For the Record: NMMA sees promise in biofuel alternative - Trade Only Today

For the Record: NMMA sees promise in biofuel alternative

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The National Marine Manufacturers Association has released findings from preliminary evaluations of isobutanol-gasoline blends supplied by Gevo that the association said could be a “promising biofuel alternative to E15.”

The tests were conducted by the NMMA and the American Boat and Yacht Council as the recreational boating industry explores alternative biofuels in response to the U.S. introduction of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol.

The NMMA and ABYC isobutanol evaluations tested components, including older fiberglass tanks, and engines during on-the-water testing on inboard, outboard, jet pump and two-stroke outboard engines. The tests showed that isobutanol produced no more emissions than pure EPA-approved test gasoline while producing 30 percent more energy than ethanol.

In a separate development, the U.S. Department of Energy designated isobutanol a “drop-in biofuel,” which means it can be used to displace petroleum under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and that increasing its use could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are pleased with the results of the evaluation on isobutanol and look forward to more testing on this and other important alternatives to E15,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement.

Marine lenders foresee slow growth in 2012

Lenders gathering for the annual National Marine Bankers Association conference in November described the last year as one of growing interest in loans, with a moderate increase in bookings through the early fall boat show season followed by a stall in mid-to-late October.

“This slowdown was likely precipitated by the global financial crisis and a related decline in consumer confidence,” the trade group said in a statement. “Looking ahead, lenders see slow growth in both boat loan demand and funding, static borrower standards and terms and interest rates continuing at historically low levels.”

Manufacturer wins verdict in prop accident trial

A jury in Reno, Nev., found in favor Nov. 21 of Outboard Marine Corp., which was sued by a woman in connection with injuries from a propeller accident in 2001.

The Propeller Guard Information Center, which covered the trial, said the jury found that the product was not unreasonably dangerous and did not fail to perform in the manner reasonably to be expected in light of its nature and intended function.

The woman was on Pyramid Lake in Washoe County, Nev., on Aug. 18, 2001, boating with her in-laws on their 19-foot Four Winns 1995 boat, which was powered by an OMC Cobra sterndrive.

Her son’s toy blew into the water. The owner of the boat drove to the toy, but the wind blew it behind the boat. The woman stepped onto the swim platform to retrieve it and fell in, according to the information center. The owner put the boat into reverse and the propeller seriously injured the woman, who lost a portion of her right leg.

FLIR division moves to New Hampshire

Extech Instruments recently relocated its headquarters to a new facility in Nashua, N.H., along with the Billerica, Mass., operations of its parent company, FLIR Systems’ Commercial Systems division.

Set to open in early 2012, the Nashua location will house the Eastern U.S. operations for FLIR’s Commercial Systems division and Raymarine, FLIR’s marine systems division, as well as administrative and corporate offices, customer service and technical support, marketing and sales, quality control, National Institute of Standards and Technology calibration laboratories, repair services and an extensive warehouse.

Aluminum-boat builder gets Coast Guard deal

Metal Shark Boats was awarded a $192 million contract in November to replace the Coast Guard’s fleet of response boat-small vessels.

As many as 470 boats will be delivered across the Coast Guard fleet. An additional 20 boats will be available to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and another 10 are slated for purchase by the Navy, according to the company.

The $192 million contract is one of the largest boat buys of its kind for the Coast Guard, and Metal Shark said it plans to expand its 65,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Jeanerette, La., while increasing its production team of skilled aluminum welders, rigging and electronics experts and installation professionals from 80 to 120 during the next six months.

Marquis adds orders for VEC module division

Marquis Yachts’ new division, Carver Manufacturing, is growing its product range, using its patented VEC technology. The manufacturer recently completed its fifth custom fiberglass module — a newly designed module for the Kingsford Charcoal Co., in conjunction with Wal-Mart.

Marquis started the new division last April to increase product range and manufacturing capacities. The company since has secured orders for custom modules tailor-made to meet customer specifications and commercial objectives. Clients to date include Kingsford, the Army, the National Guard, Straight Talk (a service provided by TracFone Wireless), Sony Corp. and Wal-Mart.

“This is a rapidly evolving and growing part of our business, as the opportunities for our VEC technology application and construction processes are endless,” company president Robert VanGrunsven said in a statement.

Manufacturer offers tips on fuel-tank rules

Late in the year, Moeller Marine was advising boatbuilders to consider the potential risks of failing to comply with new marine fuel tank regulations.

