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Jimmy DeButts: Annapolis event launches boat season opening

You can tell by the footwear this is an Annapolis affair.

Sperry Topsiders. Sandals. Flip-flops.

Resting neatly on floating docks in Annapolis harbor, the easy slip-on and slip-offs await their owners’ return. There’s a strict a no-shoes policy when touring a boat for sale.

Organizers of the annual Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show make transforming City Dock into a floating boat lot look simple. But setting the foundation for one of the city’s signature events requires precision, preparation and lots of patience.

Countdown to launch

A 40-foot-long Carver luxury yacht is launched at Fay’s Boatyard in Gilford, which is busy putting 900 boats into the water in preparation for the boating season. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Lakes Region boat yards gear up for busiest part of the season


GILFORD — It’s the busy time of year for the boating business in the Lakes Region as area boat yards and marinas work at a hectic pace to put boats in the lake to keep up with the desire of their customers to enjoy as much time on the water as they can.
At Fay’s Boatyard in Gilford workers are putting 15 to 20 boats a day into Lake Winnipesaukee according to Jeff Fay, who says that the yard is responsible for about 900 boats, including nearly 300 sailboats, and is straight out these days.
“We handle a lot of sailboats and we’re the only place on the lake that has a full rigging crew that can get them ready for the season,” says Fay.
He says that the 275 boat slips at the marina are just about filled and that he’s looking to a good season now that the Big Lake is ice free as of April 17.
“The rain has set us back a little, but we’re moving along pretty good now and want to make sure we get in as many boats as we can and keep people happy” said Fay.
He said that his crew of 20 is being supplemented by newcomers like Justin Gargano from Providence, Rhode Island, whose parents own a summer home in the area and who is in his first year at Fay’s.
Gargano was helping prep a new boat which had just been brought over from Fay’s nearby boat sales site for launching just as a boat transporter from Miles Marine arrived, bringing a 40-foot-long luxury Carver yacht for launching.
Mike Miles said that he stores about 200 boats a year at his two locations n Lily Pond Road and is used to hauling large boats up and down the East Coast year round.
“The biggest one I ever hauled was a 60-footer that I took from Gilford to Providence, R.I, a few years ago. These big boats are like floating houses,” said Miles. He says his family has been in the boat hauling business for over 35 years.
Watching as Miles backed the boat trailer down to the launching ramp was Bob Fay, former operator of the Lakeport dam, which controls the level of Lake Winnipesaukee. Fay, who is not related to the family which owns the boat yard, is a part-time seasonal employee.
“I just can’t stay away from the water. I need something to keep myself busy,” said Fay, who retired from his position with the state’s Department of Environmental Services several years ago after more than 35 years of helping manage dams in the Lakes Region.
Jeff Fay, who has taken a more active role in running the boatyard since his father, Merrill Fay, turned major responsibilities over to him five years ago, says that both his son, Steven, and daughter, Lillian, work at the boatyard, making them the fourth generation of the Fay family to work there.
He says that Steven, 21, who is a business management major at Southern New Hampshire University, works part-time year round and takes on more work during the summer months.
“He’s teaching me the ropes,” says Steven, who also spends a lot of time scuba diving with his father as they search the lake for sunken boats and the old engines which powered them.
Fay’s Boatyard was started in 1944 by Wilbur Fay, who operated an ice delivery service to islands in the lake and also delivered groceries from a store on Bear Island. He bought the ice house in Smith Cove in the early 1940s and later started the boat yard, which was taken over by his son Merrill after Wilbur died in 1959.

Jeff Fay of Fay’s Boatyard in Gilford with his 21-year-old son, Steven, who is the fourth generation of Fays to work at the boatyard, which was started by Wilbur Fay in 1944. (Courtesy photo)


A sailboat is moved at Fay’s Boatyard in Gilford, which handles nearly 300 sailboats a year and is the only marine business in the Lakes Region with a full crew of riggers. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)





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Suncoast Boat Show attendance up 16.5% – Sarasota Herald

SARASOTA — Organizers of the  35th Annual Suncoast Boat Show say that attendance at the event earlier this month rose 16.5 percent from the year before.

It was the largest selection of boats at the show at Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota in a decade, with 11 percent more on display. The largest increase was in new boats 30 feet and larger, a signal of the health of the industry and the economy in general.

