MIAMI — NauticStar has hired 25 to 30 new employees over the course of three months and plans on hiring more as it ramps up production and continues to grow.
The Mississippi-based company, which was purchased in October by MasterCraft for about $79.8 million, makes 18- to 28-foot bay boats, deck boats and offshore center consoles.
The sale has given employees at NauticStar “a newfound level of optimism,” sales and marketing vice president Phillip Faulkner, who is the son of the company’s founder Phil Faulkner, told Trade Only Today at the Miami International Boat Show last week.
“It’s been a smooth transition and we’re able to position ourselves to grow,” Faulkner said.
MasterCraft CEO Terry McNew told Trade Only at the time of purchase that he wanted to increase NauticStar’s production from 9 units a day to about 10 to meet growing demand for the brand.
Net sales at MasterCraft Boat Company’s parent company, MCBC Holdings Inc., saw net sales rise 53.4 percent to $78.4 million in the second quarter, with gains attributed to the inclusion of NauticStar — the company increased net sales by 39.5 percent, or $20.2 million.
“We’re growing and hiring people,” said company president Tim Schiek at the show. “The biggest challenge we have is hiring and retaining good employees.”
NauticStar is working with local community colleges and industrial schools, as well as high schools, Schiek said. Most recently, the company provided tours to high school students to introduce them to the industry.
The NauticStar 28 XS Offshore was busy taking prospective buyers out during the Miami International Boat Show last week, said Peter Godtel, the boat’s captain who sells the boats at Key Largo, Fla.-based Yacht Works.
The 25-foot XS has been “hitting the mark” at Godtel’s dealership. “We special order a lot if they’re not on the line,” Godtel said during a test run last week.
On the 28 XS, customers appreciated the 9-foot, 8-inch beam and large walkaround that allowed his fishing clientele the ability to move past each other easily, Godtel said.
The largest in the NauticStar lineup, the 28 XS comes standard with twin Yamaha 250s, planes in 3.01 seconds hits a top speed of 56.5 mph with a fuel burn of 13.1 gallons-per-hour at cruise, according to the manufacturer.
The 28 XS conducting sea trails was powered with optional 300s, and retails for about $175,000.