Non-compliance with Environmental Protection Agency and California state regulations dealing with evaporative emission requirements in marine fuel tanks and fuel systems could put builders at risk — “or out of business” — after the now-passed Jan. 1 deadline, according to Moeller.

“The major changes to fuel systems center around reducing the permeability of the fuel tank, eliminating open tank venting and reducing the potential for spillage during refueling,” says Gary Eich, director of operations for Moeller, which makes gas tanks for OEM and aftermarket applications.

“We believe the requirement is for barrier conversion to be 100 percent complete by Jan. 1, 2012. Further, conversions to diurnal systems need to be finished by July 1, 2012, based on our best available information. If your fuel systems are not compliant, you may not be able to deliver new boats after these dates.”

METS reports increase in attendance

The most recent Marine Equipment Trade Show and SuperYacht Pavilion, held in mid-November in Amsterdam, broke attendance records with 2 percent more visitors than last year, organizers say.

“In a year referred to by Theo Lingmont, director of international exhibitions for Amsterdam RAI, at the METS opening as one of ‘tough choices,’ the quality and quantity of visitors made for a vibrant, busy three days, leaving exhibitors with a sense of cautious optimism,” organizers said in a statement.

This year, 19,232 people attended, compared with 18,861 in 2010. There were slightly more exhibitors this year, too, with 1,331 companies taking part, compared with1,320 last year.

Yanmar debuts commercial engines

Yanmar America Corp. introduced a range of propulsion and auxiliary power high-speed commercial workboat diesel engines in November.

Offered in models from 350- to 1,800-hp, the engines create new commercial business opportunities throughout North and South America, according to Yanmar.

Compliant with the latest IMO Tier II emissions regulations, the engines offer efficient installation and maintenance access and are suitable for commercial applications that include offshore support vessels, fishing craft, ferries, tugs and other workboats.

“We have already sold a number of these high-speed commercial engines to operators in Panama for workboats, and in Venezuela and Trinidad for use in the oil fields,” Yanmar marine division manager Tom Watson said in a statement.

MRAA names officers, board members for 2012

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas in November named its new officers and board members.

David Foulkrod, of Ron Hoover RV & Marine, was re-elected chairman; Steve Baum, of Boat Owners Warehouse, was re-elected vice chairman; and Randy Wattenbarger, of Cleveland Boat Center, was re-elected secretary/treasurer.

Members also elected Joe Hoffmaster and Jim Thorpe as regional directors. Hoffmaster, of Hoffmaster’s Marine, is the director for region three. Thorpe, of Spring Brook Marina, will represent region six.

Four at-large directors were named to one-year terms. They are Rob Soucy, of Port Harbor Marine; Ken Cope, of Cope Marine; Nancy Smith, of Colorado Boat Center; and Ryan Herbert, of Texas Marine.

Foulkrod appointed Smith, Baum, Wattenbarger, Ed Lofgren, Joe Lewis and John Vallely Jr. to his executive committee.

Trinity Yachts launches 187-foot superyacht

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Trinity Yachts announced in November the launch of the Lady Linda, a 187-foot trideck semidisplacement custom-built aluminum superyacht.

Lady Linda’s “minimal” 8-foot draft allows her access to shallow-water ports and destinations that generally are unavailable to yachts of similar length and size.

The $50 million yacht is equipped with a davit designed for a rescue tender, a personal watercraft and water toys and is set for delivery in early 2012.

Trade group honors NMMA boat shows

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events announced in November its Top Public Events for 2011, including three of the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s boat and sportshows.

The Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow, the Miami International Boat Show and the Minneapolis Boat Show were honored in the Established Events category.

“We’re honored to receive IAEE’s prestigious award for three NMMA boat and sportshows. Instead of retrenching during the recession we looked for opportunities to make changes to adapt for today’s consumer, and it’s paying off,” NMMA executive vice president Ben Wold said in a statement.

IAEE launched the recognition program in June to honor the best events around the world with two categories: Established Events and New Launches.

Among the criteria measured were event demographics, best practices, customer service initiatives, employee training and motivation, innovations in marketing and exhibitor and attendee support.

Hanse Yachts has new majority owner

Aurelius AG now holds 72.5 percent of the shares of Germany-based Hanse Yachts AG, the company announced in early November.

Hanse Yachts AG was founded in 1990, and in the last 21 years it has established itself as the third-largest production-line builder of sailing yachts worldwide.

“Thanks to the overall economic recovery and successful introduction of new and innovative models, Hanse Yachts has nevertheless been able once again to gain significant additional market share and to improve its results for fiscal year 2010/2011,” the company said in a statement.

This article originally appeared in the January 2012 issue.

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