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Significant Growth at Boston Whaler
|Author||Topic: Significant Growth at Boston Whaler|
posted 07-13-2015 04:20 PM ET (US)
This news is not exactly hot off the press, but it deserves mentioning, even if it is a bit old. Boston Whaler's Edgewater, Florida plant has significantly expanded since I visited it many years ago, and they now have 700 people working there. The last 120 hires were recently added due to an 18-month-expansion project. The growth in their business and employment was so significant that the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, came for a visit to recognize their achievements.
I know a lot of readers here think the pinnacle of Boston Whaler occurred in the late 1980's, maybe with a nice OUTRAGE hull with a pair of smokey two-cycle engines on the transom, and can't quite come to terms with a Boston Whaler outboard skiff that has a price of $50,827 like a 210 MONTAUK, but, apparently, a lot of people are buying Boston Whaler boats, and that is good news.
Boston Whaler is making great boats--better than ever I think. I just wish I could afford one. Heck, if money were no object I'd have a 345 CONQUEST in a slip nearby right now. But let's give some credit to Boston Whaler, the management, the designers, the engineers, the production people, and the dealers. They have kept Boston Whaler not only alive but thriving in what has been a tough time for new boat sales and for boating in general.
Hey, I like a nice late 1980's OUTRAGE as much as the next guy, but it is best to remember that the 1980's are 35-years ago. What sold then might not sell now. So a tip of the hat to Boston Whaler and all the great people working there.
posted 07-13-2015 05:11 PM ET (US)
I agree that Whaler is building the best boats ever.I also think the 210 Montauk is close in performance to a classic 22 outrage at least when looking at them on the lot.
If I were to buy a new whaler it would probably be the 210.
Good work Boston Whaler!
posted 07-13-2015 06:21 PM ET (US)
Whaler realized a number of years ago that they were going to "Miss the Boat" if they focused on just making small boats.
Bigger boats mean larger profit margins and those who can afford those big boats, are not as effected by economic down turns...
What's that old saying..."Work smarter not harder" ?
posted 07-13-2015 08:50 PM ET (US)
Jeff said, "Whaler realized a number of years ago that they were going to "Miss the Boat" if they focused on just making small boats."
I would like to do a different take on that to say: Whaler realized a number of years ago that they were going to "Miss the Boat" if they focused on just making boats for the male gender and just focused on fishing.
If your spouse suggests you buy a boat, pretend you are pouncing on the buzzer on a TV game show like Family Feud because that suggestion can be retracted as soon and as fast as it was given... you better act fast. Now if the boat is a utilitarian fishing boat looking like the boat version of an Army Hummer (not H2 or H3), the spousal suggestion may never come. So Boston Whaler took the Bass-Pro shops type of approach. Have a restaurant, play area, fudge shop, clothing, etc. All that stuff that appeals to the family. If the family likes it, they will support the purchase. Now if you go to a Bass-Pro shop and slice it and dice it and look at the different genres, you can look at any one genre and it only scratches the surface. A hard-core saltwater fisherman will look at the saltwater tackle and say that most saltwater tackle shops go into much more depth. If you look at the boating supplies, you would say it pales in comparison to a West Marine type of place. Even the fudge shop and restaurant pale in comparison. But the fact that it is all in one place, under one roof, it is a really fun family experience. I think this is how Whaler is approaching it. So if you are a hard-core aficionado in, say, saltwater fishing, and the family is not that into it, I think all of the family compromise aspects dumb-down the boat for the hard-core guy. But then, that's where Everglades comes in.
One last word. For me personally, no Verado engines. No thanks. But if I had the money for a Whaler 345 Conquest, I would have the money to put three Yamaha 350s on it and sell three Verado 300s with 0.00 on the hour-meter. Or three G-2's (Maybe I could get them all white or something). I just compared the Everglades performance stats with Whalers and on competing models, and the Whaler performance is almost always worse. Slower and worse MPG.
