Southport Boats expands in Maine
Thursday, December 21st 2017
Southport Boats planned to start off the New Year with a bang, in a new building that will allow the Maine-based company to almost double its production of high quality, offshore center console boats.
On December 21 and 22, workers were moving the last pieces of manufacturing equipment from a 20,000 square foot building in Augusta to a new 60,000 square foot building in South Gardiner, according to Jonathan Kirby, Southport’s director of sales and marketing.
The move will allow the company to run two production lines instead of one, and to ship twice as many boats a month, he said. The expansion is expected to increase production from 35 boats a year to as many as 55. The number of people working in the new plant has grown from 30 at the end of August to 45, and “we’re still hiring,” Kirby said.
Southport’s line includes three hulls, a 27’, 29’, and 33’, each with several different deck configurations. The newest model is a 33 Dual Console.
The new facility, which has room for further expansion, will also take on construction of high-end Carbon Craft custom yacht tenders, Kirby said. Carbon Crafts previously were built in Florida. Carbon Craft and Southport Boats are part of Tuxedo Yachts, a holding company created to acquire luxury-oriented boat businesses.
Southport’s expansion comes as boat business nationwide is picking up, according to Kirby. “We’re trucking right along. People are feeling good and are ready to by that boat that they’ve been thinking about,” he said. “Builders across the country are seeing a huge uptick in demand.”
Southport is taking orders now for its new 33-foot model. The new dual console model expands beyond the current 33 FE and 33 LX models to deliver full forward seating, enclosed helm area, stay-aboard accommodations and cruising capabilities, Kirby said. The 33 DC is built on a Ray Hunt Design hull, which combines offshore racing technology with cutting edge composite manufacturing to deliver a ride with incomparable stability. Comfort features include twin 6-foot berths, a full size integrated hardtop with power-retractable sunroof, and a raised port side co-pilot lounge with forward and aft facing lounge seats. The integrated live well, fish boxes, storage and optimized cockpit layout appeal to the serious angler.
Tuxedo acquired Southport last summer from the former owners of Kenway Corp. In a statement announcing the acquisition in late August, Tuxedo Yachts Chief Executive Officer Skip Sorenson said investors were attracted to Southport by the passion its customers have for its boats, the dealer network that already exists, and Maine craftsmanship. “This is a unique opportunity to position these two luxury boating brands to outperform the market, deliver superior financial results and create the most memorable customer experiences,” he said explaining the purchase.
Meanwhile, Southport Boats announced in late December that Crosby Yacht Yard, Inc. (Crosby Yacht) of Osterville, Massachusetts, had won its dealer of the year award. This is the first time Crosby Yacht has received the award from Southport. Along with co-dealer Smith Yacht Sales of Hingham, Massachusetts, Crosby Yacht accounted for over 25% of the Southport annual production run, according to a news release.