boats, according to the EPA. The regulation also includes the first national standards for boats powered by sterndrive or inboard engines, as well as carbon monoxide standards for gasoline engines.
For information, visit: and search “surf and turf.”

Fountain president resigns
Fountain Powerboat Industries president R. David Knight has resigned from the company.
Knight, who also served as president of its operating subsidiary Fountain Powerboats, left the company effective Aug. 22, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The document says Knight submitted his resignation Aug. 20.
Knight was elected president in July 2006, according to SEC documents. He joined Fountain in September 2004, serving as executive vice president of business development.

Maptech marine division is sold to Richardsons
Richardsons Chartbooks and Cruising Guides purchased Maptech’s marine printed products division, publishers of ChartKits, Embassy Cruising Guides and Maptech Waterproof Charts, for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition, made final July 30, creates one of the world’s largest chartmakers outside of national hydrographic offices, according to Richardsons.

Both companies have long histories in chart manufacturing. Richardsons is known for its Great Lakes products and has expanded in the last decade to include U.S. East Coast products. ChartKit started in 1975 in the Northeast and over time became a mainstay for recreational boaters with its ChartKits in North America and elsewhere.

Richardsons president Lee Estes is very familiar with ChartKit. He worked for the original ChartKit/BBA for 10 years before leaving the company and buying Richardsons in 1998.

Maptech announced it was for sale in February, less than 18 months after the death of owner Gary Comer. The printed products division is one of several Maptech has sold recently.

For the immediate future, Estes said he plans to run Richardsons and Maptech as two separate divisions. Shipping, sales and operations will be performed out of Richardsons’ New Bedford, Mass., headquarters, while Maptech production will remain in Amesbury, Mass.

Moeller Marine buys assets of shut-down Tempo Products
Moeller Marine Products has acquired the assets and intellectual property of Tempo Products Inc. for an undisclosed price.

Tempo Products was a leading marine accessory manufacture that specialized in the aftermarket fuel category since 1962. The company ceased all manufacturing operations and closed its Solon, Ohio, factory last year. Industry sources said at the time that the company’s owner, Patrick McKenna, wanted to retire and didn’t have anyone lined up to take the helm.

Moeller Marine Products is a leading OEM manufacturer and aftermarket accessory manufacturer. All Tempo assets will now be located at Moeller’s manufacturing plant in Sparta, Tenn.

Plans to market both Moeller and Tempo brand products are currently being developed.

Symposium dates set  for Yamaha dealers
Yamaha Marine University has announced the dates and locations for its 2008 three-day Symposium: Competitive Advantages.

This year’s YMU symposium will take place Nov. 11-13 in Orlando, Fla., and Dec. 9-11 in Las Vegas. Yamaha dealers can enroll through YMU online by going through the Yamaha Marine Business System.

YMU’s Competitive Advantages Symposium was launched in 2007 with the intention of helping Yamaha dealers achieve higher profitability and CSI levels by creating competitive advantages throughout the dealership.

Contact Jennifer Christ with questions or to enroll in Symposium 2008: Competitive Advantages. She can be reached at (866) 644-4YMU or

Yamaha expands Georgia plant
Yamaha Motor Corp. broke ground on a 220,000-square-foot expansion of its logistics plant in Kennesaw, Ga. as part of a plan to increase both the capacity and efficiency of its operations there.

The Yamaha building in Kennesaw occupies 33 acres and includes 100,000-square-feet of office space and 200,000-square-feet of warehouse space.

The expansion, to be completed in March, will increase warehouse space to nearly 420,000 square feet. In addition, the company expects efficiency gains of 20 to 25 percent, thanks to the installation of new order-tracking and conveyance systems and the consolidation of operations with other Yamaha logistics buildings.

About 50 percent of the activity in the Kennesaw logistics site supports Yamaha Marine Group. The site also supports other Yamaha products and businesses, including watercraft, motorcycles, ATVs and golf carts.
The construction is in the second phase of the project. The building’s mezzanine was increased by 10,000 square feet last year to accommodate more offices and meeting rooms.

Hatteras, Albemarle cut 325 jobs, lower production
The maker of Hatteras and Albemarle yachts and sportfishing boats has eliminated about 325 positions from the New Bern and Edenton, N.C., plants. The announcement was made Aug. 14 to employees. The reduction involves hourly and salaried employees.

“As with most other U.S. boat makers, these brands have been doing their best to confront a weak domestic marine industry,” said Keri Theophilus, president of The Hatteras Collection, in a statement.
Hatteras and Albemarle also plan to reduce production for the 2009 model year.

The Hatteras Collection, which includes Hatteras and Albemarle boats, is a unit of Brunswick Corp. The collection also includes Cabo Yachts.

Chris-Craft sheds 85 workers in Florida and N.C. plants
Chris-Craft Corp. laid off about 85 employees in late July — half in North Carolina and half in Florida — in anticipation of fewer orders from dealers.

“We have slowed all of our lines across the board,” spokeswoman Meghan Stout told Soundings Trade Only. “Our dealers are very cautious for the coming year.”

The company also plans to move production of its Catalina line in North Carolina to the Sarasota, Fla. plant.
Product development and engineering will remain in North Carolina, along with about 40 employees.

Production is halted at Cobia’s N.C. plant
Cobia announced to its employees Aug. 4 that it will be suspending production at the company’s Marion, N.C., plant effective Aug. 29.

A total of 68 people were to be furloughed and production temporarily shifted to the Fort Pierce, Fla., manufacturing plant.

