Industry insiders looking for positive business signs can find them at two Maine yards. The Hinckley Company reports an increase in orders and is preparing to rehire some of the employees who have been furloughed because of a lack of sales.
"We will have about 85 people companywide that we will be calling back within the next few months," Phil Bennett, the Maine boatbuilder's senior sales director, told the Mount Desert Islander in mid-October.
The jobs will be in almost every facet of the business, including laminates, carpentry, paint and finish, as well as workers returning to the service yards, according to the report.
A week later, Morris Yachts announced it will be able to rehire laid-off workers thanks to a multimillion-dollar contract. The boatbuilder reports it will bring its employee numbers back to prelayoff levels with the contract, under which it will build Leadership 44 sailboats for the Coast Guard Academy.
"This is a very prestigious and timely contract for Morris Yachts," the company said in a statement. "Secondly, it allows Morris to bring back as many as 20 of our skilled workers who were furloughed this summer due to economic times."
Mechanics, electricians, carpenters and composite craftsmen will be rehired this fall, the company said. The Coast Guard hopes to build as many as eight boats - one for each cadet company.
BRP secures contract for multifuel engines
BRP was awarded a $10 million contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for its Evinrude multifuel engines.
The Evinrude 55 MFE engines, with an impeller-equipped jet model pump, will repower the fleet of F470 Zodiac boats/Combat Rubber Raiding Craft used during small craft operations.
Evinrude MFE engines, built on the Evinrude E-TEC technology, are designed for flexible use of multiple fuels in demanding mission applications and are capable of running on kerosene, aviation fuels and standard gasoline. The engine's fuel selection can be changed with the flip of a switch, without compromising performance. In addition to the impeller-equipped pump jet model, it is also available in a conventional propeller-ready gear case.
Built to specific military specifications, the pump jet is a large impeller unit attached to a full gear case that provides superior thrust and performance to conventional jet pumps.
The delivery of engines began in early October and will be completed by the end of January.
BRP's Evinrude E-TEC engine lineup now includes 110 engine models from 25 hp to 300 hp.
Ski-boat builder launches new line on the Web
Nautique unveiled its new 2010 models on a redesigned Web site.
This year, the fleet includes the new Ski Nautique 200, Crossover Nautique 226 and the saltwater-capable Coastal Edition package. Nautique's new features include the Flight Control Tower 4, the Nautique LINC System and new gelcoat options.
The ski boat manufacturer also launched its Nautique Nation VIP Access program.
This program will allow select Nautique VIPs to experience Nautique firsthand at the company's headquarters in Orlando, Fla.
From Oct. 15 through March 15, prospective Nautique buyers have the opportunity to receive the "celebrity treatment" at Nautique's facilities, test-drive 2010 model-year boats on one of the Nautique private lakes, receive an exclusive interactive plant tour, meet the management team and more.
"While the rest of the United States and Canada are experiencing cold weather during the winter months, the Nautique team here in Orlando is fortunate to be able to enjoy time on the water in our Nautique boats all year round," Correct Craft president/CEO Bill Yeargin said in a statement.
On Oct. 20, Nautique held a celebration at its Orlando, Fla., facility to mark 85 years of boatbuilding.
Volvo, MerCruiser will supply big-block power
Volvo Penta is offering an uninterrupted supply of its 8.1-liter big-block power for all of 2010, and Mercury MerCruiser has developed the "next generation of big-block marine propulsion," an 8.2-liter engine with improved power and acceleration, lower emissions and better fuel efficiency.
Despite plans by General Motors to stop production of its 8.1-liter engine blocks, Volvo Penta has worked with GM to ensure its ability to supply customers with the popular 8.1-liter engines for sterndrive and IPS applications, the manufacturer said in a statement.
"Just as the industry is beginning to show positive signs of sales recovery, we recognize that now is not the time to be making disruptive changes to our big-block power options," said Bob Apple, senior vice president of sales and marketing, in a statement.
