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For the Record: Yamaha says it will defer dealer interest payments

Yamaha Marine Group announced an interest-deferral program that will allow dealerships to conserve cash flow through the winter months.


“We’ve never done anything like this, but these are unprecedented times,” Yamaha Marine Group president Phil Dyskow told Soundings Trade Only.

Authorized participating outboard dealers can defer the interest due on eligible boxed Yamaha engines in inventory already under interest payment to GE-Atlanta as of Nov. 25. The program will “defer bill” the interest on qualified boxed inventory for November, December, January and February, so the interest doesn’t have to be paid until July 15. Participating dealers’ normal interest program will begin again March 1.

“During these tough times, we know interest expenses on unsold inventory are a challenge for our dealers,” Dyskow said. “At the recent MRAA conference, many dealers challenged manufacturers to do something to help. Well, this is Yamaha’s answer.”

As a retail incentive for boat-show season, Yamaha also will apply an interest credit to dealers’ GE-Atlanta accounts for eligible Yamaha outboards sold, retail-registered and paid off in full to GE-Atlanta during the applicable deadlines.

Yamaha Boat Companies — Skeeter, G3 and Century — will also offer an interest-deferral program to their dealers for eligible boats in inventory, based on similar terms and conditions.

To be authorized to participate, eligible Yamaha full-line dealers had to sign up for the program on or before Dec. 15.

Report: Recession enters its second year
The U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007, confirming what many already have thought about the economy.

When the economy peaked in December 2007, it marked the end of the expansion that began in November 2001, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. The expansion lasted 73 months, compared to the 120-month expansion in the 1990s, according to the NBER.

The NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee, which met Nov. 28 via conference call, based its assessment primarily on domestic production and employment levels. Employment peaked in December 2007 and has been declining every month since. Production levels began falling in the last quarter of 2007, rose slightly in the first two quarters of 2008, and began falling again in the third quarter.

Volvo Penta sees large demand for pod drives
More than a dozen boatbuilders plan to equip boats with Volvo Penta’s new, more powerful pod-drive system with joystick steering — the IPS800 and IPS900, or “IPS 2,” according to the engine manufacturer. The new Lazzara LSX 92, which will be on display Feb. 12-16 at the Miami International Boat Show, is powered with four 700-hp IPS900s.

“Besides Lazzara, we have an additional 12 IPS900 projects in various states of completion,” says Volvo Penta senior press coordinator Susan Lee.

The company says only four other builders have made the news official. Twin IPS900s will power new 49- and 57-foot express fishermen from Spencer Yachts and a 54-foot Ritchie Howell Express. Triple IPS900s will power the Sculley 54-foot convertible and the Freedom 56 Convertible.

“It’s progress,” says Paul Spencer, founder and owner of sportfishing-yacht builder Spencer Yachts in Wanchese, N.C. “I believe if you’re not trying to do something better, then you’re not doing your best job.”

Until now, IPS engines have been Volvo Penta 4- and 6-liter diesels with a maximum of 435 hp. The IPS lineup included five different models using diesel power from 260 to 435 hp: IPS350 (260 hp), IPS400 (300 hp), IPS450 (330 hp), IPS500 (370 hp) and IPS600 (435 hp). The engine manufacturer also offers two gas versions: the IPS500G (375 hp) and IPS550G (400 hp).

Volvo’s 11-liter D11 diesels provide the power for the IPS800 (600 hp) and IPS900 (700 hp). The pods, the drives and the props are all new — and around 20 percent larger, according to Lee. “Not a single component from the previous IPS has been reused in the IPS 2 pod,” she said.

Austrian engine maker wins top prize at METS
At the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS), held Nov. 17-20 in Amsterdam, the jury of the DAME Awards presented its top prize to Steyr Motors GmbH for its hybrid propulsion system, which allows a yacht to operate in any of four modes.


The system can be used to start the engine, eliminating the need for a starter motor; as a generator to charge the vessel’s batteries; in the cruise mode under electric power at speeds up to 5 knots; and in the “boost” mode to get the boat on plane.

The best part of this product, according to the jury, is that the additional generator/motor adds only 4.2 inches to the overall length of the engine and an additional 165 pounds of weight, yet it produces an output of 7kW at 48 volts. The electric control unit uses CAN bus protocol to monitor and regulate the engine in each mode, thus allowing it to be linked to other “smart” engine controls.