“We sold the highest number of units and reached the highest revenue ever,” Jason LeFevre, general manager of MarineMax, said Friday. “Traffic was up and we hope to make our display even bigger next year.”

The event, which had 125 exhibitors, featured a selection of boats ranging from motor yachts and fishing boats to cruisers, runabouts and personal watercraft. A full range of marine electronics and products, as well as paddleboards, canoes, kayaks and other products were represented.

“We saw existing customers who were looking to upgrade and also got great sales from many first-time buyers who came to the show,” Alex Kramer, operations manager with Anna Maria Island’s Galati Yacht Sales. “We were able to write a few deals and left the show with momentum.”

Organizers pointed to Southwest Florida’s growth as helping boost the show.

“The Sarasota market continues to grow and fuel the growth of this show,” said Brett Keating, vice president of marketing for Show Management, the company that owns and produces the show. “This is a fabulous city for a boat show and many exhibitors expanded their space and range of products on display this year.”

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Used-boat sales increase for second straight year

Posted on April 28th, 2017

Preowned boat sales were up for the second consecutive year in 2016, rising 2.5 percent in units and 2 percent in dollar value.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association released the third section of its Statistical Abstract, which focuses on preowned sales.

Unit sales of preowned boats last year were up in all categories except sailboats, which were down 0.8 percent compared to 2015, according to the NMMA.

Traditional powerboats accounted for 84 percent of preowned unit sales and were up 2.5 percent in 2016.

Inboard ski/wakeboard boats accounted for 2.1 percent of total preowned unit sales and led growth in 2016, up 6.8 percent in units and 7.5 percent in dollars.

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Sales swell for StanCraft Boats

Barely a year after settling into its Hayden headquarters and production facility, Stan-Craft Boat Co., the North Idaho-based maker of hand-built wooden boats, has launched plans to expand its operations there this summer, says StanCraft president and co-owner Robb Bloem.

“We built this so we could be more efficient and build more boats,” Bloem says of the 30,000-square-foot corporate building on the StanCraft campus at 2936 W. Dakota, in Hayden, where the company moved last year from Post Falls. “We’re running against that wall already because production is so heavy.”

In all, StanCraft has 100,000 square feet of corporate, production, maintenance, restoration, and storage space on the 9-acre campus.

Bloem says StanCraft plans to construct a 48,000-square-foot facility south of the developed portion of the campus in July.

“Were going to put storage in there, and we’re going to convert one of the other buildings on the campus into 12,000 square feet of production.”

StanCraft has 70 employees, and its workforce is expanding, Bloem says.

“We’re growing at a pretty good clip,” he says. “We have 12 to 15 new employees this year, and by next year, we’ll probably have 12 to 15 more.”

Bloem estimates StanCraft will invest $2 million in the expansion, which includes acquiring and installing new equipment.

“We’re in the middle of a big machine procurement,” he says. “We’re having a sewing machine made in Germany for our upholstery department that’s the same machine Bentley and Rolls-Royce use.”

The company also plans to acquire computer numerically controlled milling machines, “so we can get more efficient and take away from some of the bandsaw monotony,” he says.

StanCraft currently is producing more than 20 boats a year, up from 12 to 15 annually before moving from Post Falls.

Bloem says the average StanCraft boat is 30 to 35 feet long, although the company has seen significant sales growth in larger boats in the range of 40 to 50 feet.

The top end StanCraft boats are “breaching $1 million,” Bloem says.

Boats larger than 30 feet generally are powered with twin inboard engines.

“They have twin MerCruisers starting at 430 horsepower each,” he says. “This year, we’re doing three big boats with twin 520-horsepower engines.”

On the other end of the spectrum, StanCraft makes 14-foot to 17-foot boats powered with outboard engines.

Prices for the smallest StanCraft boats start at around $45,000.

The smaller boats originally were designed as an entry point to the StanCraft line and as an alternative for people trying to save money by restoring older wooden boats.

“A lot of guys restoring old boats would spend $50,000 on restoration, and, in the end, they were worth virtually nothing,” Bloem says. “We can do a boat for them for a reasonable number, and it will be worth something for a long time. It will run really good and look good, and it will be a StanCraft.”

It turns out, however, the smaller boats appeal to another built-in market for StanCraft.

“They ended up being secondary boats to bigger StanCraft owners,” Bloem says. “Almost every one of those little boats is owned by somebody with big 34- or 36-footers.”

