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Florida county sees marine industry revival

The marine industry in Brevard County, Florida — once decimated by the recession — seems to be rebounding.

Canadian company Roswell Global has moved into the empty building left behind by Spartech Corp., a supplier of marine products such as boat doors and latches.

Roswell chose the location in Rockledge to be near its Central Florida boatbuilding customers, as well as for access to skilled workers in the area, according to Florida Today.

"Rockledge is the ideal setting for business and growth in the marine segment," Roswell Global CEO Robert Oswell told Florida Today. "With a strong labor pool and skilled work force, the area is well positioned to support our business."

Florida Today says the move is indicative of a growing marine services industry that for the most part has sailed nearly unnoticed through the Brevard County economy as the aerospace and aviation industries have generated most of the headlines during the past several months.

Earlier this month, the Brevard County Commission approved, by a 3-1 vote, a $1.16 million, 10-year economic incentive package for a yacht maker to start operations at the former Sea Ray Boats plant on Merritt Island.

The yet-to-be-named company said it would create 380 jobs by 2018 with an average wage of $45,000 and make a $16.2 million capital investment in new equipment at the plant if it decides on the Merritt Island site.

Despite Sea Ray closing its Merritt Island plant, many former Sea Ray workers remain in Brevard. The local talent pool includes assemblers, fabricators, gelcoaters, laminators and technicians.

"You have a nice situation with transport and access on Interstate 95 and you have a good pool of trained workers with all these boat factories that are nearby," said Scott Lewit of Structural Composites, who has picked up a few former Sea Ray workers for his companies.

"The environment is perfect for growth, and we love the county," said Oswell at Roswell Global. "We are here to expand and headquarter our global marine operation and create jobs. Brevard is well positioned to support any business looking to expand the marine segment, locally or internationally."

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