Archive for » May 23rd, 2015«

Flagler boat builder sees smoother sailing ahead – Daytona Beach News

“Spring and summer are key selling periods for new boats and we are off to a good start with warmer weather and lower gas prices helping to boost boat sales,” said association president Thom Dammrich, in a media release. “After a strong 2014, we expect to see continued growth in 2015 by as much as five to seven percent.”

For a look at how changes in the boating industry could affect the regional economy, Craig Wall, operations manager at Sea Ray Boats Flagler County manufacturing facility, offers the local spin.

What is the boating industry looking like these days?

No doubt it’s showing an increase along with the rest of the economy. The high end is still there. The lower end of the boating industry is still struggling a little bit but I think with the housing industry and everything else moving up, I think that’s a good sign for us. The market is starting to stabilize. I wouldn’t say it’s on a rapid incline, but it shows good signs.

The Flagler County plant recently won Brunswick Corp.’s Chairman’s Safety Award. How important is safety at the facility?

First and foremost, nobody wants to walk into a work environment and feel uncomfortable or unsafe. So it’s a prerequisite of the company and it’s our responsibility. It’s everybody’s responsibility to make sure our team members can go home in the same shape they came to work.

Plans to build a new parking lot at the plant raised some concerns with residents in the area. How important is it for Sea Ray to be a good corporate citizen?

It’s critical.

Times have changed. We know that as a manufacturer it’s an environmental responsibility that every corporation has.

What is your outlook for the economy in general and the boating industry in particular?

I’m not an economist, but right now I can tell you our L Class is taking off tremendously.

It’s a good problem, but we can’t produce them fast enough out of our facility. It’s a good challenge for us right now. In the near future, and the near future for us is the next 12 months, it’s pretty stable.

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$13000 boat stolen from Journey lot

Boat stolen

Boat stolen

Workers install barriers between fence posts to help prevent theft of boats and automobiles from Journey Auto and Boat Sales after the fence was cut and a boat stolen early Thursday morning.

Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2015 10:39 pm

$13,000 boat stolen from Journey lot

By Machaela Ballard / Register News Writer

Richmond Register

A $13,000 fishing boat was stolen during Thursday’s early morning hours from Journey Auto and Boat Sales.

After noticing a hole in the fence around the business, Richmond Police officers contacted the McCarty family, which owns the business, about 4:30 a.m., said Kay McCarty.

“When they saw the fence was open, the officers thought something was missing from where something had been parked. Sure enough, it was a boat,” said McCarty, vice president of the business. “We have had trucks stolen from us when we were at our old location in Berea, but never a boat.”

It appears that someone with a ball hitch matching the trailer for the 2008 Lowe fishing boat cut a hole, backed up to the fence and pushed the boat from the property, McCarty said. It would be surprising if one person could do it alone, she added, because the boat was facing the wrong direction to have been easily maneuvered through the fence opening.

Journey Auto and Boat Sales has several security cameras within the store and the lot outside, McCarty said. The family planned to go through the tapes as soon as they got home Thursday afternoon, she said.

Additional posts have been added to the fence so boats cannot be squeezed through in the future, even if the chain links are cut, McCarty said.

“We are just a small, family-owned business, so a $13,000 hit is very devastating for us,” she said. “My husband said if they want to steal something, they will, but we are going to take as many precautions as we can.”

Regardless, McCarty said the family is hoping for a positive outcome, and that the boat will be returned.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015 10:39 pm.

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Lake Murray boat dealers riding wave of better sales

It’s smoother sailing these days for boat dealers around Lake Murray.

Many of the new vessels are fancy and fast.

Sales are rebounding after a recession-induced decline that closed some operations and still leaves lean inventories in its wake, dealers said.

“What we went through changed our business considerably,” said Mark Murff, general manager of Hall Marine in Irmo. “But we’ve had a strong comeback, almost back to where we once were.”

Boating is popular in the four counties – Lexington, Newberry, Richland and Saluda – surrounding the 47,500-acre lake. There are 56,374 boats in that area today, compared to 48,160 in 2009, state natural resources officials say. That’s a 17 percent increase.

Sale promotions have been underway since late winter as prime boating season approaches. It launches this Memorial Day weekend and lasts through Labor Day in early September.

Buying a boat is much like settling on a car, with a wide array of accessories and choices that quickly can elevate the price above $100,000.

So what’s new?

Boat makers are producing watercraft built with longer-lasting materials. They run more quietly and burn less fuel, and a single boat can be used for many purposes: for cruising, fishing and skiing.

Angie Curnias is seeing a wave of watercraft with upscale features such as plusher fabrics and digital music systems dock at the Lake Murray Marina and Yacht Club in Ballentine, which she manages.

“It’s a luxury,” she said. “It depends on how much you’ve got to play with.”

Just about every luxury that’s available in a car is available in a boat nowadays.

And dealers are promoting the sport as fun for all ages. “All our boats are very family-oriented,” Murff said.

The pontoon – a staple around the 650-mile lakefront – may be on its way to oblivion with the popularity of tritoons.

Tritoons feature three instead of two floats underneath. Dealers say they are well-balanced and better able to carry large groups without sacrificing speed and energy efficiency.

Newer boats also are able to produce the wake needed for watersurfing, dealers say. That’s when surfers ride the wake of the boat on a board, without being towed by a rope – in fact, not holding on to anything because the water holds them up.

Boating’s popularity has safety groups pressing for a requirement that watercraft operators undergo eight hours of training before being allowed to go on the water. Currently, eight hours are required only for those under 16 who want to boat alone.

“The lack of education on the right things to do makes being out there more hazardous,” said Braxton Sorg of Chapin, commander of the lake chapter of the U.S. Power Squadron.

State natural resources officials who police waterways are starting to take another look at the mandatory training, sunk before by protests that it would be burdensome.

Law enforcement officers again will be out in force on the lake this summer, particularly on busy weekends and holidays.

“We’ll be focused on making sure everyone has the right equipment and obeys the rules,” DNR spokesman Capt. Robert McCullough said.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

By the numbers

Boats registered in the four counties around Lake Murray as of Dec. 31, state natural resources officials say:

Lexington: 31,221

Newberry: 5,371

Richland: 16,866

Saluda: 2,916

Trick my boat

So what’s new at the dealer’s?

More tritoons, which have not two but three floats underneath

Fancier dashboards and upholstering

High-end electronics

More boats built for speed

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