“Our country is in a recession and our industry is in a massive downturn. We expect market conditions to improve and plan to resume production in Marion the very minute conditions allow,” company president Scott Deal said in a statement.

Cobia is owned by the Maverick Boat Co., builder of the Maverick, Hewes and Pathfinder boats. Maverick purchased the Cobia brand from C&C Mfg., a Yamaha boat company, in March 2005.

MerCruiser cuts 68 jobs, citing industry sales slump
Mercury MerCruiser has laid off 68 hourly workers because of a continuing slump in sales.

“Like many companies in the marine industry, MerCruiser continues to monitor and respond to the ongoing economic challenges facing the market,” the company said in a statement. “In light of the decline in retail boat sales, MerCruiser is re-aligning its workforce and reducing engine production levels to match demand.”
MerCruiser, the Stillwater, Okla.-based division of Mercury Marine that manufactures sterndrives, employs about 850 salaried and hourly workers. Mercury Marine is a division of Brunswick Corp., which has initiated several cutbacks over the last several months.

In April, Mercury cut 50 salaried positions from its plants in Fond du Lac, Wis.; Tulsa and Stillwater, Okla.; and St. Cloud, Fla. About 10 of those positions were from MerCruiser.

Earlier this summer, Brunswick announced plans to lay off 1,000 people and close four North American manufacturing plants. Plans also called for reducing another 1,700 employees throughout Brunswick and Mercury during the next 18 months.

Yamaha signs supplier deal for exclusivity with Robalo
Yamaha Marine Group of Kennesaw, Ga., signed an agreement to become the exclusive supplier of outboard power to Robalo Boats, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Marine Products Corp. In addition, Yamaha will provide technical support designed to advance the boat company’s future growth.

“Yamaha brings value to the relationship by providing a product our customers can count on,” said Dave Sundin, Robalo marketing director, in a statement. “At the same time, its outboards are known for reliability, which is a great asset to our dealers and our customers.”

Wachovia is pulling out of marine loan business
Wachovia Dealer Services announced to dealers it was pulling out of the RV and marine financing business in a statement.

A letter distributed to dealers on Wachovia Dealer Services letterhead, obtained by Soundings Trade Only, said Wachovia officials had decided to stop accepting marine applications after Aug. 15.

“We will exit both the broker and the indirect dealer financial channels,” said the statement, which was signed by Bill Katafias, national production manager of Wachovia Dealer Services. “However, we will continue to service existing customers through our customer service and collections area.”

Katafias went on to say the “difficult decision” was prompted by expected shareholder return needed to sustain the line of business, the current economic cycle and the industry outlook for the near future.

Marine lending business dropped by Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank is exiting its specialized lending broker business, including boats and RVs.

“Current economic conditions require that we react to a rapidly changing and competitive landscape,” said Brad Conner, vice chairman of consumer finance, in a letter to specialized brokers.

Effective Aug. 21, Citizens Bank stopped accepting applications from brokers. All applications approved prior to this date will need to be submitted for funding no later than Oct. 21.

Citizens will continue to service existing customers through its customer service and portfolio management units, Conner wrote.

Chaparral, Robalo suffer 2Q sales drop
Marine Products Corp. reported a $12.1 million decline in net sales, or 17.9 percent, for the second quarter ended June 30, compared with the same period in 2007.

The change in net sales was comprised of a 24.8 percent decrease in the number of boats sold, partially offset by a 6.8 percent increase in average gross selling price per boat.

The decrease in net sales in the domestic market was partially offset by strong growth outside of the United States. In the second quarter of 2008, sales outside the U.S. accounted for about 38 percent of net sales compared to approximately 28 percent of net sales the prior year.

Net sales for the six months ended June 30 decreased $11.6 million, or 8.7 percent, compared to the same period in 2007. The change in net sales reflects a 16.6 percent decrease in the number of boats sold, offset by a 7.8 percent increase in average gross selling price per boat.

For the first six months of 2008, sales outside the United States accounted for about 35 percent of net sales compared to approximately 27 percent of net sales for the prior year.

Atlanta-based Marine Products, through its wholly owned subsidiaries Chaparral and Robalo, is a leading manufacturer of recreational fiberglass powerboats.

Aftermarket supplier Coast reports falloff in 2Q sales
Coast Distribution Systems reported net earnings of $1.6 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $41.2 million for the second quarter of 2008. For the same period of 2007, Coast reported net earnings of $1.5 million, or 33 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $50.8 million.

Morgan Hill, Calif.-based Coast is one of North America’s largest suppliers of aftermarket replacement parts, accessories and supplies for the marine, recreational vehicle and outdoor recreation industries.

Coast attributed the 18.9 percent year-over-year decline in sales during the quarter to decreased demand in the RV industry, coupled with decreased demand in the boating industry.

Coast reported net earnings of $711,000, or 16 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $80.7 million for the first six months of 2008, compared with net earnings of $873,000, or 19 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $94.5 million in the same period of 2007.

Coast supplies more than 14,000 products from 500 manufacturers through 17 distribution centers in the United States and Canada.

NMMA sets May 3-5 dates  for legislative conference
The National Marine Manufacturers Association announced next year’s American Boating Congress is scheduled for May 3-5.

ABC is a comprehensive two-day legislative conference that brings together recreational boating industry leaders to formulate public policy that impacts marine businesses.

American Boating Congress attendees will not only learn about regulatory issues and federal legislation that impact the marine industry, but will hear updates from experts about how these issues affect the bottom line.

For information, visit: www.nmma. org/government/abc.

This article originally appeared in the October 2008 issue.



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