Baja Boats founder acquires Checkmate Powerboats

BUCYRUS, Ohio – The founder and former president of Baja Boats, Doug Smith, has acquired Checkmate Powerboats in Bucyrus, Ohio, according to a statement yesterday from the company.

While details of the sale were not released, it was announced that molds, inventory, manufacturing facilities and related assets were included in the transfer of ownership.

Smith, a 36-year boat building veteran and executive, began contemplating his return to the marine industry in early 2006, according to the company.

“I’ve never lost my love for boating or the business,” commented Smith, who now assumes the position of Checkmate Marine, Inc. owner/president. “I think the recreational boating market is ready for some new direction and that’s where we plan on taking future Checkmate product.”

Checkmate will immediately begin building 2008 models.

“It just makes good sense to start fresh and supply our dealers with brand new product,” Smith said. “Our line will consist of models from 16 to 33-feet, including a special emphasis on eight exciting outboard packages. With all of the recent technological advancements in outboard engines, now’s the time to develop and offer a variety of models that take full advantage of those new-age benefits in fuel efficiency, dependability and environmentally-friendly low emissions. Rest assured that we also intend to continue the high standards of construction, quality, workmanship and performance that have become synonymous with Checkmate Powerboats for four decades.”

Smith started his marine industry career in 1971, building and assembling his first Baja boat in an abandoned roller skating rink in his Bucyrus, Ohio hometown.

“It was an exciting and rewarding journey, taking Baja from a small regional boat company to a nationally recognized brand,” said Smith. “I see a lot of potential for growth and expansion of Checkmate in the years ahead. With excellent people, motivated dealers and exceptional product, we have a great foundation for success.”

Smith also named Dean Reynolds as Checkmate’s new general manager; Kip Combs, sales manager; and Mike Combs, purchasing manager. Kip and Mike are sons of former Checkmate founder/owner, Bill Combs.

“Checkmate Powerboats wouldn’t be the same without a Combs on the organizational chart,” said Smith. “Bill Combs and his sons have lived Checkmate Powerboats for nearly forty years. They’re an important part of this legacy.”

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One Comment

  1. I own and bought a new 1972 11 1/2 foot cobra boat which was later changed the company name to BaJa.
    Neil Baker signed the title. I am looking for history on this boat model.

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