"With that in mind, we have worked very closely with General Motors, the supplier of the 8.1-liter block, and taken a very aggressive supply and inventory position to be sure our global customers can continue with uninterrupted supply of this important power range," he added.
The 8.1 engine package also includes "Penta Protection," which consists of a two-year Volvo Penta factory limited warranty and a three-year Volvo Penta Extended Protection limited warranty that provides coverage for mechanical problems that may occur following the expiration of the Volvo Penta limited factory warranty.
Mercury MerCruiser says its 8.2-liter will deliver 380 hp and its H.O. model will deliver 430 hp on 87 octane gas.
"Not only did the team achieve superior performance while adding a catalyst, they maintained fuel efficiency and improved serviceability without adding cost," said Derric Drake, program manager on the Stillwater, Okla.-based project.
Power cat builders team up for new line
Power catamaran manufacturers World Cat and Glacier Bay have joined to develop a line of 17- to 25-foot entry-level boats to debut next spring.
To promote the venture, Glacier Bay announced a fall factory incentive program that offers $5,000 toward any 2010 26-foot Glacier Bay cat. To qualify, the purchase must be completed by Dec. 15.
The company is also launching a campaign to educate customers about the advantages of catamarans and their investment value.
"Our goal is to grow the catamaran niche in the U.S., and I know we can achieve this goal. We have a strong company, a great message, a broad product line and, most importantly, we have a customer base that's passionate about telling our story," Chris Brockway, president of Glacier Bay, said in a statement.
A new iPhone app for boat buying
Boat Trader released an iPhone application that puts more than 100,000 new and used boats, yachts, sailboats and personal watercraft at shoppers' fingertips. The free application can be downloaded from the lifestyle section of the iTunes Store by searching the keyword "Boat Trader."
The new Boat Trader iPhone app is GPS-sensitive, allowing boat shoppers to quickly find nearby boats for sale. The search tool allows users to search for boats by type, new or used condition, price range and model year in a specific zip code or by location. The application also saves the user's recent searches and vehicles viewed to make finding boats even easier.
"Our users are becoming more mobile. A recent Boat Trader survey showed that nearly one third of our customers use their mobile device for Web browsing 'all the time,' while 55 percent of respondents use their mobile phones for text messaging," said Courtney Chalmers, brand manager of Boat Trader, in a statement.
Boat Trader and Soundings Publications are divisions of Dominion Enterprises.
IBEX reports drop in attendance
Organizers of the International BoatBuilders' Exposition and Conference reported an estimated 31 percent drop in attendance this year compared to 2008. Actual attendance figures were not immediately available.
Despite the drop, organizers said many exhibitors were pleased with the quality of attendees at the three-day event, which ran Oct. 12-14 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
"Feedback from the show floor suggests boat and accessory production is picking back up and orders were being placed, as well as an enthusiasm for the new, more cost-effective Louisville location for IBEX 2010," said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, co-producer of IBEX.
IBEX moves to Louisville, Ky., next year and will be held there for at least three years. Next year's show, set for Sept. 28-30 at the Kentucky Exposition Center, also will feature a component from the defunct Marine Accessories Aftermarket Trade Show.
In addition to a drop in attendees, exhibitor numbers were down, with around 500 at the show.
Technology group to buy beacon manufacturer
Orolia and Digital Angel announced they have entered into an agreement for Orolia to purchase emergency beacon manufacturer McMurdo, a Digital Angel unit based in the United Kingdom, for $10 million cash.
Key terms of the transaction include $1.5 million to be held in escrow for up to 12 months to cover post-closing claims, warranties or indemnities.
A closing on the transaction was scheduled for Nov. 20.
"This transaction marks an important step toward focusing Digital Angel on a single core business, simultaneously giving us the ability to pay off our term debt and improve our working capital position," Digital Angel CEO and president Joseph J. Grillo said in a statement.
"This acquisition represents continued execution of our growth strategy to acquire and build technology businesses in positioning, navigation and timing," said Jean-Yves Courtois, Orolia chairman and CEO, in a statement.
