In Case You Missed It - November 13, 2015 News

Our weekly coverage of the latest industry news, conservation notices and more.

Grand Crossing Capital Announces Acquisition of Everglades Boats

Grand Crossing Capital Partners LP (“Grand Crossing”), a family-backed private equity firm based in Chicago, announced it has acquired a majority stake in Everglades Marine Holdings LLC and RJ Dougherty Associates LLC (operating as “Everglades”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Everglades is an industry leader in premium offshore fishing boats. Founded in 1997 by boating industry legend and former Boston Whaler executive, Robert J. (Bob) Dougherty, Everglades revolutionized the boat building industry with the invention of the RAMCAP process for one-piece, unsinkable hulls. Everglades has received numerous industry awards and an unparalleled reputation for superior safety, performance and quality. “We are delighted to partner with Grand Crossing to continue building the highest quality boats in the industry and servicing our loyal customers through our best-in-class dealer network. With fresh capital, Everglades will accelerate product development and geographic expansion, while continuing to bring cutting-edge innovation to the market,” — Bob Dougherty. Dougherty will be retiring as CEO, but will remain an investor in the company. The remainder of the Everglades team will stay in place and be led by Executive Chairman and Interim CEO, Tom Flocco, formerly the CEO of Beam Global (now Beam Suntory) and a Partner at McKinsey & Company. An avid boater, Tom has spent his career focused on consumer products and supply chain initiatives, including work within the marine industry. “This investment follows Everglades’ best sales year to date and is a testament to the company’s legendary product portfolio and strong team. We are confident in continued success and excited about the opportunities ahead,” added Tom Flocco. Grand Crossing Capital LLC is a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on branded consumer and retail businesses. With its unique family office backing, the firm takes a patient approach to investing and focuses on long-term potential. Everglades is the third investment in Grand Crossing’s current fund. More information can be found at www.grandcrossing.com. Raymond James acted as financial advisors and Cooley LLP served as legal advisor to Everglades. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP served as legal advisor to Grand Crossing. Financing was provided by SunTrust Bank.

SOVARO Launches the World’s First Line of Luxury Coolers

This November, SOVARO is launching a new line of luxury coolers at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. SOVARO Coolers offer an unparalleled suite of features that will keep your drinks chilled from your backyard, on to the boat and out to the beach.Each cooler is insulated with a thick layer of renewable cork. This natural material is harvested from the Cork Oak trees of Portugal and can resist temperatures up to 1,000 degrees. SOVARO coolers are manufactured in the USA with a polycarbonate shell that is made of the samematerial as bulletproof glass.Not only do these coolers offer style and sophistication, butthey offer extreme durability that will endure every adventure. Each cooler comes equipped with a full extension handle and two luggage-style wheels for easy mobility on and off your boat. The handles and screws are made from powder coated aluminum and stainless steel respectively for extreme resistance to any conditions, on the wateror at home.Working alongside the cork insulator is an airtight seal on the lid, a one-touch latch close and a radiant barrier, keeping the cold in and the heat out. Ideal for the boat and beach, each cooler has an interior height of 13.5 inches allowing wine and spirit bottles to stay upright. Offered in three sizes of 30, 45, and 70 quarts, the Sovaro coolers are available in both a black and white collection.

SPOT, Now Free For The Holidays, Initiated 64 Rescues In July Alone

SPOT is offering its life-saving technology for absolutely FREE with the purchase of Unlimited Tracking this holiday season (offer valid 11/1 – 12/31 2015). Hunters, fishermen, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts can get equipped for their 2016 adventures, which often go beyond the boundaries of cellular. Since SPOT's inception in 2007, the technology has helped to initiate over 3,800 rescues worldwide. Check out this cool video that gives you a glimpse into how SPOT keeps loved ones connected: http://bit.ly/1Qie682 Adventurers can use SPOT’s cool features like check ins, tracking, custom messages or if needed, SOS to reach emergency responders, all while basecamp back home can rest assured that the adventure lover in their life is equipped to stay in touch. So let them go rock climbing in Denali or deep sea fishing off the coast because in addition to being a safety device, SPOT will also be there for the other important things in life, whether it’s a birthday phone call or a text message that says “I love you, goodnight.” To view SPOT's coverage maps, please visit FindMeSPOT.com. SPOT products are available at retailers nationwide such as West Marine, REI, Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops.

