Water Sports

Boatbuilder expands again for second time in two years; Maverick Boat Co. to add 150 jobs

https://www.gannett-cdn.com/gannett-web/apps/teal/dist/vendor/hls/hls.light.0.12.4.min.require.jshttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/sdkloader/ima3.jshttps://www.gannett-cdn.com/gannett-web/apps/teal/dist/vendor/ias/ias-3.5.1.min.jshttps://www.gannett-cdn.com/gannett-web/apps/teal/dist/vendor/adobe/MediaSDK.2.2.0.min.require.jshttps://www.gannett-cdn.com/gannett-web/apps/teal/dist/vendor/comscore/streamsense-5.1.1.160316.min.jsCLOSE Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross toured Maverick Boat Group’s manufacturing facility. Treasure Coast Newspapers

One of Florida’s largest volume boatbuilders announced this week it will be expanding its manufacturing facility and increasing its work force to keep up with demand of new boats.

Maverick Boat Group’s next phase of expansion will boost the company’s manufacturing space by 106,000 square feet and add 150 new jobs to the Treasure Coast economy, according to a news release sent out May 5 by the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County.

Maverick Boat Group built a new facility in 2018 on a new site at St. Lucie Boulevard in Fort Pierce across from the Treasure Coast International. The building was designed with plans to be able to double its size if the boat market continued to show robust signs of growth, Maverick’s marketing director Charlie Johnson told TCPalm at the time.

The steps of the boat building process, including fiberglass laying, laminating, infusion, hull harness and hose kit assembly, trim assembly and quality control, are seen Friday, April 19, 2019, at the new 126,000 square foot Maverick Boat Group facility in Fort Pierce. Maverick Boat Group employs 427 people and produces about 35 boats a week that get distributed to about 55 dealers across the country and exported to Europe, the Caribbean, Central America and Australia.Buy Photo

The steps of the boat building process, including fiberglass laying, laminating, infusion, hull harness and hose kit assembly, trim assembly and quality control, are seen Friday, April 19, 2019, at the new 126,000 square foot Maverick Boat Group facility in Fort Pierce. Maverick Boat Group employs 427 people and produces about 35 boats a week that get distributed to about 55 dealers across the country and exported to Europe, the Caribbean, Central America and Australia. (Photo: LEAH VOSS/TCPALM)

The right time

Based on the past year of boat sales nationally, that time is now, Johnson indicated.

“Demand is unprecedented, or at least the most in the last decade,” Johnson said. “Most of the demand we’ve seen is as a result of COVID. People decided that boating is an excellent way to socially distance. People are not spending on other discretionary items like big trips or second homes. A lot of new boaters have come into the marketplace and have experienced the joys of boating. Our hope is that a lot of them are retained as boaters.”

At the present time, MBG employs 450 and produces close to 1,500 boats a year. That number is expected to increase by 30% to over 2,000 once the expansion is completed. That means the factory will deliver about 16 boats each week to waiting customers and dealers across a national network.

It has been a big year for MBG and other boatbuilders on the Treasure Coast. In December 2020, Maverick Boat Group was acquired by Malibu Boats, a Tennessee-based company best known as a builder of a line of boats used for water skiing and wakeboarding. 

Commerce secretary visit: Blue Economy is how Scott Deal of Maverick Boat Group describes his industry’s importance

Fiberglass coast: With Pathfinder, Pursuit, Cobia and other brands, Treasure Coast is boat building mecca

Miami builder moving to Fort Pierce: Contender Boats expands to Fort Pierce to build center consoles and a new product line

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Building strong

Malibu already is the parent company of Fort Pierce’s Pursuit Boats which has its recently-expanded manufacturing facility down the street from Maverick’s large plant.

For more than three decades, Maverick has built four distinctive best-selling brands:

  • Maverick and Hewes, the original flats-fishing skiffs.
  • Cobia center-console premium family sport-fishing vessels ranging from 20 to 35 feet in length.
  • Pathfinder bay boats, which make up more than one-third of today’s production capacity

The company has consistently been a leader in product innovation, market development and championing marine conservation and advocacy.

Clean water is a key to fun boating

Over the years, Maverick has given millions of dollars in funding and support to various conservation organizations including the Coastal Conservation Association, the Everglades Foundation, Center for Sportfishing Policy and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

Founder and former CEO, Scott Deal of Vero Beach, was instrumental in helping craft the nation’s first policy for saltwater recreational fishing, known as the Modern Fish Act.  

Deal said when he began working on it with Bass Pro Shops founder and president Johnny Morris in 2014, he realized it’s critical for politicians and government officials to understand the fishing and boating industry needs three things to function properly:

  • Sound fisheries management policy
  • Robust marine infrastructure
  • Clean and healthy marine environment

Deal told TCPalm, the payoff is good business. Big business. What he called the “Blue Economy.”

Johnson said, in part, Maverick Boat Group’s ability to thrive and expand has benefitted from having many boatbuilders close by. A trained skilled workforce, materials and suppliers and a marine-friendly economy have enabled boatbuilding to grow as an industry on the Treasure Coast where more than 22 builders call it home and more are relocating here such as Contender Boats, Sea Vee and Ocean Master in recent years.

The future 

In efforts to continue building the marine talent pipeline in the community, St. Lucie County Public Schools began offering a Marine Outboard Service Technology Program at St. Lucie West Centennial High School in 2019.  Additionally, Indian River State College offers a short-term Marine Training Program.

“Maverick Boat Group’s iconic brands are indeed legendary.   A global industry leader and manufacturer of superior fishing and pleasure boats, MBG’s expansion is further testament that the “Blue Economy” continues its robust and vibrant growth here on the Treasure Coast” said Pete Tesch, President, Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County.

Maverick Boat Group is currently hiring for various positions and provides paid on-the-job training. All positions are fulltime and include competitive salary, benefits, paid time off, vacations, overtime, retirement plan and bonuses.  For personnel information, contact Angie Brandt at ABrandt@maverickboatgroup.com.

Ed Killer is TCPalm’s outdoors writer. Receive Outdoors news weekly in your email inbox by clicking here. To interact with Ed, friend him on Facebook at Ed Killer, follow him on Twitter @tcpalmekiller or email him at ed.killer@tcpalm.com.

Read or Share this story: https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/st-lucie-county/2021/05/06/boating-business-booming-so-treasure-coast-builder-expand-florida-fishing-pathfinder-cobia-hewes-mav/4955479001/

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WaterSports
The water has always been a favorite place for outdoor recreation. Paddling a canoe along a rambling creek, jumping the wake behind a fast boat, or snorkeling among coral reefs, are just a few of the many ways you can have fun in the water. The one thing that these and every other form of water recreation have in common is that they can all be made more enjoyable with our water sports equipment. We have all types of inflatables from balls to boats, every kind of towable equipment from tubes to water skis, canoes and kayaks and the carriers and racks to get them to the water, snorkeling gear, pools, waterproof action cameras to record your aquatic adventures.
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