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Boatbuilders Godfrey, Rinker are merging

NOV. 21 -- Godfrey Marine and Rinker Boat Co. have announced a merger agreement, which they say creates the fourth-largest pleasure boat manufacturer in the United States.

“Our interest was to be able to remain an independent boat manufacturer,” Bob Deputy, president of Godfrey Marine, said Thursday. “We didn’t want to get gobbled up by some conglomerate.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headquarters will be at Godfrey Marine’s Elkhart, Ind., facility. With the merger, Deputy says the company is now the fourth-largest boat manufacturer based on sales, dollars and units sold.

Deputy says the two companies are an ideal fit because they have similar cultures, with similar relationships to employees, dealers and suppliers.

The new company will market nine major brands that include Rinker express cruisers and Captiva runabouts; Godfrey’s Hurricane deck boats; Aqua Patio, Sanpan, Sweetwater, Parti Kraft and Tuscany pontoon boats; Polar Kraft aluminum fishing boats and Polar fiberglass fishing boats. The combined companies’ boats are sold by more than 525 dealers nationwide and in 22 countries.

Since the companies do not have competing boat lines, the merger also creates “diverse and comprehensive product lines, state of the art manufacturing facilities and a reputation for industry-leading products,” he says.

Based in Elkhart since 1903, Godfrey Marine is the largest family-owned independent builder of recreational and fishing boats in the United States. The Deputy family has owned Godfrey since 1953.

Godfrey claims to have introduced the first aluminum pontoon boat in 1958. Its Hurricane brand pioneered the deck boat concept, and has long been recognized as a leading builder of deck boats, based on retail registrations.

Founded in 1945 by the Rinker family, Rinker Boat Co. is a leading maker of express cruisers and runabouts with 16 models from 19 to 43 feet.

The combined companies offer dealers and consumers a choice of MerCruiser or Volvo Penta inboard/outboard power or outboard motor brands Evinrude, Honda, Johnson, Mercury, Suzuki or Yamaha.

— JoAnn W. Goddard