Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Kona, Hawaii
Thanked 68 Times in 65 Posts
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Re: disappearing boat manufacturers
When we were building our Westsail 32 in Costa Mesa, CA it seemed like there was a boat manufacturer on every corner, Islander, Ericson, Cal, Yankee, Columbia, Alajuela, Westsail, and probably some more. None of those companies are still in business. California's anti business attitude, Politics of Envy by State and Federal Government, skyrocketing real estate values and a changing market has wiped out those businesses. There were little boatyards scattered throughout Costa Mesa and a lot of boats being built in backyards but those yards and backyards are now high end condo's or mamoth residences. The US boat building industry has moved to lower labor and real estate states and the ranks have been greatly thinned. The few remaining US boat builders are either small custom yards or hanging on by the skin of their teeth, Pacific Sea Craft. Costs for entry boats has gone through the roof and bigger boats are out of sight. The market for older boats is soft even though they are typically a 1/3rd or less of a new boat. At least in SoCal marina slips are expensive, $370 a month for a 29' slip seem typical, and the marinas have a wait list especially for slips over 40'. Virtually no new marinas have been built in the last 30 years thanks to the Coastal Commission and highest and best use of water front for condominiums. San Francisco Bay has been somewhat better for cost though forget living aboard as those slips are scarce as hens teeth thanks to the government. Even there there is constant pressure on the marine industry. In Alameda, Svendsens yard, the adjoining marina, boat storage yard and marine commercial area is up for redevelopment as high end condo's with virtually none of the marine use remaining. Several other of the older, funkier marinas are probably going to go soon as the City Fathers want the tax revenue and don't care about the maritime history and use of the property. Given all these negatives, little wonder that there is a dwindling number of boat builders and boat ownership.