Boat builder criticizes Florida

BRADENTON, Fla. – Genmar has laid off 60 to 70 workers at its Wellcraft Marine plant in Bradenton, according to an article last week in the Bradenton Herald, a situation its leadership blames in part on Florida’s lack of action to retain its boat building industry.

“It is hard in Florida these days,” Genmar Holdings Chairman Irwin Jacobs told the newspaper. “I think Florida has lost a lot of manufacturing in the world of boating. It doesn’t seem that the state is responding to it in a way that will keep them here.”

Genmar recently moved some of its boat operations to other states. And it isn’t the first to move production from Florida. In fact, many Florida builders have relocated to other states or chosen to open new plants elsewhere in recent years, a situation that has caught the attention of Florida’s boating industry.

“It’s time that Florida realizes that this $18 billion marine industry is highly mobile and much desired by neighboring states,” Marine Industries Association of South Florida Executive Director Frank Herhold told the newspaper.

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