Brunswick selling off Sea Ray brand

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by KnotEasy, Dec 5, 2017.


    AKBASSKING Active Member

    Apr 13, 2008
    SE Alaska Summer/Columbia River winter
    1988 Yacht Fisher
    Twin 375hp Cat 3208 T/A
    WOW! I leave CSR for awhile and look what happens! West Marine is sold off, now Sea Ray! What are you guys doing over here? The sale of Sea Ray is even a discussion on trawler forums.....
  2. JimG

    JimG Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2008
    Southern WV
    2007 310 DA
    Kohler 5ECD
    Twin 350 Mags
    Raw Water Cooled
    That's obviously wrong/typo... hell, that's one small cruiser, or a one large SLX! I know they've sold more than that.
  3. KnotEasy

    KnotEasy Member

    May 14, 2013
    Whitehall, Mi.
    205 Sport
    5.0L MPI
    A little more info about the sale:

    "The sale includes the company’s Sykes Creek and Palm Coast facilities in Florida, its manufacturing plant in Tellico, Tenn., and its Dandridge and Greeneville, Tenn., support facilities that are largely dedicated to, and are currently supporting, Sea Ray production, Brunswick spokesman Daniel Kubera told Trade Only Today.

    Sea Ray parts, development and engineering, as well as international operations, will also be sold, Kubera said, as well as the Meridien brand, which has been out of production for several years."
  4. gerryb

    gerryb Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 12, 2006
    Somers Point, NJ
    "On Vacation"
    2006 40 Sundancer
    Raymarine E125 & HD Radar + Garmin 5208
    QSB5.9 380 Cummins
    In addition to competition, there are two other reasons IMO. Not enough new buyers entering the market and major pricing missteps.
    1) Not enough millennials interested in boating. Ask any of them you see if they would ever consider buying a boat. With any product, you need to look at the trends and interests of future buyers to sustain your business. 2) Over the last 20 years, this Searay business has been progressively tailored to middle aged wealthy professionals with apples-to-apples pricing of the product going up, my guess, 8-10% each year as I look back to 2005 when I got my first Searay. Anyone see an issue with that pricing model as we look at median incomes in the US:

    Add to this the incessant and never-ending costs of this hobby with repairs, maintenance, storage, supplies, upgrades, entertainment, and the granddaddy of them all: DEPRECIATION... It's a ridiculously expensive hobby.
    We still love boating but my views on this hobby are supported by what I see. I sold BC stock at a gain about 3 years ago when I started to see this coming about. Anyone that buys a new boat is nuts IMO and that view is progressing through to the bottom line of companies like Searay. A few of us met with Searay's CEO in AC a few years ago and I remember pleading with him to try to see if there were ways to make this hobby more affordable. Documentation of things that an owner can do themselves, better access, more reliability, etc. Instead the leaders seemed to be more interested in the latest technology, uber-innovative design updates and going upscale with materials and marketing.
    mobocracy and Chris R like this.

    AKBASSKING Active Member

    Apr 13, 2008
    SE Alaska Summer/Columbia River winter
    1988 Yacht Fisher
    Twin 375hp Cat 3208 T/A
    Could it be that Sea Ray priced themselves out of certain markets?
    Lakebum431 likes this.
  6. JamesT

    JamesT Member

    Oct 7, 2013
    Longport, NJ
    2011 470 Sundancer
    Cummins 480s w/ Zeus PODs
    I do think that most SR owners have an immense loyalty to the brand. My only experience owning a SR is my 470 DA and I am continually amazed with how well they are built and the fit an finish is superb. (I've owned 3 Chaparral sterndrives prior (230, 275, 310) and there is no comparison. I look at many of the European 40+ foot models and they are very plasticky/Ikea IMO. Whoever buys SR I think can pare the models down and accentuate the many positives of the brand. BTW, ex SR CEO Rob Parmentier is now running Carver and has transformed Carver into something that IMO is just as nice if not nicer than anything SR has to offer, foot for foot. The C52 Coupe is a home run and the room inside is nearly unbelievable. Compare that to SR's 510 Sundancer and SR loses big. Again, IMO.
  7. gerryb

    gerryb Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 12, 2006
    Somers Point, NJ
    "On Vacation"
    2006 40 Sundancer
    Raymarine E125 & HD Radar + Garmin 5208
    QSB5.9 380 Cummins
    Huge delta in pricing here and a good example of Searay's pricing missteps. Go to both sites and compare boats and pricing. Although the Searay's are a nicer vessel IMO, they are not able to justify a 35-50% pricing premiums. I'm bewildered that their dealer network has stood by so long as the sales dried up, especially at the higher end.

