STUART, Fla. — The fish were biting at Maverick Boat Co.’s third annual media event this week at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina in Stuart.
More than 30 members of the marine industry press fished Tuesday aboard Maverick’s new Cobia 277 CC, the Pathfinder 2600 TRS and Pathfinder 2400 TRS, and the Maverick 17 HPX-S and Hewes Redfish 18. Anglers hooked sailfish, bonita, snook and snapper aboard Maverick’s fleet on Tuesday during the steamy South Florida summer.
“Getting out on the water and experiencing these boats in the real world is so different than seeing them at a boat show,” Maverick director of product marketing and promotions Charlie Johnson said.
Johnson said 2015 is a record sales year at Maverick and the three-day event, which ends today, gives the company an opportunity to put the industry press aboard Maverick boats. The event is produced by Maverick and the brands it works with, including Yamaha, Motor Guide, Costa del Mar and Garmin.
“We put people out on the water to fish because that’s what best showcases the Maverick lineup, and that’s where the products can really shine,” he said.
Maverick celebrates 30 years in business this year, and Johnson took a moment Monday night event to reflect on where the company started and where it is today. Maverick began with six molds that founder and president Scott Deal bought in 1985. The company now has 633 molds in its Fort Pierce, Fla., factory and produces 1,452 combinations of its designs.
For the last two years Maverick has run three shifts — 24 hours a day, six days a week. The company goes through more than 44,000 pounds of resin in a week and builds more than 500 fiberglass parts each week. The company continues to grow and now employs 240 people who finish 24 boats each week.
Maverick retailed 847 combined units in the last 12 months; its Cobia line continues to be the fastest-growing segment, with a 24 percent sales increase from last year. Although Maverick sold more units in previous years, last year’s sales were a record from a revenue standpoint, Johnson said. “The boats we’re selling are bigger, with more features. The average invoice is higher.”
Johnson said Maverick continues to be an industry leader in the skiff market and is doing well in the bay boat market. Maverick intends to have a corporate booth at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this fall and at the 2016 Miami International Boat Show. The company had record sales at the 2015 Miami show.
Johnson said the boat market is still below 2005 levels and Maverick’s customers continue to be the “moneyed few.”
“Our market is fishing boats. We’re going to pump it hard with fishing boats,” he said. “Nonetheless, we’re also going to bring out boats with some comfort features.”
The new Cobia 277 CC features “cushy” chairs and seating for family. It’s a fish-on-Saturday, family-on-Sunday boat, Maverick representatives said. The Pathfinder 2600 TRS is Maverick’s first Pathfinder with a head.
“We’re not getting too soft,” Johnson said. “We’re not getting away from the fishing stuff. We like where we sit in the price range with the Cobia. We’re going to stay below the guys that want extreme amounts of money for those [types of] boats. Our model lineup is really fresh, especially Cobia. We scrapped all the models when we bought Cobia and started from the ground up.”
Maverick’s annual dealer meeting preceded the media event. Although Maverick dealers are heavily concentrated in South Florida, 45 dealers from Florida, the Atlantic coast to New York and New Jersey, Ohio and as far west as Texas attended.
“I’d say 90 percent of our dealers attended, and 98 percent of our Florida dealers were here,” Johnson said.
Maverick plans to hold another dealer meeting this fall in Rhode Island.
Trade Only Today will report on the two days of fishing in Thursday’s newsletter.