StanCraft’s next “entry level” boat will be a 25-foot boat to be outfitted with a 200-horsepower outboard engine.

“It will be a very utilitarian boat with classic lines,” Bloem says. “It will be less expensive in StanCraft terms.”

StanCraft boats, with their distinctive African mahogany hulls, are known around the world.

“They’re going everywhere,” Bloem says. “We sent one to Thailand and one to New Zealand this year.”

StanCraft also has delivered boats this year to U.S. customers as far away as Texas and New Hampshire.

Most new customers find out about StanCraft through the company’s internet presence and through friends of friends, he says.

“The network in the boating world is really small,” Bloem says. “The gentleman in Thailand was asking about a boat for his yacht and knew someone who summered in Coeur d’Alene who happened to have a StanCraft.”

Most StanCraft boats, however, are bought for use in the Pacific Northwest.

“To this day a little over half of what we do stays in Coeur d’Alene or the Northwest,” Bloem says. “We’re doing a lot in Seattle right now and a decent amount in Portland.”

Some of StanCraft’s work is becoming less seasonal than it used to be.

“We’re definitely busier in the spring, because we’ve got 500 boats in storage that we’ve got to get on the water,” Bloem says. “We used to sell in the fall, and they would all be delivered in May and June. We still have heavier deliveries in May, but now we have a couple of deliveries every month.”

It takes about eight months to build a StanCraft boat. As of last week, the company had 16 boats in production.

Bloem says the mechanical and maintenance divisions also are active year-round.

“We have as much work off the water as we do on the water anymore,” he says.

StanCraft also handles more than 50 restoration and refinish jobs a year, Bloem says.

“We do anything from a new transom name to a total rebuild,” he says. “It’s a substantial part of our revenue.”

Bloem is a third-generation family member to head the company.

His wife and StanCraft co-owner Amy Bloem is the granddaughter of Stanley and Delores Young, who founded Stan-Craft Boat Co. in 1933 in Lakeside, Mont., near Flathead Lake.

Her father, Syd Young, moved the company to Coeur d’Alene in 1981, about the time that the movie “On Golden Pond” caused a surge in demand for classic-style wooden boats.

A decade later, StanCraft enjoyed a boost in visibility as the maker of water taxies shuttling golfers to and from the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course floating green.

The Bloems started running the company in 2003 when StanCraft had only two other employees.

The couple bought the StanCraft name from Young in 2009. They operate StanCraft as two companies under the umbrella of Juliette Corp. One company, Stan-Craft Boat Co., is the wooden boat manufacturer. The other company, StanCraft Marine Center, has several divisions, including retail sales, service, and restoration.

Bloem, who was trained as an architectural engineer, applied his skills to designing wooden boats when he came on board the company.

Now, he doesn’t spend as much time in the design loft as he used to, and designer Tom Baldwin handles much of the design responsibilities.

“Tom and I still work together, so a lot of the concepts are mine,” Bloem says. “Tom will take over and do preliminary sketches and we’ll take it down to down to our RD department, and we’ll do a lot more validation.”

On the retail side, StanCraft operates StanCraft Marine Center at 1705 Northwest Blvd., near downtown Coeur d’Alene, and another StanCraft Marine Center, in Portland.

“That’s more of our fiberglass dealership stuff,” he says.

Stan Craft Marine Centers handle MasterCraft, Formula, and Chris Craft boat brands.

“Sales are strong and don’t seem to be going down any time soon,” Bloem says. “The MasterCraft product is doing really well.”

Bloem says many StanCraft owners also own MasterCraft boats—especially those with families active in water sports.

“The StanCraft is the parents’ toy,” Bloem says. “When it’s time to go tubing and surfing and all the other stuff, the MasterCraft comes out.”

Bloem’s personal boat is a StanCraft Gatsby Speedster. “It’s a real pretty boat—a 27-footer with a 625-horsepower engine up front,” he says.

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Brunswick reports 8.4 percent sales growth for quarter

Brunswick Corp. on Thursday reported sales growth for the first quarter of 2017, with 14 percent growth in boat sales and a 6 percent sales increase in the engine segment.

“Our first quarter revenues increased by 8 percent,” said Brunswick Chairman and CEO Mark Schwabero. “Our top line reflected strong growth rates in all three of our primary boat categories, as well as in our marine parts and accessories, fitness and outboard engine businesses.”