    The argument Searay would make against my prior post is that this is not a "hobby' but rather a 'lifestyle'. Therefore the pricing issue is really not applicable. Whether it's a hobby or lifestyle, the credit card bill (or loan payment statement) comes in the same time each month.
  8. PlayDate

    PlayDate Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2006
    Washington DC
    1994 370 Express Cruiser
    454 Mercruisers
    I'm willing to bet the "$380,000" is supposed to be $380M which fits in with Financials. With volume down and General and Administrative expenses shared with the other Brunswick brands I can't see it being better than a break even operation. If it is break even and labeling it as a discontinued business .........I doubt they will get more than 1x revenue for it (which is close to what they payed for it in 1986).

    I also find it interesting that they believe Sea Ray's biggest competitor "is its own boats" since they last a long time. That is ironic: making a high quality product eventually puts you out of business.......
  9. ygbsm

    ygbsm Member

    Aug 22, 2016
    Knoxville, TN
    2015 230 SLX
    350 Mag/ Bravo III
    The Boattest articles says that Sea Ray has been operating at a loss.
  10. JamesT

    JamesT Member

    Oct 7, 2013
    Longport, NJ
    2011 470 Sundancer
    Cummins 480s w/ Zeus PODs
    Yeah, I saw that irony too. I will say that Sea Ray flooded the market by producing many boats. There are a slew of my model on the market currently. Why anyone would pay $900,000 for a 2017 470 when they could get a great 2012 model for less than half of that, makes no sense.
    C-SIDE likes this.
  11. JamesT

    JamesT Member

    Oct 7, 2013
    Longport, NJ
    2011 470 Sundancer
    Cummins 480s w/ Zeus PODs
    I've always thought SR was brilliant because it's literally the only boat builder that can take a buyer from cradle to grave. In other words, you buy your first boat say 18-20 feet in length at age 40. From there you continue trading up within the brand and never have to leave it, even if you want a 60+ foot yacht. No other builder can make that claim. Maybe that model no longer works. Too many demographics to appeal to, too many marketing campaigns, etc.
  12. Gary B

    Gary B Active Member

    May 20, 2015
    Long Island
    2007 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM 11

    Completely agree. My wife and I have been boating over 25 years and our kids grew up on on our 5 different Sea Ray's over that that time. In the 1990's and through the mid 200's there were numerous families like us with kids buying new or relatively new boats every few years. We had several friends trading up multiple times to bigger Sundancers in a short period of time. Fast forward to today where we rarely see families with kids buying new cruising boats. They either are purchasing older cruisers or 20-30' day boats if they can afford to boat at all.

    In addition, the costs of ownership, the ridiculously expensive prices of new boats and the damage the recession caused took numerous families out if boating all together. Organized sports for kids today are now year round vs seasonal as it was years ago. This causes little time to use and justify the time and financial cost of a family cruiser that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Even if a family can make the numbers work it's very hard to justify with sports and other activities competing for the limited available weekends.

    Unfortunately we can not think of many boating families with kids and a relatively new cruising boat. Maybe the inboard and I/O boats will go the way of the station wagon? Who knows.... It's sad to see.
    jjteply likes this.
  13. mquiet

    mquiet Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2009
    North carolina
    1999 480 Sedan Bridge
    Caterpillar 3196
    This has been a great read. Seems that the issues are across a breadth and depth of boating and Searay failing to foresee those issues. I break it down this way: 1) Cost, a new 40ft sundancer is almost $1mill. Plus maintenance at 10-15% annually. This adds up quickly and because everything is lightweight/high performance the longevity has decreased (look at all the exhaust/aftercooler issues). 2) The styling of new models is very different with the Euro look. I think some people enjoy the new look, but a would guess that most boaters prefer the more traditional lines. Working on the newer boats is more difficult as more "things" are put in them, making it more difficult and costly to repair. 3) Economy has taking a huge hit over the years and the way people need to save for retirement has changed with pensions no longer available and people not even sure if Social Security will be there for them.

    I bought our 480DB 3 years ago and when I was comparing it to a newer Meridian I could not begin to justify the cost for the product. I was much happier spending one-fourth the amount for a older 480 that was built as a battleship versus a 45ft that seemed to have more luxury, but a "cheaper" feel.

    Anyway, I think as this adds up, we see the result. I do hope a group purchases SR and I hope they come back. I would lessen the number of available models and try to get back to the needs of a boater versus the wants they can forego to bring back high quality at a much more affordable price.
  14. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    The economy and its impact on milenials, as well as retirees, have contributed to sagging boat sales IMHO.
    I know several people who, prior to the financial crisis/real estate collapse were taking equity out of their rapidly appreciating homes to buy depreciating assets like boats and luxury cars. While the economy and home values are on the rise, the banks aren’t giving away money the way they used to and a lot of the people who made the mistake of getting under water on their homes are at or nearing retirement age and have learned their lesson.
    As for the milenials; They are graduating from College with an unbelievable amount of debt and their job prospects are more limited and often not that well paying overall. That leaves them with much less disposable income than their parents may have had a generation ago.
    The economy has had it’s impact on boatyards and marinas around here over the last generation or so. Lots of them are long gone after their owners sold off the properties for development by condo and luxury home builders.
    Less boatyards and marinas in the area have resulted in much higher price of ownership for those that have have the size or kind of boats that need to be docked in a marina or boatyard.
    Considering all of this, it would be no surprise that smaller outboard boats that can be easily trailered and stored in a driveway would be the bread and butter of the industry.
    However, I think that the job market and economy are going to be strong for the next few years and while larger cruiser sales may be suffering right know, if my instincts are correct, they will see a bounce in the next few years.
  15. RubberDuckeeToo2

