Michigan Made Boats Contribute to State’s
$7.4 Billion Active Water Lifestyle
(Grand Rapids, Mich) – Michigan continues to hold its own as the #3 state in the country for both sales and the number of registered watercraft – at 901,565 as of February 4, 2019 according to the Michigan Secretary of State. Both rankings are significant given the state has a much smaller boating season that the top two states of California and Florida. However, with more miles of freshwater coastline than any other state as well as 11,000-plus inland lakes and 36,000-plus miles of rivers and streams, there’s no question that Michigan is a boater’s paradise.
According to National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), consumers in the Great Lakes State spent $891.7 million on new powerboats, outboard engines, boat trailers and aftermarket accessories in 2017, up 1.6% from 2016. Recreational boating contributes an estimated $7.4 billion to the state’s economy, which includes direct, indirect and induced output generated by marine manufacturers (boat, engine and accessory); their suppliers, dealers and retailers; services such as repairs and marinas; boating activities and trips; and business tax revenue.
NMMA also reports that combined activity supports 1,468 marine businesses and 31,129 direct and indirect jobs here.
Michigan is also home to nearly 30 boat manufacturers which have built and maintained the state’s rich maritime history. Among those that will be on display at the 74th Annual Grand Rapids Boat Show, February 13-17 at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids, include:
Crest Pontoons — For over 55 years, Crest pontoons have brought tens of thousands of Crest owners a tremendous waterborne experience that is based on one driving principle: PONTOON EXCELLENCE. Every Crest pontoon contains the DNA that has defined and evolved our watercraft, this brand and company for more than five decades. The Owosso, Michigan headquarters and manufacturing campus has been located here since day one. This has allowed them to develop a highly experienced team in pontoon design, engineering, manufacturing, and business management. Find them in the Crest Marine booth #106, Lakeside Motor Sports / Nelson’s Speed Shop booth #102.
Four Winns — This brand began as the Saf-T-Mate Boat Company, producing fiberglass recreational boats in Cadillac in 1962. In 1975, the Winn Family – William Winn Sr., and his three sons (Charlie, William and John) – purchased the company and changed the name to…Four Winns. Today, the company which employees 500 people in central Michigan is owned by the French-based Beneteau Group—which touts itself as the world’s number one yacht builder. Find them in the Hall’s Sport Center booth #210.
Manitou Pontoons — Operating in Lansing since 1985, Manitou Pontoon Boats is considered an industry leader in the manufacture of leisure, luxury and performance pontoon boats. Last summer, Triton Industries (makers of Manitou Pontoon Boats) relocated its manufacturing facility to a nearly 142,000-square-foot facility in Watertown Township. The space, nearly triple the size of its previous Delta Township location, underwent a $5.5 million renovation to accommodate the boat-builder’s needs—including a $1.7 million MEDC grant for sewer infrastructure work. Company President Scott Van Wagenen reported at the time of the move that the company’s revenues were up 60 percent from 2007, which was the company’s best year before the recession hit. Over the next two years, Manitou expects to add 40 jobs because of growing demand. Find them in the Hall’s Sport Center booth #210, Lakeside Motor Sports / Nelson’s Speed Shop booth #102.
Tahoe Pontoons — Founded in 1972, Tahoe operates in a 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility located on a 25-acre site in Alma, where 235 employees make about 2500 boats per year. The company is a vertically-integrated builder, where every part of the finished product—the framing, pontoons, furnishings and more—is manufactured to order using the latest equipment and technology. Find them in the Murray Lake Marina booth #162.
Tiara Yachts — Founder Leon Slikkers began his boat building career with Chris Craft, before launching the Slickraft in the 1950s in Holland. This motor-powered boat manufacturer was bought out in September, 1969 by the New York-based American Machine and Foundry (AMF). Slikkers maintained his position as president for a few years, before founding S2 Yachts in February, 1974. Slikkers’ sons soon joined the business and they began rolling sailboats off the lot. By 1976, Leon decided it was time to expand the business and luxury motor yachts became a focus and the Tiara Yacht line was born. Tiara’s models include both fishing and cruising boats, ranging from 28- to 58-feet. Today, S2 Yachts—the parent company of Tiara and its sister-company Pursuit—remains a private company is still family-owned and -operated. Find them in the Skipper Buds display, booth #320.
A West Michigan tradition since 1946, the Grand Rapids Boat Show – Michigan’s longest running boat show – draws nearly 30 dealers with the newest and best watercraft from some 100 manufacturers (and collectively more than 400 boats). Bigger and better than ever before, attendees will find five (5) acres of boats filling the main convention center plus expansion into the Steelcase Ballroom.
PHOTOS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
74th Annual Grand Rapids Boat Show: February 13-17, 2019
Wednesday, February 13 2:00pm – 9:00pm
Thursday, February 14 2:00pm – 9:00pm
Friday, February 15 11:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday, February 16 10:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday, February 17 11:00am – 5:00pm
PRICES: $12 adults, $5 children aged 6 to 14. Kids 5 and under are admitted free.
STOP BY THE COAT CHECK BEFORE LEAVING THE SHOW TO RECEIVE A RE-ADMISSION WRIST BAND, WHICH GETS YOU BACK INTO THE SHOW – FOR NO EXTRA CHARGE – ALL WEEK/END LONG!
PARKING: There is plenty of close by parking – beneath DeVos Place, across the street and connected by skywalk.
For more information, click here.