Southport Boats Unveils All-New Website

Go here for the new website: http://southportboats.com/ Southport Boats of Augusta, Maine has unveiled a brand new website, complete with improved model listings, videos, photo galleries, and an all-new blog. The site was developed and designed by Jackrabbit Design, a Boston-area based marketing and design firm. The new site replaces the existing Southport Boats website and offers a more interactive user experience, with better navigation and updated content. "We realized our former site wasn't conveying the same level of quality that our boats do," said Jonathan Kirby, Marketing Manager at Southport Boats. "In the past 18 months we have introduced three terrific new models- the all new 33, as well as the second generation 292 and 272 TE. All three were received with great acclaim, but we recognized that our website did not communicate the professionalism or experience of a Southport-built boat: unmatched appearance and performance.” The new site takes advantage of Southport's deep photo library, with a focus on large, bold images to create a striking impression on each page. "We know we have a great looking boat and a lot of great photography, so we agreed early in the design phase that the site needed to showcase the iconic appearance of Southport and increase the 'wow’ factor," Kirby said. “We were really fortunate to get to work with the Southport team on the design and build of the new site,” said Dave Belyea, Creative Director at Jackrabbit. “The boat is such a striking subject it made our job that much easier when creating the design. Our biggest challenge was to represent the high-quality features and options along with the rugged build of the boat on-screen, reflecting what someone would discover during an in-person demonstration." The site will also be 100% mobile compatible to support the modern trend of surfing the web on mobile devices. Southport reported that 55% of their web traffic came from mobile devices, and this modality continues to trend upwards.

Bimini Big Game’s Wahoo Smackdown VII Cruising Towards Record Turnout For November 12-14

Among the dozens of seasoned anglers heading out for some wahoo action next month will be three ladies to prove that women winning a popular Bahamas fishing tournament is far from being “Nearly Impossible.” Jessica Hawkins, Jill Mercado and Katie Colville—experienced anglers all— have entered the tournament hosted by the Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina as Team “Nearly Impossible” along with first mate Dominic Miller and Hawkins’ charter captain husband Ralph Hawkins. With an anticipated 30-plus boats, the Hollywood, Florida-based team will be up against tough competition fishing for wahoo and vying for $10,000 in cash and prizes. Another tournament first is a $1,000 bounty for anyone breaking the current IGFA all tackle wahoo record for the Bahamas. “Interest and early registration for this November 12-14 tournament has been very strong,” said Tournament Director Misty Wells. “Naturally, I’m an advocate for women anglers competing and having Team Nearly Impossible onboard should give the guys an extra incentive.” Wells said last November, the Wahoo Smackdown tournament attracted a record 29 boats. Team “Cash Out” took heaviest fish honors with 47.6 pounds. Heaviest five fish over two days trophy went to team “Fishin A Loan”, and Heaviest Fish (First Day) winners were team “Snow Cone’s Revenge.” For Wahoo Smackdown VII, Wells has added new species categories and a youth division along with the women competitors. Registration fees are $1,500.00 per boat . Sponsor FishBrain, which is offering the $1,000 bounty for breaking the Bahamas wahoo record, will also provide teams with a free upload of its fishing app, the world’s largest social network for anglers. Tournament sponsors include FishBrain, Bost Lures, Sands Beer, Tito’s Vodka, Bucket Innovations, Don Ray Marine Artist, Island Air Charters and Salt Life Sunglasses. JVC Broadcasting-- 900 AM The Talk, 95.9 The Palm and 93.5 The Bar will be broadcasting live from Bimini during the tournament. To register go to www.biggameclubbimini.com/smackdown or call 242-347-3391.

