VIDEO: Hacker Boat Co. shows steady growth

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In the last three years the Hacker Boat Co., the builder of mahogany runabouts, has hired 25 employees, opened a huge showroom and a new production building, increased its annual sales and is chasing new markets.

The Silver Bay, N.Y., company expects to display at the Miami International Boat Show and the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach, both running Feb. 16-20, and the Palm Beach (Fla.) International Boat Show, which runs March 22-25.

Hacker sold 10 boats in 2009, 12 in 2010 and 16 last year, according to George Badcock, the CEO of new owners Erin Investments. Revenue has jumped, too, from $2 million in 2009 to $2.8 million in 2011, he says.

Click play for a profile on Hacker by Trade Only’s Chris Landry.

“People continued to buy the boats during the 2008-09 downturn, and we continue to have tremendous interest now through the middle of the winter,” says Badcock, 63, an avid boater and an owner of antique wooden vessels.

Badcock says he took over management of the company in 2010, then ownership in early 2011.

Florida has become a hot market for Hacker. In the past 18 months it has sold seven boats that were delivered to the Sunshine State, Badcock says.

Hacker has renovated its old production building and turned it into a 2,600-square-foot, two-story showroom. The boats are built in nearby Ticonderoga in three buildings totaling 32,000 square feet.

Badcock also brought in a wooden-boat restoration expert, J.R. Smith, as production manager to improve efficiency and modernize building materials and methods, he says.

Naval architect John L. Hacker founded the Hacker Boat Co. in 1908. Today it builds boats from 22 to 35 feet, and its 24-foot Runabout and 30-foot Sport were its top sellers in 2011, says director of sales and marketing Ken Rawley.

“The classic Runabout is based on the design that is widely acknowledged as John L. Hacker’s masterpiece series,” Rawley says. “The boat's ride is free from pounding, vibration and [engine-related noise]. It has a perfect balance of weight that produces a level planing position at all speeds.”

Introduced in 1998, the more contemporary Sport is an ideal family boat, Rawley says.

Look for a feature article on the Hacker Boat Co. in an upcoming issue of Soundings Trade Only.

— Chris Landry