Rhode Island marine industry struggling

WARWICK, R.I. — The effects of the economy have hit Rhode Island's marine industry in myriad ways, according to a report today in The Providence Journal.

There have been layoffs, with local boat builder Pearson Composites forced to cut half its 120-person workforce and Warwick retailer Boat World losing all its employees. That's in addition to a number of closures — Freedom Yachts and Albin Boats both closed within the past year — and other financial difficulties, with Goetz Custom Boats only recently emerging from receivership.

The newspaper reported that the effects can be seen in more subtle ways as well. Chris Ruhling, manager of the Brewer Greenwich Bay Marina, told the Journal he’s seen a small increase recently in the number of owners who choose to let the marina keep their boats.

At an auction this month at Ruhling's Marine, six boats were up for sale because their owners failed to pay outstanding debts for storage, warehousing or repairs, the newspaper reported. One of the boats, a 27-foot 1996 Larson went for $3,700, about a third of its market value.

Boat repossessions have also increased in the state, according to the paper. Preferred Recovery and Towing, a Lincoln repossession business, usually has only one boat on its lot but currently has three. Just before Christmas, it had 10. Repossession company Certified Sales seized 10 boats in all of New England last year, but it has already seized 40 boats this year.

To read the newspaper's full report, click here.

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