Maverick Boat Group (MBG) broke ground last week on a new facility in St Lucie County, Florida. The 106,000sq ft facility will house production for its Cobia boats line. Local officials expect the company to eventually add 120-150 jobs when completed later this year. Maverick currently employs 287 at its 66,000sq ft facility located near the new site.

Jim Leffew, vice president of manufacturing with MBG, told that he expects the facility to manufacture 1,500 new boats valued at more than US$100m in the first year of production..

Last year, the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners approved a US$210,000 economic package to aid the builder in its US$6.7m investment in the new facility.

"We're very confident that within a few years we'll have 250 people working at this facility alone, and these jobs are good jobs," Leffew said during the groundbreaking ceremony. Leffew said the company pays new workers US$14 per hour and they will also receive health insurance, vacation time and 401K retirement plans. "They’ll also participate in a very aggressive employee profit-sharing plan developed by CEO Scott Deal, which in the last three years, has redistributed US$2m back to our employees,” he added.

Pursuit Boats is also located nearby. It announced plans to invest US$2.1m 14,000sq ft plant expansion. Other brands like Bluewater Sportfishing Boats and Billfish Boatworks are near the Maverick Boats facility.

Maverick CEO Scott Deal also had an unusual message during the ceremony: clean water is imperative to the boating industry. “Nobody is going to go boating without access to clean water and healthy fisheries,” said Deal, adding that it’s vital to Florida’s economy. "People move here to enjoy the environment. Without access to clean water, without access to fisheries, they are not going to buy these boats. These buildings are not going to get built. Jobs are not going to be created."

Leffew said the new facility will build three boats per day with an average of eight workers needed to build each boat.