Wisconsin yacht company to expand – Green Bay Press

OCONTO — The parent company of Cruisers Yachts and Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts has acquired the assets of Azure sport fishing boats, a move expected to add jobs in Oconto.

The announcement by KCS International Inc. was made Friday at the Miami International Boat Show.

Production tooling from Azure’s plant in South Carolina will be moved to Oconto with the first Wisconsin-built boats in the Cruisers Sports Series rolling off the line in May or June.

The purchase of Azure is expected to create 185 new jobs in Oconto over two years, according to the company.

“This is an exciting time for our company,” Mark Pedersen, president of KCS International, said in a press release. “We are sending a message to our dedicated employees that KCS intends to be in the boat business for a long time.”

Boat and shipbuilding is one of the key industries in the region with Oconto-based Cruisers, Marquis Yachts in Pulaski, Palmer Johnson in Sturgeon Bay and Burger Boat in Manitowoc among those producing yachts and fishing boats.

Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette, ACE Marine in Green Bay and Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay are key players in both commercial and governmental contract work.

“This is as positive news as you can get,” said Bruce Mommaerts, director of the Oconto County Economic Development Corporation Inc. “A company with a good reputation is making investments and bringing manufacturing into the state and into the community.

“There are quite a lot of people who are skilled in boat building throughout northeast Wisconsin — be it Marinette, Green Bay, Pulaski, or Oconto County — and this gives them an opportunity at employment they have been trained in,” he said Friday.

KCS also announced it added Spencer Ship Monaco to oversee the new export development team for Central and South America, the Far East and Australia.

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