Boston Whaler celebrates Florida plant expansion

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Boston Whaler hosted a ribbon-cutting on Tuesday to mark the completion of a $10 million expansion of its Edgewater, Fla., plant.

The 18-month project included a new lamination room, new equipment and an under-roof addition of almost 60,000 square feet.

“The space gives us both the capability and capacity to produce more and larger boats than ever before,” company president Huw Bower told The Daytona Beach News-Journal. “And with more capacity comes more jobs.”

The builder recently added 120 employees at the plant, including about 100 floor workers and about 20 designers, engineers, salesmen and marketing staff.

Company officials decided to expand the Edgewater plant after the success of their first large-boat program.

The market for boats larger than 23 feet began recovering faster than smaller boats after the recession, Bower told the News-Journal. Boston Whaler soon needed more space to meet demand.

“We have a lot of focus on bringing out more products in the 25-foot-plus realm than ever before,” he said.

In a speech reflecting the theme of gratitude, Bower went on to thank organizations that contributed to the expansion, including Boston Whaler’s parent company, Brunswick Corp.; Boston Whaler’s dealer network; Whaler customers worldwide; partners that include Mercury Marine; and several key people.

Mark Essig, who oversaw the project, received a gift and a special acknowledgment. Longtime employees, including Danny Ryan, Whaler’s longest employee with more than 41 years at the company, were asked to wield the golden scissors in the ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside Bower and Brunswick president and COO Mark Schwabero.

“To achieve such a high level of success in the face of a difficult economic climate is a point of pride, yes — but moreover it’s a testament to the fantastic employees who make it possible,” Bower said in a statement. “The credit is all yours; you are the finest marine team in the world.”

Brunswick also operates a Sea Ray Boats plant in Flagler County and a Brunswick Commercial and Government Products plant in Edgewater.

“We’re equally optimistic about where this company can go,” Schwabero told the News-Journal. “We’re extremely excited about the future and will continue to invest in this business.”

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