“The jury felt this trendsetting product will have a significant influence on boating in the next few years,” according to a statement from Amsterdam RAI, which produces the annual Marine Equipment Trade Show where the DAME awards are presented

Category DAME Award winners included:

• Marine electronics: MR F3000 BT EU Waterproof Bluetooth Handset from Cobra
• Interior equipment, furnishings, materials and electrical fittings used in cabins: Tecma Privilege Toilet and Bidet
• Deck equipment, sails and rigging: Ronstan Series 40 Orbit Blocks
• Clothing and crew accessories: Henri Lloyd TP2 Shadow 2G Jacket
• Marine-related software: Navionics Mobile

METS producers say show attendance of 18,485 was down 6 percent from the 19,764 who came to the 20th anniversary show in 2007. However, 2008 attendance was up 10 percent from 2006. The 2009 show is scheduled for Nov. 17-19.


Retired Brunswick exec will lead Hatteras
William Naumann is coming out of retirement to head up the Hatteras Collection as part of several organizational changes at Brunswick Corp.

Naumann, who retired from Hatteras in 2006, was named chairman of the Brunswick subsidiary. His responsibilities include strengthening relations with dealers, customers and suppliers, and overseeing government and public affairs for Hatteras.

“His experience and knowledge of Hatteras’ unique legacy will be a major asset as we deal with these tough economic times,” said Dustan McCoy, chairman and CEO of Brunswick, in a statement.

James Meyer was named president of the Hatteras Collection, replacing Keri Theophilus. Meyer formerly served as vice president of product development, supply chain and business integration for the Brunswick Boat Group.

Theophilus has accepted a new assignment in Brunswick International.

Merrill-Stevens closing its sales division
In order to focus on its core repair and refit business, Merrill-Stevens will shut down its yacht sales and charter divisions.

The company’s plans include an expanded and modernized megayacht repair/refit and maintenance shipyard.


“The Fort Lauderdale yacht sales division experienced some success during its three-year operation,” the company said in a statement. “However, competing yacht brokers and yacht management firms were oftentimes hesitant to refer their clients to the shipyard in the face of possible competition from an in-house sales brokerage division.”

Some administrative staff will transfer to the shipyard and four positions are being eliminated. Appropriate severance and any transitional assistance requested will be provided, the company said.

“The long-range future of the mega-yacht industry is strong,” says Hugh Westbrook, co-owner and chairman of the company. “Even with the unpredictability of the world economy, megayacht demand and construction worldwide remains on schedule. Our plans for an expanded and modernized megayacht repair/refit and maintenance shipyard will continue.”

Merrill-Stevens was founded in 1885 and has operated at its present site on the Miami River since 1923.

Outboard manufacturer extending warranties
Mercury Marine is offering extended warranties as part of its “5 & Drive” sales event.
U.S. customers who purchase a qualifying Mercury outboard from a participating dealer until April 15 will receive up to a five-year limited factory-backed, non-declining warranty.
The offer applies to the following Mercury products: All 25- to 300-hp 4-strokes including Verado and Jet engines; all OptiMax engines including Pro XS and Jet models; all OptiMax Jet Drive engines; 150-hp 2-stroke engines; and all 50-hp and 90-hp 2-stroke engines.
Dealers can register any qualifying Mercury outboard sold between Sept. 1, 2008, and April 15, 2009.

Brunswick closing Maryland Trophy plant
Brunswick Corp. plans to close its Cumberland, Md., plant and transfer production of Trophy offshore fishing boats to a plant in Ashland City, Tenn.

Manufacturing ceased at the Maryland plant in December, and about 115 production and support positions were eliminated.

The Cumberland plant also observed three weeks of furlough, during which time all boat production was temporarily stopped while the phase-out was completed, according to company officials.

“As we deal with the global economic downturn and its impact on recreational marine markets, we are continuing to shrink our North American manufacturing footprint,” Brunswick chairman and CEO Dustan E. McCoy said in a statement. “This decision is no reflection upon the Cumberland work force or product, but the result of our need to develop a more efficient manufacturing footprint.”

In the last two years, Lake Forest, Ill.-based Brunswick has closed 12 other North American boatbuilding plants.

