Southport Boats to resume production with new owners

AUGUSTA, Maine — Kenway Corporation, which recently completed the acquisition of the Southport Boats tooling and equipment, says it plans to resume production of the brand immediately.

Manufacturing operations are in the process of being moved to Kenway’s Augusta facility, and the boats will be manufactured in parallel with the company’s smaller line of Maritime and Maritime Skiff family fishing boats. Sales and marketing will be conducted by Kenway’s sister company Maritime Marine LLC, though the Southport brand will remain independent in the marketplace.

“Late last fall our partner, Tom Johnson of RothBiltBoats, came to us with the opportunity to purchase Southport,” Kenway Vice President and Maritime President Ian Kopp said in a release. “Southport’s reputation for high-quality construction with exceptional performance captured our interest immediately. After that first ride on the legendary Hunt4 Southport hull, I was convinced we had to make this deal work.”

Asked how Southport Boats will change moving from North Carolina to Maine, Kenway President Kenneth Priest said: “Not much. The original Southport founders know this business well and with the guidance of Hunt Yacht Design they crafted a truly exceptional product, which has a great reputation. Our focus will be to build on the established standards of excellence the Southport brand represents, by elevating the production quality and efficiency.”

Kopp said the brand plans to draw a line between the the past and the present.

“Our intent is to reintroduce the models as the Southport 27 and the Southport 29 for a variety of reasons. Primarily, we intend to draw a clear distinction between the ‘old’ Southport and the ‘new’ Southport. That is important.”

Kopp said the decision is more than just about drawing a distinction.

“As we reviewed the boats with Hunt designers, we acknowledged that the overall length, the class-leading beam and interior space compels this relabeling,” Kopp said, “At the end of the day, the new Southport owners are not just buying a typical production boat, they are investing in what we believe to be a pure blend of world-class craftsmanship and ultimate performance. They deserve to have that value reflected accurately.”

While Priest and Kopp will be transitioning the manufacturing, with new boats becoming available in early May, Tom Johnson will be partnering with Southport as the face of the company in the marketplace as Director of Sales & Dealer Relations.

The brand’s first dealer commitment is Smith Yacht Sales of Hingham, Mass.

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