Surveyor group names officers
The Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors has elected new officers to serve during 2010. George Gallup, of Lynn, Mass., was named president; Joseph Lobley, of Waldoboro, Maine, executive vice president; and Stuart McLea, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, secretary/treasurer. Also named as vice presidents were James Wood, of Morro Bay, Calif.; Lloyd Kittredge, of Chesterton, Ind.; Kenneth Weinbrecht, of Yaphank, N.Y.; Alison Mazon, of Portland, Ore.; and Thomas Benton, of Ketchum, Okla.
SNAME hands out awards
Four individuals were recognized by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers for their contributions to the field.
The Vice Admiral "Jerry" Land Medal was given to Robert D. Somerville, chairman and CEO of the American Bureau of Shipping. The David W. Taylor Medal was presented to Joseph P. Fischer, president of Bay Engineering. The William H. Webb Medal was presented to William S. Vorus, chairman of the school of naval architecture and marine engineering at the University of New Orleans. And the Blakely Smith Medal was given to Dietmar R. Deter, owner of Nautex Inc.
Boating law group names president
Georgia boating law administrator Terry West was named president of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators for the 2009-10 year.
West succeeds Capt. Richard Moore, Florida's boating law administrator.
West served as NASBLA treasurer for the 2006-07 fiscal year and again for 2007-08. He was elected vice president for 2008-09 and has chaired NASBLA's law enforcement and conference committees.
He has been with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Law Enforcement Division since 1985, and currently serves as acting assistant director of Georgia's Wildlife Resources Division.
Everglades delivers law enforcement boat
Everglades' commercial and government division recently delivered its second commercial law enforcement vessel since entering that market segment just four months ago. The 21 CC was sold to the Goodhue County Sheriff's Department in southeast Minnesota, where it will be in service in the Mississippi River and Lake Byllesby.
"Our first commercial prototype, the 35 Full Pilot, generated interest worldwide, and we are beginning to see returns on that initial investment," said company president Stephen Dougherty. "Our production and engineering facilities are a perfect fit for a wide variety of custom boat applications."
Marina developers, managers team up
G-Marin of Malta and Island Global Yachting, developers and managers of luxury marinas and yachting lifestyle destinations, announced a new strategic relationship.
G-Marin is creating a new company to oversee all marina development and operations in the Middle East and North Africa at a level consistent with IGY's standards. It will be based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is now seeking marina development, investment and managing opportunities in the region.
The new alliance will not impact IGY's operations in the Americas, Caribbean, or Europe, the company said, but it will encompass the company's interests in Dubai and current and future projects in the Middle East and North Africa.
NMEA announces award winners
The National Marine Electronics Association presented awards at its 2009 NMEA Convention & Expo, held in early October in Fort Myers, Fla.
Simrad's BR24 Broadband Radar was named the first recipient of a new NMEA Technology Award by an independent panel of judges from Boating Writers International. The purpose of the new award is to recognize recently introduced products and single out the "best" based on a combination of innovative design, benefits to boaters, practicality and value. Simrad's BR24 Broadband Radar won in a field of 14 nominated products.
Two honorable mentions were also granted, the first for the N2K Builder by Maretron, and the second for the Navionics Mobile iPhone application. Manufacturer of the Year (support) was Furuno USA.
Marine security firm buys larger facility
Paradox Marine recently purchased a larger facility in Fort Lauderdale.
The new location will serve as the global headquarters for Paradox, said president and CEO Jay Keenan.
Paradox specializes in boat security systems, such as Marine Magellan, Nav-Tracker and Marine WatchMate.
The new location is at 1200 N.E. 7th Ave. in Fort Lauderdale.
Engineering compliance seminar scheduled
The 2009 Engineering Compliance Seminar, part of the National Marine Manufacturers Association's certification program, will be held Dec. 7-9 in Nashville, Tenn.
The seminar will highlight changes to the existing American Boat and Yacht Council standards required for compliance with the NMMA Boat & Yacht Certification program for the 2011 model-year products.
For information on registration, visit www.nmma.org/certification.
This article originally appeared in the December 2009 issue.