With more than six decades of manufacturing one of the most globally recognized brand of boats in the marine industry, Sea Ray is celebrating 50 years at its Merritt Island, Fla. facility and honoring the location’s history and achievements.
Sea Ray first made its home in Florida when it set up a design and development department in 1972. The Merritt Island facility was established the following year with production beginning early in 1973. It was the first of several plants Sea Ray would open in Florida, and it initially produced SRV 220 and SRV 240 models, the largest boats in the Sea Ray fleet at the time. Later, it went on to manufacture the Sundancer line and the company’s first boats 30 feet and longer.
Today, Sea Ray’s Merritt Island facility, now known as the Brunswick Integrated Manufacturing Center (BIMC), produces the new Sundancer 370, Sundancer 370 Outboard, SLX 400 and SLX 400 Outboard, and provides multiple manufacturing services for Brunswick brands. It employs more than 425 team members locally and maintains operations in its long-standing facility. With an incredibly loyal and committed crew, BIMC has over 83 team members who have been with the plant 20 years or more.
“It’s quite an achievement to be celebrating 50 years of manufacturing award-winning boats in Merritt Island,” said Keith Yunger, Sea Ray president. “It’s impressive to look back through Sea Ray’s history and celebrate the contributions and advancements this facility and its amazing team members have made to the brand – one of our most popular models, the Sundancer, was created here. I’m excited for the future of Sea Ray and the innovative boats that will be built here.”
Throughout its 50-year history, Sea Ray has also maintained a long-standing relationship in partnership with the local Merritt Island community through outreach efforts spearheaded by its team members. Showcasing their appreciation for the community they call home, Sea Ray employees have devoted their time and resources to make a positive impact on the area and support their neighbors. Recent contributions include coordinating a school supply drive benefiting Lewis Carroll School, sponsoring the Thunder on Cocoa Beach offshore boat races, and sheltering vessels belonging to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Coast Guard at facility docks in Sykes Creek during Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
BIMC is currently helmed by Patrick Breckenridge, who joined Brunswick Boat Group as the director of operations in 2022. Patrick leads the production operations for the Sundancer 370 and SLX 400 model families, as well as integrated manufacturing support for other Brunswick Boat Group brands. He brings his expertise and experience of manufacturing and delivering complex products to highly discerning customers who expect the highest standards of quality that Sea Ray is known for.
“I’m honored to be a part of the Merritt Island team during such a special time in Sea Ray’s history,” said Breckenridge. “It’s clear Sea Ray’s success throughout the past five decades is due to its passionate team of the best boat builders in the world. Sea Ray and I are both committed to supporting our invaluable employees, as well as the Merritt Island and Brevard County communities, as we work together to begin Sea Ray’s next chapter.”
A native of Brevard County, Patrick brings more than 15 years of experience from the aerospace and space industries. Most recently, he was the senior production manager at Embraer Executive Jets in the assembly of four to 12-passenger custom business jets leading to FAA and ANAC (Brazil) certification, as well as the manufacturing operations for seats in commercial and business jet aircraft. While at Embraer, he held leadership roles for North American and international, logistics, supply chain, and production planning. He also holds a Green Belt from Arizona State University and was a certified Kaizen Event planner for both the U.S. and Brazil by Embraer. He has hosted over 100 Kaizen events for operational improvements.
Celebration events are planned throughout 2023.