Sea Ray President discusses new jet boat line
Following the recent announcement of its new jet boat line, Sea Ray President Rob Parmentier spoke with Boating Industry about the thinking behind the launch and what Sea Ray is bringing to the jet-propulsion market.
Parmentier said the release of its 21- and 24-foot models brings Sea Ray into a market segment that fared well in a tough economy. Sea Ray also has history with jet boats; several decades ago it previously sold models with jet packages.
Like its sport boat line, Sea Ray jet boats target a higher price point and include the quality features associated with the boat builder.
“We are going to offer a jet propulsion boat that gives customers that excitement but will have that fit and finish and quality of a Sea Ray,” Parmentier said.
Sea Ray believes there may be some level of cannibalism between the new jet boat line and its sport boat models, but Parmentier said it is also reaching new consumers who are on shallow waters that are restricted by the draft of other propulsion types.
“Sea Ray is very prevalent among the East Coast, West Coast and Florida,” Parmentier said. “This gives us an opportunity to reach some people we may not otherwise be able to.”
Parmentier is anticipating global success with the new line, with particular excitement in the shallow-water areas in the Middle East and Asia. The jet boat appeals to a slightly younger demographic, particularly in Asia; however, buyers are found in all age groups.
“The buyers are not that much younger. A lot of these instances you still have parents and grandparents with disposable income that are buying boats for their kids,” he said.
Parmentier said Sea Ray jet boats feature a “socially-active” cockpit, which is required in a successful jet boat line. And the lengths of the two models are in the sweet spot of the jet boat market, according to Parmentier.
The propulsion system in the jet boat will come from Weber Motors, a German engine manufacturer. Parmentier worked with Weber Motors while he was president of Brunswick’s former boat line, Baja.
“In our prior experience, we had a great relationship, and they build a great package that we are familiar with,” he said.
Sea Ray will launch the two jet boat models in the fall, and as of now, they have no plans beyond that. However, Parmentier would not rule out the jet boat line spreading to other Brunswick boat brands in the future.
“I will never say never, and Brunswick is a large company, so you don’t know what else could happen,” he said. “Right now, it is a Sea Ray 21 and 24.”