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Willard Marine acquires Crystaliner

Willard Marine acquired the rights to design and manufacture Crystaliner boats, a line of surf and rescue vessels that have been prevalent on the West Coast for nearly six decades.

Crystaliner was founded in Southern California in 1956 by John Norek and it specialized in fiberglass recreational and commercial boats that were particularly popular with lifeguards and harbor patrol and rescue operations.

Crystaliner is credited with building the molds for the Navy’s first 16-foot fiberglass lifeboat and, in 1959, the first fiberglass boat to win the Miami Nassau Race.

Although the company closed in 2012, Crystaliners are still being used by law enforcement and lifeguard divisions in California coastal cities that include Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Oceanside. It is estimated that more than 100 boats were sold during the history of the company.

Last week, Willard Marine also announced it is reviving the commercial and government business of the SeaArk Marine brand.

“Crystaliner is an iconic brand with a long, reputable history and loyal customer following that echoes Willard Marine’s and SeaArk Marine’s legacies,” Willard Marine president and CEO Ulrich Gottschling said in a statement. “By partnering with best-in-class brands like these, Willard Marine can offer a wide range of proven vessel designs boasting modern improvements to customers around the world.”

Gottschling said he has already received positive responses about the Crystaliner acquisition from some local patrol agencies. “To be more competitive, we must diversify our product portfolio, and this is one of many moves planned over the next two years to grow our business.”

“Crystaliner has a long history of making high-quality, top-performing boats specific to lifeguards and rescue operations, and Willard Marine is unequivocally the best boatbuilder today to carry on the Crystaliner legacy,” said Lewis Page, who served as general manager at Crystaliner for 14 years and 34 years building its boats and tooling. “I am proud to collaborate with Willard’s highly skilled and experienced team to produce a new lineage of Crystaliners that first responders can depend upon for many decades.”

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