Schwabero said during a call Thursday discussing the earnings report that early results from the marine segments have been encouraging, with the market off to a “strong start” for 2017.

“We believe that the market growth is strong and that we are outperforming the market,” he said.

First quarter results

For the first quarter of 2017, the company reported net sales of $1,160.3 million, up from $1,070.3 million a year earlier. For the quarter, the company reported operating earnings of $89.0 million, which included $15.2 million of restructuring, exit and integration charges. In the first quarter of 2016, the company had operating earnings of $96.0 million, which included $3.8 million of restructuring, exit and integration

For the first quarter of 2017, Brunswick reported net earnings of $64.9 million, or $0.71 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $63.2 million, or $0.68 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2016. Diluted EPS for the first quarter of 2017 included $0.14 per diluted share of restructuring, exit and integration charges and a $0.01 per diluted share benefit from special tax items. The diluted EPS for the first quarter of 2016 included $0.03 per diluted share of restructuring, exit and integration charges.

Marine Engine Segment

The Marine Engine segment, consisting of the Mercury Marine Group, including the marine parts and accessories businesses, reported net sales of $631.8 million in the first quarter of 2017, up 6 percent from $595.5 million in the first quarter of 2016.

Sales were up 5 percent in the U.S. and Europe, and up 12 percent for the rest of world.

Sales increases in the quarter were led by the segment’s parts and accessories businesses, which included revenue from an acquisition completed in the fourth quarter of 2016, and by the outboard engine business, partially offset by declines in the sterndrive engine business.

Higher revenues, favorable product mix and improved cost efficiencies contributed to the increase in operating earnings in the first quarter of 2017, the company said.

Partially offsetting these factors were the unfavorable impact from foreign exchange and planned increases in growth investments, said CFO Bill Metzger.

Boat Segment

The Boat segment is comprised of the Brunswick Boat Group and includes 15 boat brands. The Boat segment reported net sales of $382.7 million for the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 14 percent compared with $336.8 million in the first quarter of 2016.

U.S. sales were up 15 percent, with a 10 percent increase in Europe and 9 percent for the rest of the world.

Despite the increase in sales, earnings were down significantly for the boat segment due to product mix and higher materials costs, Metzger said.

The Boat segment’s revenue reflected growth in the fiberglass and aluminum outboard categories. Sales of the fiberglass sterndrive/inboard boat category increased, in spite of anticipated declines in large fiberglass sterndrive/inboard boats, Metzger said.

2017 Outlook

“Our outlook for 2017 continues to be generally consistent with our three-year strategic plan and reflects another year of outstanding earnings growth, with excellent cash flow generation,” said Schwabero. “We believe we are well positioned to generate strong sales and adjusted earnings per share growth in 2017 and beyond.”

Schwabero said the company expects that growth to continue across all segments.

“We expect our marine businesses’ top-line performance will benefit from the continuation of solid market growth in the U.S. and Europe and the success of our new products,” he said. “The Fitness segment is expected to benefit from overall growth in global commercial fitness markets, as well as contributions from new products, particularly in the second half of 2017. As a result, our consolidated plan continues to reflect revenue growth rates in 2017 in the range of 6 to 8 percent. In total, acquisitions are expected to account for about one percent of 2017’s projected growth, reflecting the impact of completed transactions.”

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Sales up 11.6 percent for Chaparral, Robalo parent in Q1 2017

Marine Products Corp., the manufacturer of Chaparral and Robalo boats said sales, profits and income were all up for the first quarter of 2017.

“Our first quarter 2017 financial results reflect the beginning of another strong retail selling season,” said Richard A. Hubbell, Marine Products’ president and CEO. “Our Robalo outboard sport fishing boats continued to sell well, especially the Robalo 302, the Robalo 246 and our new Robalo 200 ES which features extra seating. In addition, our Chaparral H2O models generated higher sales, and we began to sell some of our Chaparral models with the new Surf Series option. At the end of the first quarter of 2017, our order backlog and dealer inventory levels were higher than at this time last year, as we and our dealers prepare for the remainder of the 2017 retail selling season.”

For the quarter ended March 31, 2017, Marine Products generated net sales of $71,040,000, an 11.6 percent increase compared to $63,665,000 in the same period of the prior year.

The increase in net sales was primarily due to a 12.1 percent increase in unit sales as well as an increase in parts and accessories sales, partially offset by a slight decrease in the average selling price per boat, the company said.

