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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