Limestone Boats Resuming Production in Canada – With a Clever Twist

L200R on the Chesapeake Bay

Apr 2, 2024

After acquiring the global manufacturing rights for the Canadian heritage brand Limestone® brand and tooling for the historical model lineup in 2019, , Limestone Boats made the decision to move production to Tennessee  and ended up taking over an established boatbuilding enterprise there. Almost two years ago that seemed like a smart move into the far larger American boat market but changing labour conditions and the demand disruptions of the COVID pandemic, were not what Limestone President and CEO Scott Hanson had hoped for. After a time, it became apparent that a better solution was needed.

Things started to look up when Hanson connected with Opportunities New Brunswick (ONB), a Provincial economic development agency who in turn, connected the company to the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) and the idea for Limestone’s 12-week training program was hatched. There has long been a boatbuilding industry in New Brunswick and the College recognized the opportunity that Limestone could bring.

Limestone Employees & Management in front of L200 Hull Mold

The College had a campus in St. Andrews, New Brunswick just 20 minutes from Limestone’s manufacturing plant and the facilities were ideal with classrooms and a laboratory for composites and assembly training. Completion of training moved to Limestones 33,000 sq ft plant on17 acres with ample room to expand over time, the former hockey stick factory offered a great opportunity. Add to that the fact that it was within walking distance of the community and the deal was struck. Returning Limestone to Canada was a good idea and working to create a boatbuilding training program was the clever twist that made this deal so appealing.

In fact, New Brunswick is very much market-centric for Limestone. Transportation of boats to dealers in Ontario will be much easier than it would have been to bring boats up from Tennessee, and New Brunswick is also very close to the U.S. Eastern seaboard where Limestone already has dealers from Maine to Florida.

While the brand has been out of production for a time, Hanson was pleased to say that although Limestone’s dealers suspended their orders in early 2023, they are excited about the resumption of manufacturing in New Brunswick and penning new orders as buyers are waiting patiently for the new Limestone Boats to arrive.


Hanson emphasized three important points to the new plan; 1) Limestone started in Canada and enjoys a strong heritage and a loyal owner following, 2) the connection to the college attracted the right kind of trainee boat builders – people who appreciate boats and are enthusiastic about building them, 3) Limestone gets to train the people they need to their standards and the trainees are paid while they learn.

Limestone Students Working on Mock Helm Console

The New Brunswick Community College also provides another benefit. The applicants are more mature individuals who are excited about the opportunities their new education gives them, at the same time, they are learning in a good environment. It’s not the “get hired cheap and learn as you go” situation that many other people experience where they make mistakes, (maybe expensive mistakes) and where they suffer major frustration and where many wind-up quitting.

With support from the College, Hanson has divided Limestone’s training into two areas: composites and assembly. The program seemed to need 12 weeks although considering some other factors, they settled on a 16-week program given trainee interest in learning both facets of boatbuilding.

Tech. Rep from Composites One Teaching Tabletop Infusion

When the opportunity was announced, Limestone attracted 150 applicants for 25 positions and people had transferable skills. Selections were made.  The first 16-week program started November 27, 2023 and this group will graduate in April 2024. It’s paid training, each is an employee of Limestone and each did a first few weeks in class before going out to the Lab for hands-on experience and direct coaching and guidance.

The association with New Brunswick Community College is very positive but it’s not the only beneficial support Limestone gets. Assistance from core manufacturers, chemical companies and suppliers like Composites One, NMMA and others has given the students support they are unlikely to get training in an industry environment.

Students Infuse their first Mini Hull at NBCC – Smiles All around

Other major brands like Mercury Marine and Garmin are also coming in to provide great support and to help create their passion for Limestone boats. At the conclusion of the program, students receive a Certificate of Completion.

Hanson has martialed significant support and resources to return Limestone to its place in the industry and already other boat builders have expressed interest.

Students infuse their first L200CC Lids


In mid-April with their newly trained boatbuilders, Limestone will commence serial production starting with their 2025 Limestone 20 Centre Console (with many new and upgraded components) then progressing to their Limestone 20 Runabout and then on to their new 290 Dual Console model for fall 2024. The 290 will have a cuddy cabin with berth, standing headroom and a quarter berth too. The prototype is expected to be out this summer.

Making a new small parts mold for the L200CC

The Limestone 20 models will be available with power from either Mercury or in an electric version with power by Vision Marine.

The new boatbuilders will be working on two tracks; composites and assembly. The original plan for a 12-week program was extended to 16 weeks to support the student’s goals for gaining a broader range of skills. The word is spreading.

A recent Career Day held by the Regional Economic Development Organization and Working NB, was attended by 27 employers. Many people expressed interest in joining Limestone given the conversation in the community, strength of the program and career opportunities. A wide range of both people from Atlantic Canada as well as new Canadians showed their interest.

CEO Scott Hanson is pleased to have a significant backlog of Limestone dealers looking to place Boat orders as soon as production resumes, dealers that held even after the Tennessee disruption, and although some time and production was lost, the clever twist in the move to New Brunswick seems to have opened the door to the type of enthusiastic and committed new team of boatbuilders that Limestone needs to carry on their tradition of quality.

Putting the finishing polish on L200 Mold in Preparation for Production

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