The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the first applications for the registration of ethanol for use in making gasoline that contains up to 15 percent ethanol. The action brings us “another step closer to consumers being confused by the offering of E15 at their local gas station,” according to Cindy Squires, chief counsel for public affairs and director of regulatory affairs for the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
Registration of ethanol to make E15 is a significant step toward its production, sale and use in model-year 2001 and newer gasoline-fueled cars and light trucks,” the EPA said in a statement.
To enable widespread use of E15, the Obama administration has set a goal to help fueling station owners install 10,000 blender pumps during the next five years. In addition, through the Recovery Act and the 2008 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have provided grants, loans and loan guarantees to spur “American ingenuity on the next generation of biofuels,” according to the federal agency.
Registration is a prerequisite to introducing E15 into the marketplace. Before it can be sold, manufacturers must take additional measures to help ensure that retail stations and other gasoline distributors understand and implement labeling rules and other E15-related requirements.
The EPA is not requiring the use or sale of E15, and it is not permitted for use in motor vehicles built prior to the 2001 model year and in off-road vehicles and equipment such as boats and lawn and garden equipment.
The NMMA and other industry groups oppose E15, saying it can too easily find its way into boat engines and other engines for which it was not designed. Studies have shown that E15 can harm marine engines.
“It is difficult to say when the first E15 pumps will be operational, but given the speed in which EPA is working to complete the steps it is possible that in the next year or two we could see the first pumps appear in a few states,” Squires said in an e-mail to Soundings Trade Only. “Of course, this whole E15 experiment could take a completely different turn if the court overturns the EPA waiver and sends the agency back to the drawing board.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit was to hear oral arguments April 17 in the NMMA’s case challenging the EPA action. Squires says she is “hopeful” the court will issue its ruling soon after that.
West Marine CEO plans to step down
West Marine announced that president and chief executive officer Geoff Eisenberg will resign once a new president/CEO is appointed.
Following a leadership transition period, Eisenberg, 59, will serve as a special adviser to the West Marine board of directors, the company said.
“On behalf of the board of directors I thank Geoff for his dedicated, skilled and effective leadership,” board chairman and company founder Randy Repass said in a statement. “He led us from a difficult chapter in the company’s history to where we find ourselves today; a very strong West Marine that is securely positioned for future growth. As the result of his leadership, along with the outstanding efforts of our 4,000-plus associates, virtually every measure of financial and non-financial performance has significantly improved.”
West Marine has already initiated the search for a new CEO, and Repass says internal candidates will be considered as well as people from outside the company. “We have no specific time frame in which to fill the position,” Repass says. “The key is to find someone who can successfully build on the strong platform Geoff and the team have created.”
Eisenberg, who served the company in senior executive positions for much of the last 36 years, says, “It has been an honor to lead West Marine. The progress we’ve made on behalf of customers, associates and shareholders has been realized because of the dedicated and professional performance of our remarkable team. Whether it’s the development of our brand, our culture or our financials, collectively we’ve been able to earn very good results in the short term while preparing for the long term. Now I look forward to seeing my successor work to achieve an even higher level of success.”
Nautique debuts new wakeboat
Nautique introduced its next-generation Super Air Nautique G23 wakeboat. The G23 features the new Nautique Configurable Running Surface, which fine-tunes the hull surface under any condition, using the latest technology in the Nautique LINC system.
“Every inch of the boat’s hull was designed to create a wake that will work for every level of riding at any speed and line length without sacrificing a clean lip, long transitions and solid pop,” the company says. “Additionally, with over 2,800 pounds of sub-floor internal ballast, the G23 offers you maximum ballast with maximum storage and a world-class wake without the need for additional weight.”
The long list of new features in the G23 includes integrated, custom-designed navigation and docking light arrays with LED lights; a bow design offering deep, comfortable seating; a removable in-floor transom cooler; the functional Flight Control Tower; dynamic, “aggressive” hull-side graphics and gelcoat pattern; a reversible stern seat with a convenient slide mechanism; and Nau-Teak flooring throughout the boat.
“The revolutionary new Super Air Nautique G23 is a result of years of hard work by our elite team of athletes and product development team. The G23 will advance the wake industry in ways far beyond what anyone thought possible,” says Bill Yeargin, CEO of Correct Craft, which builds the Nautique line.
Dredging set to start on South Florida canal
Dredging was to begin in April on the Dania Cutoff Canal that could mean more money coming into South Florida.
After nearly 15 years of planning and permitting, the $6.5 million yearlong project will deepen the canal’s water to allow massive megayachts passage to inland shipyards. There they will undergo service jobs that could last weeks or months, cost millions and compete with other repair facilities around the world, the Sun Sentinel newspaper reported.
The dredging of a mile-long stretch of the canal is part of an areawide waterway dredging plan that a study shows will boost the economies of Broward and Palm Beach counties by $18 million a year.
