Canadian boat builders

Andy Adams

Aug 30, 2022

Canada’s boat business seems to be going the wrong way with last week’s story in Boating Industry Canada News Week that the country’s largest fiberglass boat builder, Campion Marine was ceasing production in Kelowna, BC and that the company’s owners are now investigating contract production elsewhere.

Limestone Boats, an original Canadian brand built in the Greater Toronto Area moved production to the US about two years ago. 

Limestone was a highly regarded brand and the designs and new models offered by Campion were innovative and showed high-quality in all aspects. These were strong brands.

Strong demand for new boats and engines were coupled with desperate product shortages through the Covid-19 pandemic of the past two years and while we will never know what could have been, it’s certainly disappointing to see a brand like Campion cease building in Canada.

An editorial feature in the NMMA’ Currents newsletter last week, talked about American companies planning to bring home record numbers of overseas jobs.

They said the Wall Street Journal reported that a study from the Reshoring Initiative shows American companies are on pace to re-shore approximately 350,000 jobs this year. That would be the highest number on record since the group began tracking the data in 2010. The Journal explained that while globalization has been a tailwind for investors and large companies for much of the past 30 years, the Covid-19 pandemic, which snarled supply chains worldwide, pushed many executives to think about bringing their business closer to home.

There was a time when Johnson/OMC and Mercury built engines here. In the 1970s C&C Yachts was a world-leading brand and Canada also supported many other sailboat builders. We still have BRP headquartered in Valcourt, Quebec and now Vision is a rising electric motor force but we just never seem to have a strong domestic boat building industry.

Could the government help create a more positive business climate here to stimulate our economy instead of snuffing it out with the luxury tax?

I know we have some of the best boating on the planet and I bet Canadian buyers would choose a Canadian boat if they could. Is there an opportunity?

Andy Adams – Editor

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