US motoryacht builder to open new yard, creating more than 200 jobs over five years

MJM Yachts, the Boston, Massachusetts-based builder of “eco-friendly motoryachts”, is creating a new shipyard in Washington, North Carolina with a US$12m investment and the promise of creating more than 200 jobs over the next five years.

Pamlico Yachtworks will serve as MJM’s manufacturing division, building its five current models ranging from 35ftt-53ft using “environmentally responsible processes”.

MJM/Pamlico will receive up to US$1.7m in a Job Development Investment Grant over 12 years from the state. The facility will occupy over 24,000sq ft in what Beaufort County officials call an “industry-ready building” in a government-funded economic development park, a major factor in the decision-making process, according to the Washington Daily News.

MJM president Peter Johnstone told the paper that the proximity to Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean and the lower cost of doing business were also factors.

“We’re very close to salt water to sea trial our boats,” Johnstone said. “The tradition of boatbuilding [in the area] is very important, and the tradition of boating is also important. Chances are, most people working on the boats are also boaters, so they understand what we’re trying to do. That leads to better quality,” he said.

The company is expected to add 40 to 50 new jobs per year, beginning next autumn, following renovation of the facility, with annual salaries projected to be over US$45,000. That’s nearly US$10,000 more than average wages in the county.

Additional incentives in the winning play for the new yacht yard includes US$185,000 in performance grants from the county and more than US$150,000 in tax incentives from the city over the next five years.

Beaufort County is home to at least nine boatbuilders, most notably Fountain Powerboats.

“This solidifies our role as a major boatbuilding and yacht building center, probably in the US,” said Martyn Johnson, director of Beaufort County Economic Development. “Manufacturing jobs are good because they have a high multiplier because of all the service and retails jobs that will follow.”