Following several years of investments and the development of numerous models, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) has decided to call it quits in the jet boat competition. In doing so, they are leaving boats to the specialists. That said, the company is still going strong in the personal watercraft market and since it is now dedicating all of its efforts to the segment, Bombardier will no doubt remain the leader of the pack in this area.
This news has not fallen on deaf ears. Rec Boat Holding (RBH) was quick to snap up BRP equipment and moulds so that it could immediately launch into this market segment. RBH manufactures products for Four Winns, Glastron and Wellcraft at its plant in Cadillac, Michigan. For quite some time already, the company has been looking to capitalize on its strengths, including the Wellcraft Scarab line, which was once the industry benchmark for high-performance offshore models.
While keeping up with market trends, Scarab models became fishing boats with centre consoles and gradually started to blend in with the masses. In the U.S., most manufacturers offer centre console models. Despite the fact that time has passed and the label’s inclination has changed, the brand name has nonetheless remained strong and it continues to garner positive comments from consumers.
The perfect pair
Considering that scarabs are little bugs that can run across water, this sporty line of turbine-propelled boats couldn’t have a more fitting name. Sport handling and performance have always been important aspects, but today, more and more boaters are practicing water sports. In Quebec alone, nearly 700 jet boats are sold annually and RBH management is hoping to claim a good portion of them. Currently, this niche is dominated by Yamaha, which is known for making more practical products than BRP.
Other manufacturers to come
Wellcraft is going to have to hit the ground running if it wants to maintain its advantage, because since dropping out of the boating race, BRP has made its Rotax engines and turbine systems available to all boat manufacturers. By 2014, several of these companies will already be launching products equipped with these mechanical parts. Chaparral has promised two boats between now and February for the Miami Boat Show and others are sure to follow. These changes will most likely translate into a wider selection and better prices for consumers. Furthermore, pleasure boaters view navigation differently than personal watercraft designers, and thus they may very well come up with new features for their models. Let’s hope so!