So if you try to cater to a lot of tastes at once, you may trend towards mediocrity in any one area but the overall package may be appealing. A spouse supporting a purchase of a boat vs. no boat. Better a boat than nothing.
posted 07-14-2015 08:02 AM ET (US)
I wonder if the company is larger per capita than it was in the 1980s? I don't have the numbers but I would tend to think it might not be. Everything has been inflated at a much higher rate than 35 years ago, all except middle class salaries that is. I think if you were to look at it this way maybe whale hasn't grown that much at all.
posted 07-14-2015 09:35 AM ET (US)
This may be indicative of the overall health of Brunswick's boat operations. Here in Fort Wayne Harris-Kayot moved, two years ago, into a new plant that was twice the size of their old one. I think it's over 300K sq. ft.
posted 07-14-2015 10:40 AM ET (US)
Jim, thanks for the update. While I'm not a fan of the swoopy, organic designs of many of the Whalers, I love the Montauks. I'm a big fan of the 210 - in fact I'd probably buy one if I could get it with my choice of outboard.
posted 07-14-2015 03:54 PM ET (US)
If measured by number of participants or boats sold, boating peaked c.1988. While the total dollar value of boats sold has increased since then, the total number of boats has not. Boat builders now sell fewer boats at much higher prices.
posted 07-15-2015 02:51 PM ET (US)
Also boats have gotten progressively gotten bigger thus requiring a larger production facility.
posted 07-15-2015 11:43 PM ET (US)
The base price for a 190 Montauk is $37,735.00
posted 07-16-2015 09:31 AM ET (US)
I have no idea what the premium is to buy a commercial version of a 210 Montauk vs the recreation model. I recall that Boston Whalers commercial models can be ordered without power or rigging or even with your engine of choice. Is it possible to order a recreational model Boston Whaler without an engine or rigging?
I know that engine preferences are deeply ingrained in many of us. Mostly, I believe, from our long term earlier experiences. In terms of reliability and performance there is not a huge difference between the brands with, perhaps, the exception of the Evinrude G2 line.
posted 07-18-2015 07:50 AM ET (US)
[Update: I had the model wrong in my initial article; the price was for a 210 MONTAUK. I had the year wrong in my follow-up: boating peaked c.1988 in terms of number of boats sold.]
posted 07-18-2015 08:19 AM ET (US)
Glad to see the growth at Whaler. Building a great product that continues to endure deserves the commensurate reward of success and loyal following. A Whaler is, in my opinion, the best boat a person can buy....SAFETY, UTILITY, RESALE.
That said, my advice to those at Whaler who probably read these postings is to "sell the customer the Whaler he wants". Don't limit your own market.
If/when I one day buy a NEW Whaler, the last thing I would want is to be told that I must buy a particular motor brand with my boat. I would appreciate advice and recommendations, but ultimately, the customer votes with his dollars, or feet.
Everyone likes different things. Put a price on the product, and sell the buyer what he/she wants. Such a philosophy should help broaden the Whaler market, and continue to grow the Edgewater plant and corporation.
I have an older Whaler - a 1987 Guardian 18 but in the future may buy a new Whaler from my favorite Company!
posted 07-18-2015 04:15 PM ET (US)
Glad to hear that Boston Whaler is doing very well again as all production boat builders got crushed during the downturn. While I prefer the classic models the newer models really are very nice - especially the larger outrage models. Still can't believe people spend 250,000+ for some of these boats but can't argue with the quality and ride. It would be interesting to see if more Whaler's would be sold factory powered with Yamaha or a choice of engines rather than just Mercury. Even though Mercury's are very good engines these days, I suspect the answer would be yes.
posted 07-19-2015 09:52 AM ET (US)
I'm with tedious. That 210 Montauk with a T-top, and 200 Verado is VERY tempting, but it IS expensive. That may be the one for me when I downsize from our 28. How about a 250 Montauk with a 275 Verado, or twin 150's? I know they DON'T make 250, but if they did--man o'man--I'd love to have it. Boston Whaler ought think about that one. [Deleted 35 unnecessary periods from this post. Please do not use multiple punctuation marks. One will be enough. Thanks--jimh]
posted 07-19-2015 09:56 PM ET (US)
The new models don't seem to hold value like the classics, it seems they have a severe initial depreciation similar to other brands.
posted 07-26-2015 01:08 AM ET (US)
The appeal of classic Whalers back in the day, was that the smaller ones were affordable to the average middle class boater. It would be hard to say that now, as new Whaler prices have expanded much faster than the average salary.
Too bad they did not leave the classic 15' & 17' in production, if they had there might not be so many Carolina Skiffs around.
posted 07-26-2015 09:56 AM ET (US)
I don't know about that George...
I've been looking at prices of the pre-owned Montaulk 190 and/or 210.
Whew..........NOT ANY DEALS that I can find, perhaps due to rarerty.
