For the second consecutive year, the Maverick Boat Co. corralled some of its key vendors and held a promotional media event on the east coast of Florida.
“We wanted to give the media an opportunity to have access to our boats, our people and the products that are on our boats,” said Charlie Johnson, marketing director for the Fort Pierce, Fla., builder of Pathfinder, Maverick, Hewes and Cobia brand powerboats. “This type of event, in a laid-back atmosphere, really allows [the media] to experience the product.”
Representatives from Yamaha, JL Marine (Power Pole), Raymarine, Costa Del Mar, Shimano, Motor Guide and Gem Products were on hand to show their equipment mounted on Maverick boats.
The event, which began Monday evening and wraps up this morning, was held at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina. It showcased seven Maverick vessels (all open boats) from 17 to 34 feet, including the new Cobia 344.
This monster center console retails for $219,299 with twin Yamaha F350s. I had a chance to fish from one of two 344 CCs in the water at the resort’s marina. The 344 CC, which debuted at the Miami International Boat Show in February, leads the Cobia fleet as its flagship.
Maverick has completely revamped the Cobia line since acquiring it from Yamaha nearly 10 years ago. The 344 CC is a stepped-hull design with high freeboard robustly outfitted with fishing equipment, but also functional seating and amenities (such as a bow cockpit table and a huge forward above-deck cooler) to support family outings.
The 344 CC I was aboard was powered with triple Yamaha F300s. For such a large boat with 900 horses, the 344 produced some (relatively) impressive fuel efficiency, getting about 1 mile to the gallon at 40 mph. The boat chomps through a 2- to 3-foot chop, and even with five guys on board there was plenty of room to move about. We trolled with at least four lines in the water all morning, using two of the outriggers.
Today I will drive the boat and record fuel-burn numbers for a boat test report that will appear in our parent company’s (Active Interest Media) 2015 Boat Buyer’s Guide. Optional upgrades include the Optimus joystick control, a deluxe helm suite with dual 16-inch electronics displays, an autopilot and C-Zone electronic switching.
In addition to the 344 CCs, the builder had four other boats in the water: the Maverick 17 HPX-S and 18 HPX-S, and the Pathfinder 2600 HPS and Cobia 296 CC. Journalists fished from the Pathfinder 2200 TRS, Pathfinder 2600 HPS, Cobia 296 CC and Cobia 344 CC. In the afternoon I fished the 296 CC, another stable workhorse center console.
Maverick used the event to bring the media up to speed on the health of its business. The company now employs 203 workers, an increase from 161 last year. It is running three work shifts 24 hours a day for six days each week; there has been a 91 percent production unit increase since 2011. The company has grown its retail business by 55 percent since 2011. The Cobia brand has experienced the fastest growth, at 121 percent.
Maverick president and CEO Scott Deal describes his company as a “multi-niche builder” covering the flats boats market with the Maverick and Hewes brands, the bay boat market with the Pathfinder and the center console family-fishing market with the Cobia brand.