“Our motto is: We don’t just sell boats, we sell boating,” MarineMax CEO and President Brett McGill tells me when we discuss his company’s acquisition of the esteemed Cruisers Yachts boat builder (with its own heritage dating back to 1904). “And our history has been one of constant innovation, driven by my father Bill McGill’s vision when he founded the company. It was a relatively simple idea: to bring individual boating retailers and marina service operations together as a single, consistent network of operations. But that drive has always taken us into new territory.”
And the newest territory is entering the world of boat building directly. As a retailer with arguably one of the most recognizable brand names in the country, how did the news of owning its own building operation sit with MarineMax’s estimable stable of 25 other brand partners like Boston Whaler, Sea Ray, Grady-White and Azimut (to name just a few)?
“The acquisition was handled with care and sensitivity; we’ve never looked to ‘trade fiberglass’ and switch our brand offerings,” McGill clarifies. “Cruisers’ products fit in a category that doesn’t compete with our existing brands. The reception from our other builders has gone well. In addition, we wanted Cruisers to retain its existing retailers, so we are only offering the products in select MarineMax locations, again, to avoid unnecessary conflicts.”
The term “perfect storm” may be ill-chosen in regards to boating, but, according to McGill, the opportunity at Cruisers was just too attractive to pass up. While always popular builds, MarineMax partner Sea Ray essentially left the over-50-foot vessel market, leaving a gap in MarineMax’s spectrum of retail offerings. “Not only does Cruisers Yachts have a strong century-long history, terrific reputation, and incredible crew of skilled professionals, but it had just completed work on a new facility that was essentially doubling their production capabilities when it came up for sale.”
As such, MarineMax has no plans to re-badge Cruisers’ products, nor create any kind of special customer scenario within their sales operation. “This isn’t a case of Cruisers Yachts becoming a ‘house brand’ for MarineMax. The experience for Cruisers buyers will be perfectly consistent with buyers of any of the brands we offer.”
Certainly, with 77 locations in 22 states, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands and other countries and 30 owned marinas operating 8,000 slips, MarineMax has one of the best “real world” fingers on the pulse of what the boating public is looking for in a vessel, but McGill also downplays that: “When we investigated the opportunity, we took a good, long look at Cruisers’ long-range development plans, and they just got everything right. Sure, we can add some value and expertise with our own insight, but it would all be in sync with what Cruisers is already doing so well.”
“Plus, MarineMax isn’t exactly a ‘newbie’ to boat-building involvement,” he adds. “We are the primary customer of power-cat builder Aquila Power Catamarans that produces the charter fleets for our BVI and Bahamas operations and we also sell them worldwide. We are deeply involved in each and every one of those builds. Our ownership of Cruisers Yachts is just a natural extension of the innovation and growth MarineMax has been doing all along. We are interested in creating an evolving and always-superb MarineMax experience and lifestyle.”
When asked to pick just two Cruisers vessels that best show-off the builder’s appeal, he pointed to The 60 Cantius and the 42 GLS.
2022 Cruisers Yachts 60 Cantius
The 60 Cantius packs in the luxurious features of a larger vessel, in an easy-to-pilot 60-foot format. With spacious accommodations, abundant glass to bring waterborne vistas in, and a retractable sunroof, it is designed to deliver a cruising approach that is equal parts private opulence and floating party fun.
Price Range: $1.4 to $1.6 million
Length Overall: 59 feet, 10 inches
Beam: 16 feet
Draft: 4 feet
Fuel Capacity: 647 gallons
Powerplant: 2x 725-hp Volvo Penta IPS950 diesel engines
Top Speed: 34 knots (about 39mph)
Outstanding Features: Full length glass doors; Master, VIP, and bunk-bed staterooms; washer and dryer
2022 Cruisers Yachts 42 GLS
The adventure-seeking vibe of Cruisers Yachts’ GLS series is amped up in the new 42 GLS. Dual beach doors port and starboard expand stern water access to create a more spacious “beach club” deck; a galley with a raised wet bar and ample bow lounging space makes for an unexpected level of entertainment sophistication. The lower cabin features an aft stateroom and U-shaped dinette that converts into a berth.
Price Range: from $928,340
Length Overall: 42 feet
Beam: 16 feet
Draft: 3 feet, 6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 403 gallons
Powerplant: 3x Mercury Verado 350-400hp outboards
Top Speed: 45 knots (about 52 mph)
Outstanding Features: Expanding aft beach doors, Simrad electronics, joystick piloting