Plus, the only real plentiful one is the 170 or the 150 Sport which I would not be interested in.
posted 07-26-2015 02:00 PM ET (US)
I'm not gonna post what someone told me within the last year about Whaler production (specific to a certain larger Whaler CC model) but astounding for sure. They are indeed selling. Clearly profit margins are significant for larger boats. When you simply consider how much fuel they burn and demand for big boats some people are doing very, very well in this economy.
Obviously, there are boaters who could buy a 42, sell the Mercurys and install quad Sevens. With controls. That was part of the conversation we had last fall. Consider the 435 CC Everglades - with quad Yamahas or the Seven option. Just the quad Sevens would cost almost as much as Jim's dream 345. JIm - the 315 is a super nice boat for a lot less with twins that work great.
posted 07-27-2015 01:12 AM ET (US)
To me, the large Outrages in the current lineup, especially that one over 40 feet are to "boats" what Duck-billed Platypuses are to "animals". The later seems like there were enough spare parts to create one last being after everything else had been done. I really wish they would put all of that family friendly stuff into the Vantage line and leave the Outrages to hard-core fishing. The 1993-1997 Offshore 27 was hard-core fishing and if you wanted a family boat, you'd get the Walkaround Cabin 27. I don't know what those new Outrages are, other than a litany of features from everywhere which dilute the hard core aspect. I like macfam's idea of a 25 Montauk. It would approach being what a pre-1993 Outrage was all about. It would do well against Grady's and Edgewater's coastal explorer (not too deep v-hulls). I would still sell the Verado and put a G2 or Yamaha 300 on it. What I'm saying, I guess, is that if Whaler has all of these lines, like Dauntless, Outrage, Conquest, Vantage, etc., I wish they would keep one of them as hard-core fishing and not "Platusustasize" it with all of these strange designs and features which are off the fishing topic.
Maybe it is a topic for another discussion but if your boat was swallowed by a T-Rex and the rules of the game were you had to replace it with a new boat of equal size within 5 feet, what would you get today? My answer given my Outrage 21 would be either a Grady Fisherman 230, Edgewater 245cc or an Everglades 230. If the rules were modified, an Everglades 295cc. To me, an Everglades 295cc is today's purchase of 1993's purchase of a Whaler Offshore 27. Hard core. Both didn't restrict you to a particular brand of engine.
posted 07-27-2015 09:21 AM ET (US)
How about a new CC Cuddy? Something for the hard core with a couple of bunks.
posted 07-27-2015 04:54 PM ET (US)
It appears Whaler took a risk and have been rewarded with their market analysis. Huge dollars have been used in the big cuddy cabin models where they could really get creative with a budget that is not as strict say as a 19 or 21 outrage where the budget isn't nearly as large. I'm sure they could make a new 19 outrage that would make one have bathroom incontinence but the reality is the price would be so far out of reach who would buy one. The cost of pre production would be a waste of time and money.
The purchasers of the big ones have that extra in their pocket to make it work. The rest is the commission. 345 or 285 etc. These boats have been back ordered at our Whaler location going on for about 3-4 years now . People are waiting almost a year to get their boats so the commitment is hefty. They obviously feel the love for Boston Whaler. I happen to like the bigger newer Whalers but feel the opposite with the smaller models. They would look much better in a dessert tan color.
posted 07-29-2015 10:49 AM ET (US)
Back ordered. Wow
posted 07-29-2015 06:34 PM ET (US)
A buddy of mine used to work at Brunswick in IL and advised me that the mark-up (margins) on Whalers is amazingly HIGH. Probably the highest of their brands. Must be the source of funds to build this new building in Edgewater.
posted 07-29-2015 08:21 PM ET (US)
Pete, that is what the Outrage 420 is all about--center console buddy. You just need $750,000 in spare change to get one custom ordered.
By the way, how is this "backordered" any different that Intrepid and some of the other custom builders who don't lay fiberglass matte until the order has been placed? No one in the modern world stocks unsold inventory anymore.
posted 08-08-2015 11:24 AM ET (US)
I just tossed the latest issue of Boston Whaler Boats Magazine (vol.6 issue1) that just arrived. While I'm happy to see BW prosper, expand, create new jobs, and diversify their line up, there's not much content regarding boats that I could ever purchase, store, trailer, equip, fish, or maintain, on any of the 50 pages.
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