During the quarter the company generated higher unit sales among its Chaparral H2O and Robalo models.  Average selling prices decreased slightly during the first quarter of 2017 due to model mix.

Gross profit for the quarter was $14,906,000, a 17.5 percent increase compared to gross profit of $12,688,000 in the same period of the prior year. Gross profit for the first quarter increased compared to the prior year due to higher net sales and improved production efficiencies, the company said. Gross margin during the first quarter was 21.0 percent compared to 19.9 percent in the first quarter of the prior year. 

Operating profit for the quarter was $6,898,000, an increase of 22.2 percent compared to $5,645,000 in the first quarter of last year. This improvement, the company said, was due to higher gross profit partially offset by higher selling, general and administrative expenses during the first quarter of 2017 as compared to the prior year. 

Selling, general and administrative expenses increased primarily due to expenses which vary with sales and profitability, such as warranty expense and sales commissions. Selling, general and administrative expenses were 11.3 percent of net sales during the first quarter of 2017 compared to 11.1 percent during the same period of the prior year. 

Net income for the quarter was $5,261,000, an increase of $1,340,000 or 34.2 percent compared to net income of $3,921,000 for the first quarter of 2016. Diluted earnings per share were $0.15 in the first quarter of 2017, an increase of $0.05 or 50 percent compared to $0.10 diluted earnings per share in the prior year.  Diluted earnings per share during the first quarter of 2017 increased compared to the prior year due to higher net income as well as a lower share count resulting from the tender offer completed during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Marine Products recorded an income tax provision of $1.7 million during the first quarter compared to a provision of $1.8 million for the first quarter of prior year.  The 2017 provision reflects a beneficial discrete adjustment of $580 thousand related to the required adoption of an accounting pronouncement in the quarter. The amendments in the pronouncement require that excess tax benefits and deficiencies relating to share-based payment awards be recognized as a component of income tax expense rather than stockholders’ equity as in prior periods.

uld cause the actual results to differ materially from management’s projections, forecasts, estimates and expectations is contained in Marine Products’ Form 10-K, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the year ending December 31, 2016.

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On-island boat registration May 6 and 7

(April 26, 2017) Nantucket boat registration will be available on-island from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, at the Marine Department Town Pier parking lot, 37 Washington St.

Boaters will be able to register and title a boat for the first time, or renew their registrations, emergency-preparedness coordinator Dave Fronzuto said. Representatives of the state Department of Revenue will also be in attendance to process boat sales tax.

Boaters are asked to bring a personal check or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Cash and credit cards will not be accepted.

For up-to-the-minute information on Nantucket’s breaking news, boat and plane cancellations, weather alerts, sports and entertainment news, deals and promotions at island businesses and more, Sign up for Inquirer and Mirror text alerts. Click Here.

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Better Call Behnken: Complaints mounting against Palm Harbor boat consignment shop

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) – Complaints are mounting against Palm Harbor’s Gulf Coast Boat Sales, accused of selling boats on consignment and then failing to pay the original boat owners.

One buyer turned to 8 On Your Side after getting stuck without a title and registration on his new boat.

James Owen, of Valrico, saw our Better Call Behnken report and panicked. He’s waited since Feb. 16 for the $9,000 the boat shop owes him.

“I thought, ‘oh, no,’” Owen said. “I realized it’s not just me.”

Owen bought a boat from the shop two years ago and left one there to be consigned. It took years.

It finally sold on February 16, and he was called in to sign over the title. There was no lien on the boat.

Owen said he was told he would receive his $9,000 in about 10 days. Since then, he said he has heard only excuses.

The shop was already under scrutiny for another deal gone wrong. Rick Weaver tells 8 On Your Side he paid $24,000 total for a boat March 6. He still cannot legally use the boat, because he does not have title and registration.

In Weaver’s case, he ended up tracking down the previous owner himself and discovered that man had not received any of the sales price.

The boat shop has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, based in similar complaints, many of which were finally resolved.

Salesman James Laden said Weaver’s title was held up because of a lien that needed to be paid off before title could be released. The original owner, however, said he was not notified when the boat sold and could have paid off the loan himself.

Since the original news report, others have contacted 8 On Your Side to report problems with the shop. 8 On Your Side paid Laden another visit and gave him a list of upset customers. He promised each case would be taken care of.



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