The Knoxville, Tenn.-based boatbuilder told its employees February 28 it will be reducing the number of boats it makes and plans to shift production of certain models from Merritt Island to other plants in Florida and Tennessee, according to Brunswick Corp.'s spokesman Dan Kubera.
The company said the decision was necessary because of market conditions, calling these the "most challenging times ever seen in the history of the U.S. marine industry."
Based on various indicators, Sea Ray expects demand will further weaken during 2008, and is taking measures to decrease its production to better control the supply of boats in the marine pipeline. This must be done to protect the overall health of the business as well as that of Sea Ray dealers, according to Brunswick.
Investments, productivity improvements and available capacity at other Sea Ray locations will allow for the migration of models now produced at Merritt Island to other Sea Ray plants at Palm Coast, Fla., as well as two plants in Knoxville, Tenn.
When completed, Sea Ray will have a net loss of about 80 jobs. Merritt Island will see a reduction of 350 positions, while there is an anticipated gain of 270 jobs at the three locations because they will be adding to their production mix.
The Sea Ray and Merritt Island leadership teams will work to transfer as many employees as possible between the various Sea Ray manufacturing plants and other Brunswick Boat Group locations.
This decision has no further impact on other Sea Ray or Brunswick Boat Group manufacturing locations in Florida, including those at Sykes Creek and Edgewater, according to the company.
Wall Street analysts are offering little hope of early relief after the latest round of quarterly reports from the industry's publicly held companies, including Brunswick. The companies showed further declines in sales and profits.