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Maine boatyard signs deal with Scout Boats

Hamlin’s Marine’s Puffin Boats last week inked a contract to build fiberglass boats for South Carolina-based Scout Boats.

Two years after it began building Puffin dinghies at its Maine facility, Hamlin’s Marine’s Puffin Boats last week inked a contract to build fiberglass boats for South Carolina-based Scout Boats.

Under an agreement with Scout, Puffin Boats will build the 151 Series, as well as fulfill warranty issues.

Puffin also will build the yet-to-be-launched Edendriver, which is not part of the Scout family of boats.

Although particulars of the agreement weren’t disclosed, the move is expected to double the boatbilder’s manufacturing crew, Hamlin’s Marine general manager Dan Higgins told the Bangor Daily News.

The Edendriver was designed by a member (by marriage) of the family that founded Scout Boats, Higgins said. He was a former designer who died of cancer two years ago. The boat was a legacy for his family and has nothing to do with Scout.

The designer is Seph Limehouse, who used to design Scout’s 25-foot-and-under boats. Five years ago, Limehouse was diagnosed with terminal cancer. His wife was pregnant with their daughter at the time.

“This was a huge blow to Scout,” Higgins said. “Seph was one of their chief designers, and Seph knew that he was dying, so he spent the last three years of his life designing the Edendriver in his barn.”

Limehouse died two years ago.

“He was trying to leave a last gift, or at least some financial support, to his family after he died, so he built this boat. His final wish was that this boat goes into production and gets out on the market,” Higgins said. “So we’ve been chosen. That, in a nutshell, is why this happened, more than any money or financial gain.”

The Edendriver will make its commercial debut at the Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show, which is held each August in Rockland.

Puffin Boats plans to add about five positions to its workforce of 23 in the near future. The Hampden, Maine, builder is turning out about 60 of its own signature dinghies a year. It also produces fiberglass boat components for the Hinckley Co., a Maine-based yacht builder, and is doing contract work for Adirondack Rowing, a New York-based company.

Puffin Boats is a company formed by Hamlin’s Marine, which has locations in Hampden and Waterville, where it employs 23 and 20 people, respectively.

The Dorados are going into immediate production, and once the company gets ramped up, it plans to build four or five a month. Higgins projects that Puffin Boats will be building between 50 and 100 of the Dorados within the next three years.

Hamlin’s is one of Scout’s Northeast dealers.

“We sell their bigger boats, and as a dealer we wanted to be able to sell this boat, and they were going to discontinue it,” he said. “We told them that we have a manufacturing component to our business, and we already had the relationship. We just had to make the numbers work, and that’s how that happened. So we’re saving the line.”

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