The project will deepen the canal from 10 feet to 17, giving megayachts access to a half-dozen shipyards along the waterway. Repair or maintenance work on such yachts can cost from $2 million to $10 million, says David Roach, director of the Florida Inland Navigation District, the major funder for the project. Previously, larger megayachts couldn’t motor to the shipyards because of the canal’s shallow draft.
Deal near for recycling of abandoned boats
American Fiber Green Products said in March that negotiations are advancing on a possible joint venture with Florida partners to facilitate the recycling of abandoned and salvage boats from Florida rivers and tributaries and the Gulf of Mexico.
More than 100 acres of land have been identified in west-central Florida to accommodate a fiberglass boat recycling operation, according to Ken McCleave, chairman of the board of American Fiber Green Products. The property’s owner has agreed to make the property available in conjunction with a third entity equipped with barges and other equipment required to raise the Coast Guard-estimated 9,000 boats that lie in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
“Florida, like many other states, struggles with the number of boats left abandoned, both in the waterways and on land,” McCleave said in a statement. “Our ability to process fiberglass and recycle to new marketable products will be the catalyst to a successful business venture.”
It is anticipated that a boat recycling depot can be operating in the next 60 to 90 days. Many states have funds earmarked for abandoned boat programs.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and other storms, our coastal states have been littered with thousands of boats,” company president Daniel Hefner says. “In the cleanup after the storm, salvagers stripped boats of their valuable electronics and metals, leaving the fiberglass shells behind as eyesores to the landscape and hazards in the shallow waterways.”
Torqeedo obtains Bosch Group capital
Electric outboard manufacturer Torqeedo says the venture arm of the Bosch Group has invested in the company.
Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH acquired a minority share in Torqeedo, and the company said the financing will help Torqeedo accelerate its growth and continue to develop its range of products.
“Having Bosch’s expertise in electric-mobility within the shareholder base can’t be valued highly enough and is something that all of our customers will benefit from,” Torqeedo co-founder and CEO Christoph Ballin said in a statement.
Existing investors participated in the financing alongside the venture company, Torqeedo says.
“Torqeedo is in an excellent global position to drive marine electric-mobility forward,” Dieter Kraft, an investment partner from Robert Bosch Venture Capital, said in a statement.
EdgeWater debuts its first diesel model
EdgeWater Power Boats has developed its first diesel model — the 228CCD — powered by a fuel-efficient 180-hp Yanmar 4BY2 from Mastry Engine Center, the boatbuilder announced.
“While we’ve traditionally featured outboard power, the 228CCD evolved from a custom gas sterndrive project for a British Columbia fishing lodge,” EdgeWater president Peter Truslow said in a statement. “It made us think about alternative power choices and opportunities for superior fuel efficiency. We trust Mastry and have a great comfort level with them. Many of our dealers worldwide say Yanmar is the preferred diesel engine.”
The EdgeWater 228CCD combines a fishing-friendly layout with rough-water handling. Seating includes a leaning post with storage below and an aft-facing seat above the engine. An unobstructed transom and a full-width swim platform appeal to anglers and divers.
“There is a niche of people who want EdgeWater styling and are already fans of the dependability, durability and fuel efficiency of diesels,” Truslow says. “But we’ve also found a new market of larger boat owners who, due to gas prices, want something simpler to run around in. We’ve built many custom boats, and the 228CCD is an entryway to explore concepts for other fuel-efficient models.”
Burger Boat to build new Seaton Yachts model
Seaton Yachts and Burger Boat Co. announced plans to develop and market the Seaton Expedition Eighty-Three.
The Eighty-Three is designed for ocean service, with the range to cross any ocean at 10 to 12 knots. Commercially rated diesel engines provide for extended cruising in remote areas. The yacht will have a trideck configuration and is designed to be operated and maintained solely by the owner, but it offers self-contained crew quarters for owners who choose to have crew.
The main deck will feature full walkaround side decks and high, solid bulwarks. Watertight exterior doors, heavy-duty windows and big-ship features, such as automatic tank vent closures, are included, Seaton says. The foredeck houses a large primary tender and a small flotilla of waterborne toys and shore-going necessities such as motorbikes.
Yamaha sells Century Boats
Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. said in March that it sold a majority of the assets of Century Boats and the Century brand to Florida-based Allcraft Marine.
The new owners plan to resume production of Century brand boats at their Dade City, Fla., facility. Allcraft builds and markets two fiberglass lines — Allcraft and Stumpnocker.
The sale includes the brand and all remaining molds and equipment. It does not include the former Century production facility in Panama City, Fla. Terms of the deal were not released.
Yamaha discontinued Century production in December 2009 to focus on core operations. It purchased Century in 1995 as part of a strategic plan to grow market share for its outboard motors in the offshore category. Annual sales for Century peaked in 2007 at more than 1,000 boats annually.
This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue.