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330 Outage. Courtesy of Boston Whaler

Boston Whaler Receives Lou Fifer Award
Boston Whaler received the VMA 2015 Lou Fifer Manufacturer of the Year Award presented at the 35th Anniversary Awards Banquet in December. The Lou Fifer award, named after VMA’s founding executive director in 2009, recognizes the region’s best in manufacturing, honoring those who have “made a tremendous contribution to our manufacturing community and the community at large.”

VMA cited Boston Whaler’s clear strategic direction based on its three-prong focus: brand and product leadership, being the best partner to its suppliers and its community, and nurturing a winning culture. Whaler’s impressive marketing and growth strategy, and outstanding customer satisfaction, brand development, and ongoing relationship with its dealer network also won high praise. Rounding out the accolades was the company’s core strategy for employer branding adding more than 180 new jobs in the last 18 months, an achievement which earned them the State of Florida Governor’s Award for job creation.

In addition, Boston Whaler was recognized for its community outreach efforts, which include the annual Boatload of Backpacks campaign, the Indian River Clean-Up, and contributions to Cudas Unhooked, an organization that helps financially challenged or at-risk students to become educated, contributing members of society.

“We are honored to be named VMA’s Manufacturer of the Year,” said Huw Bower, president of Boston Whaler. “It is truly rewarding to be acknowledged for what are essentially our passions and our values, which fuel every effort made here at Boston Whaler. We have an incredible, highly devoted team; this award is meaningful because it speaks to their hard work and dedication.”

SOUTH FLORIDA NEWS: 330 Outage. Courtesy of Boston Whaler
330 Outage. Courtesy of Boston Whaler

New Science Paves the Way for Future of Flats Fishery Conservation
MIAMI, FL – Imagine a fishery worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually, for which virtually no data exists to inform management. Until recently, that was the case for the recreational fishery for bonefish, tarpon and permit.

In the Florida Keys the annual economic impact of the recreational fishery for bonefish, tarpon, and permit exceeds $465 million, and in the Bahamas the fishery for bonefish exceeds $141 million. These fisheries are critically important for local economies, so research that helps to improve management helps coastal communities remain viable.

A special scientific journal issue on bonefish and tarpon conclusions from the Fifth International Bonefish and Tarpon Symposium includes 15 scientific articles describing new research findings that will contribute to better sustainability management of these important fisheries. The special issue was co-edited by Aaron Adams, Director of Science and Conservation for Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Research Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Florida Institute of Technology, and Steven Cooke, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair at Carleton University.

“If these fisheries are managed correctly, they can contribute to economic well-being in a sustainable way for communities that depend on the ocean for their living and way of life” said Adams. “The fact that the pace of research is increasing and that we’re seeing the research findings being applied to conservation is rewarding.”

Numerous articles in the special issue highlight the importance of collaborating with anglers to obtain the information necessary for conservation. This is essential for these types of fisheries which are data poor.  Cooke, who with his students has conducted perhaps the most research on bonefish physiology in the scientific community, agreed with Adams. “We are able to take a fundamental research approach and apply it to real-world fisheries … I am excited to see the new research and how far we have come over the last 10 years.”

The International Bonefish and Tarpon Symposium is hosted by Bonefish & Tarpon Trust every three years, and includes research scientists, fishery stakeholders, and resource managers.


J. Christopher/Marine Industries Association of South Florida
J. Christopher/Marine Industries Association of South Florida

More depth, More Yachts
On the eve of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show the Florida Inland Navigation District, which oversees the navigability of Florida’s Atlantic ICW, made a welcome announcement for all superyacht captains navigating the inland waters of Fort Lauderdale. FIND has awarded a $20 million contract to Cashman Dredging of Quincy, Mass., to dredge the ICW to a depth of 17 feet from the 17th Street Causeway Bridge to Sunrise Boulevard. The existing depth is 13 to 14 feet.

Cashman Dredging recently completed the $7 million dredge project at the Dania Cutoff Canal. A recent report by Thomas J. Murray and Associates on the economic impact of the dredging of the Dania Cutoff Canal, showed that boatyards’ revenues have increased 59 percent since the dredge and the county has received an additional $23.4 million economic benefit. Fort Lauderdale anticipates this same boost.

“The Florida Inland Navigation District’s ICW dredging project will provide an extraordinary benefit to Broward County through the infusion of $20 million by increasing the depth of the ICW from the congressionally authorized depth of 10 feet to a new depth of 17 feet to accommodate the vessels that are seeking to visit, reside and retrofit at our local marinas and boatyards,” said Tyler Chappell, the Broward commissioner for FIND. “These facilities provide direct economic benefit and jobs to Broward County and our local communities. Our commission is extremely proud of the effort and cooperation from Broward County, city of Fort Lauderdale, and the Marine Industries Association of South Florida to make this a reality.”

Dredging was expected to begin in December 2015 and will take 24 months to complete.


Terry Boram
Terry Boram

A New Majority Stake Owner for Everglades
Edgewater, FL and Chicago, ILGrand Crossing Capital Partners LP (“Grand Crossing”), a family-backed private equity firm based in Chicago, announced it has acquired a majority stake in Everglades Marine Holdings LLC and RJ Dougherty Associates LLC (operating as “Everglades”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Everglades is an industry leader in premium offshore fishing boats. Founded in 1997 by boating industry legend and former Boston Whaler executive, Robert J. (Bob) Dougherty, Everglades revolutionized the boat building industry with the invention of the RAMCAP process for one-piece, unsinkable hulls. Everglades has received numerous industry awards and an unparalleled reputation for superior safety, performance and quality.

“We are delighted to partner with Grand Crossing to continue building the highest quality boats in the industry and servicing our loyal customers through our best-in-class dealer network. With fresh capital, Everglades will accelerate product development and geographic expansion, while continuing to bring cutting-edge innovation to the market,” — Bob Dougherty.

Dougherty will be retiring as CEO, but will remain an investor in the company. The remainder of the Everglades team will stay in place and be led by Executive Chairman and Interim CEO, Tom Flocco, formerly the CEO of Beam Global (now Beam Suntory) and a Partner at McKinsey & Company. An avid boater, Tom has spent his career focused on consumer products and supply chain initiatives, including work within the marine industry.

“This investment follows Everglades’ best sales year to date and is a testament to the company’s legendary product portfolio and strong team. We are confident in continued success and excited about the opportunities ahead,” added Tom Flocco.

Grand Crossing Capital LLC is a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on branded consumer and retail businesses. With its unique family office backing, the firm takes a patient approach to investing and focuses on long-term potential.


Westrec Marinas Haulover Park set to open Spring 2016
After nearly two years in the making, Westrec Marinas will open its 508-rack fully enclosed dry storage building at Haulover Park in Spring 2016. The $20 million drystack is five racks high, can accommodate vessels 50 feet in length overall, and can withstand a Category 5 hurricane. The new facility will also feature an innovative elevator lift system for launching and retrieving vessels. The dry stack is in response to the growing demand for storage for 45- to 50-foot yachts powered by three or four outboards.

Haulover Marine Center is located on the Intracoastal Waterway at Bakers-Haulover Inlet in North Miami Beach, between Sunny Isles and Bal Harbor. www.haulovermarinecenter.net/


Courtesy of Sailorman
Courtesy of Sailorman

Sailorman to Keep it In the Family
Since 1985, Chuck Fitzgerald has been the sole owner/operator of Sailorman, a landmark new and used marine store on State Road 84 in Fort Lauderdale. His warm smile, fun-loving character, and honest approach to business have earned him a well-recognized and respected name in the marine community, both in Ft. Lauderdale and around the world. Exploring retirement options, Chuck decided to sell the property where the store’s current run-down, mosquito infested building sits. He also searched for a soul crazy enough to venture to move the store with its unending inventory to a new location. After a few near deals, Heather, his eldest of two daughters and first mate for the past 23 years, couldn’t bear to see it go, and decided to carry on the Sailorman legacy. Heather, aside from her remarkable resemblance to Chuck, holds dear the character and business practices that have made Sailorman one of the most loved marine stores around the world. She, her husband and four sons look forward to following in Chuck’s footsteps.

Chuck plans on easing into retirement slowly and will be around until Sailorman has firmly set its anchor at the new location. While the exact place has yet to be finalized, the move will take place sometime in the spring of 2016. It will remain in close proximity and promises to bring the same charisma, inventory, and great prices, just without the mosquitos. And who knows, perhaps it will be air conditioned!

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