East Coast speed limits initiated
New speed regulations went into effect in December aimed at reducing ship strikes with endangered North Atlantic right whales.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued guidance regarding the implementation of the speed restrictions, which apply to vessels 65 feet and larger in certain areas along the East Coast.

All vessels 65 feet or larger in the U.S. or entering or departing a U.S. port along the Eastern Seaboard will soon be subject to a 10-knot speed restriction at certain times of the year in certain locations for the protection of North Atlantic right whales, according to NOAA.

These endangered species spend most of the year in coastal waters from Canada to Florida and collisions with vessels pose a significant threat to their population recovery. NOAA estimates two North Atlantic right whales are killed by ship strikes each year; their total numbers are estimated to be 300 to 400.

Studies have shown the severity of injury to a whale and a vessel’s crew can be reduced when the speed is 10 knots or less. Nearly all accidents resulting in major damage occurred when the vessel was traveling above 10 knots, according to the report. U.S. government vessels are exempt from these restrictions, as well as state law enforcement vessels engaged in enforcement or search-and-rescue activities.

Feds ease up on proposed shipping restrictions
The federal government is easing up on trade regulations the marine industry says would have created a costly burden for U.S. manufacturers.

The proposed regulation, “10+2,” would have required importers to report additional security filing data on cargo destined for the United States 24 hours prior to the cargo shipping date, before much of the data would be available. This would have created supply chain delays and higher implementation costs for U.S. marine manufacturers, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

“ ‘10+2’ had the potential to significantly damage the boating industry by restricting trade from moving freely during a time when so many in our industry are already struggling as a result of the economic climate,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement.

After receiving input from the NMMA and other industry groups, U.S. Customs and Border Protection modified the proposed rule to make it more flexible. The rule now provides an interim six-month test period wherein the best possible scenario for providing data elements can be determined. As a result, manufacturers will submit data elements that are the most difficult to collect as soon as they are available.

Wayne Huizenga Jr. will keynote IMBC
Rybovich chairman Wayne Huizenga Jr. will give the keynote presentation at the Jan. 25-28 International Marina & Boatyard Conference.

Huizenga, the son of the Miami Dolphins owner, will focus on where the marina industry is headed and how to take marinas into the future. Topics will include the growth of marina management companies, trends in the size of boats and marinas to accommodate them, and future trends such as destination resorts with luxury amenities to serve high-end clients.

The keynote presentation begins the educational portion of the IMBC Jan. 26 at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.

MRAA honors three for Clean Boating Act
The Marine Retailers Association of America recently honored U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Reps. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) with its annual Legislative Awards.
The awards were presented during the MRAA’s annual convention last month in Las Vegas.

The MRAA says the three legislators were instrumental in the passage of the Clean Boating Act of 2008, which exempts recreational boats from discharge permits required by the Clean Water Act. A September 2006 U.S. District Court ruling had nullified a long-standing exemption for recreational boats and would have required the Environmental Protection Agency to institute permitting requirements for boaters.

“MRAA is proud to honor these three members of Congress for their outstanding support of marine retailing and for their hard work to pass S.2766, The Clean Boating Act of 2008,” MRAA president Phil Keeter said in a statement.

This article originally appeared in the January 2009 issue.



Industry Mourns Cruisers Yachts Owner

K.C. Stock, who was 84, was known for his “commitment to the employees at Cruisers Yachts.”


Grand Banks Purchases Florida Property

The parcel, which is opposite the company’s Stuart yard, has berths for up to nine boats and will increase service capabilities.


Limestone Boat Co. Posts Q3 Results

Unit production was down compared with the second quarter, and revenues decreased 33%.


Yamaha Dealers Now Carry Siren Systems

Siren Marine’s “Connected Boat” technology can be purchased and installed at more than 2,100 Yamaha outboard dealers.


Northpoint Expands Marine Presence

Northpoint Commercial Finance has partnered with Elite Recreational Finance to offer retail financing.


BRP Reports 71% Increase in Q3 Revenues

The Sea-Doo manufacturer had total revenue of $2.7 billion, but North American marine retail sales were down 47%.


Airmar Announces Training Dates

Certified Installer and SmartBoat system classes are being held this month in New Jersey and next year in New Hampshire.


The Survey Says …

Surveying customers to find out what they think about your business has never been more important.


Marine Development Inc. Changes Hands

Mick Webber, the former president/CEO and owner of HydroHoist, has purchased the company from its founders.