BoatUS and AMA: Winterization and Ethanol Blended Fuels

The coming of cooler weather means an end to the boating and motorcycling season for many. Chiefly important in preparing these vehicles for winter is managing the potential for engine damage from the federally-mandated ethanol blend in our nation’s gasoline supply. Ethanol in gasoline stored for long periods can damage marine and motorcycle engines: “phase separation” of the fuel can leave a corrosive water-soaked ethanol mixture at the bottom of the gas tank. Half of the respondents of a recent Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) survey reported that they have had to replace or repair their boat engine or fuel system parts due to suspected ethanol-related damage, costing an average $1,000 for repairs. To prevent ethanol problems over the winter, boats with built-in gas tanks should have fuel stabilizer added and the tank left nearly full. E10 fuel remaining in small portable gas tanks (and not pre-mixed with 2-stroke engine oil) should be poured into your car’s gas tank and used quickly. Same goes for motorcycles - store full with stabilizer or drain completely. So how did ethanol get into our gas? Signed into law in 2005 and expanded in 2007, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires an increasing amount of biofuels such as corn ethanol to be blended into the gasoline supply. However, the ethanol mandate has failed to achieve promised consumer and environmental benefits. In addition to winter storage and engine repair concerns, ethanol-blended fuel is actually worse for our air and water. According to research from the University of Tennessee, ethanol’s “clean alternative” record is “highly questionable.” The 2014 federal National Climate Assessment reported that ethanol production can require 220 times more water than gasoline. Ninety-one percent of those surveyed by BoatU.S. prefer non-ethanol fuel for their boats. An AMA-commissioned poll found that 78 percent of all voters – not just motorcycle owners – have “very serious concerns about E15 use” and 70 percent oppose increasing the amounts of ethanol blended into gasoline. But the Environmental Protection Agency ignores the public’s concerns and continues to increase the amount of ethanol required to be blended in our nation’s gas. Even though it’s illegal to use E15 (15 percent ethanol by volume) in marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, lawnmowers, and any vehicle made before 2001, E15 can now be found in 24 states. Using E15 in many vehicles on the road today will void the manufacturer’s warranty. With a recent $100 million USDA grant made available to subsidize the installation of blender pumps at gas stations throughout the country, access to ethanol-free gas may soon be more difficult, leading to even more cases of inadvertent misfueling and engine damage. Thankfully, Congress is considering bipartisan legislation to repeal the ethanol mandate, but the question remains whether our legislators will protect consumers and our environment by eliminating the ethanol mandate.

Foundation Introduces National Marine Manufacturers Association As New Conservation Partner in Florida

The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida today announced the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has become a new Conservation Partner, helping bring attention to the importance of protecting our natural resources, particularly our waterways. Thom Dammrich, president of the NMMA said, "Florida is one of our nation's premier boating destinations as boating is a natural part of everyday life throughout the state. As part of that legacy, Florida generates more than $2.3 billion in annual retail sales of new boats, engines and marine accessories while employing an estimated 55,000 people across the state. With how critical boating is to Florida and vice versa, it's important for us to always be seeking ways to protect its waterways and ensure boaters and anglers can enjoy them for generations to come." As part of the partnership, NMMA will host the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida at one of the largest boat shows in the world—the Miami International Boat Show—February 11-15, at its new home at Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin. At the boat show, the Foundation will showcase its popular Fishing Camp for Kids, Youth Conservation Camp and "I DO" campaign encouraging Florida anglers to buy a fishing license. Foundation staff will be on hand to provide boat show attendees with information on the camps and how they engage youth in responsible use of our waterways as well as insights on how fishing license sales are reinvested to help fund fishing conservation and water access throughout Florida. What's more, the Foundation will offer fishing licenses for purchase to boat show attendees onsite during the show, providing a convenient and important resource for fishing enthusiasts. "We are proud to be a Conservation Partner of the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida and are honored to help support their mission in Florida and host them at the 2016 Miami International Boat Show at its new home at Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin. In particular, we support their "I DO" campaign and its efforts to increase fishing license sales and grow their fishing and conservation camps for kids across the state, which helps create future environmentally conscious boaters and anglers while giving kids an opportunity to experience Florida's waters firsthand. Their intensive 5-day fish camp format is a proven winner for youth engagement and their "I DO" campaign is vital to ensuring Florida anglers have access to fishing now and in the future." Foundation Chairman Rodney Barreto said, "We are so pleased to partner with the NMMA, especially as they launch the new location for the world-class Miami International Boat Show, a critical event for Florida that generates $597 million in economic activity for the state each year. We thank NMMA for its leadership and its work within the outdoor community as a visionary leader and its contribution to the conservation community and work helping to protect our nation's waterways." Barreto went on: "We ask the entire marine industry and anglers everywhere to join us at the Miami International Boat Show February 11-15 to learn about buying a fishing license, our Fish and Conservation Camps for youth around the state, and help us create the next generation that cares and respectfully enjoys our waterways while enjoying one of the greatest boat shows in the world." Visit www.FLFLC.com to learn more about the importance of fish and wildlife conservation in Florida and the Foundation's "I DO" campaign. Visit MiamiBoatShow.com to learn more about the 2016 Miami International Boat Show and reserve your parking and hotel.