Industry mourns famed pontoon boat designer

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Fred Cotey, an icon in the marine industry who helped develop changes in pontoon design, performance, safety standards and engineering, died Tuesday. He was 78.

“Fred’s vision and work within the industry will be greatly missed, but the standards he set will carry on to future generations of boaters,” Premier Marine president Bob Menne said in a statement. “He was a true ambassador of boating.”

Cotey began his career with Luger Boats, where he designed and developed fiberglass boat kits. He then worked as a production manager for HydroStream, developing and building high-speed performance boats. He spent eight years with Forester Boats before moving to Premier Marine in 1992.

At Premier, Cotey spearheaded the development of the PTX performance package to accommodate the power and size of sterndrive engines in pontoons. In 1994, Premier introduced the PTX package to the outboard market, setting the standard for performance, handling and ride across the industry.

Cotey served on the American Boat and Yacht Council committee that wrote the ABYC H-35 standard that regulates the powering and loading capacity of pontoons. He also participated in setting marine industry safety standards as a member of a National Marine Manufacturers Association committee.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday at Nativity of Mary Church in Bloomington, Minn.

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