    RubberDuckeeToo2 Member

    Oct 21, 2006
    '98 370 Sundancer
    '97 SeaDoo Speedster 14'
    9.5' Caribe RIB
    7.4 Mercuisers
    Some of the reasons for the decline are industry-wide. The economy, jobs, lending, aging, generational differences and operating costs are all factors that affect every boat manufacturer and marina. Sea Ray’s problems are not Sea Ray’s alone.

    That said, my 370 was one of their most popular models and yet since the mid 2000’s they have not really come up with something comparable. At the boat show this fall, I only saw one Sea Ray boat that I found the least bit interesting. It was smaller than what I already have and the price was out of my league. Whether you are part of the 1% or not, design and cost are factors for something that can only get fractional use. Foot-itis may be a thing of the past.

    And I truly agree that the quality of the boats may well be their own enemy. Unless most technology today which almost demands a constant cycle of upgrading and disposal of old units, our boats are built to last and last. Perhaps a better business model would be to slowly evolve the designs and create a program of maximum support for older models and a system of incremental upgrades for the older equipment which will surely fail when worn out. I’m thinking of how much my Jeep Unlimited 4x4 looks like the 1941 Ford GP and the market that surrounds all the Jeep 4x4’s.

  16. Skip

    Skip Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2006
    Potomac River/Chesapeake Bay
    07 58 DB
    Truly Blessed IV
    900 HP V8 MANs
    2010 Nautica 12' RIB, 40HP Yamaha
    V8 900HP MANs, Twin Disc transmissions
    Agree with many of the comments. Watching the warranty work being done by my dealer on new Sea Rays 40 feet and up leads me to believe that quality control is an issue, and I do not like the new designs. I just do not see the value for the money.
    I am not a buyer of the new Flys. The 590 is nice but I don't want Zeus. The 650 with Cats is a nice boat but for the money I will buy something else. I hate the trend of putting undersized diesels with Zeus on big boats in the name of fuel economy. Ridiculous. My 07 52 with MANS runs 24 knots at 65% load, 44GPH (tide dependent). The 510 with twin 600 Cummins and Zeus is a 23 knot boat at 90% load. The 460 fly has QSBs....what? (And no bridge refrigerator.....who made that decision?)
    How many Zeus trained mechanics are there in the Bahamas? I have owned Sea Rays for 13 years. My kids grew up on our 260/320/420/52. I have 1500 helm hours in Sea Rays. Love my 52. Just not sure my next one is a Sea Ray.
  17. Boat Guy

    Boat Guy Well-Known Member

    I would very much like to study this industry as a whole. I'd like to see Beneteau's numbers....

    My uniformed opinion is the industry tried to rebound to the previous days of high volumes and margins instead of adjusting to a more limited market. I think they priced their products too high to provide a certain margin. I would think a lower price point would have allowed for more unit sales and, in turn, lower scale-able costs and sustainable margins...

    The Sea Ray brand is an excellent brand...I have no idea about their profit numbers. IMO, for a sale, that's really what matters. I'd like to see the numbers...I'm a buyer at 1x EBITA
  18. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    I have been on a Beneteau.

    Would be nice sitting at the marina, but would not last if you are cruising.

  19. Bridog

    Bridog Well-Known Member

    Oct 4, 2006
    Gulf Shores AL / Brick NJ
    2016 19SPX OB
    Mercury 150 4S OB
    Any idea as to what other boat company would be in a position to purchase SeaRay?
  20. Jeff h

    Jeff h Member

    Sep 17, 2017
    2017 Sea Ray SPX 210
    4.5 merc, Alpha drive
    The R&D money just isn't there for the large cruisers. I don't know anyone who is buying them. Our local Sea Ray dealer doesn't even have anything longer than 27' or so on his lot.

    Small day boats, sure. I see the inventory moving nicely. Sea Ray just has to make a shift to the market. They will adjust, life will go on. Maybe they decide to get into pontoon boats in the future, or maybe deck boats. There is a big opportunity here for luxury smaller boats. Sea Ray already has a better boat in the SPX than Cobalt does in their offerings. The smaller Cobalts are "meh", nothing special.

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