WHITMIRE — Sea Pro Boats is returning to the market with The Next Wave, an all new line of bay boats and center console offshore fishing boats that will be built in Newberry County when the company invests $5.5 million and creates 238 new jobs in Whitmire.
“Newberry County has a strong history in boat manufacturing, so we all take special pride in this announcement,” said Henry H. Livingston III, chairman of Newberry County Council. “Combine that with home-grown entrepreneurs locating in a historic rural community like Whitmire, and it becomes even more special. On behalf of County Council, we welcome Sea Pro Boats back and pledge to do all we can to help make the company successful.”
Sea Pro’s new Newberry County facility will house the company’s headquarters as well as its manufacturing operations. The 200,000-square-foot facility will be located at 25214 U.S. 121.
Originally founded in 1987, Sea Pro Boats, a Midlands-based company, was purchased by Brunswick Corporation in 2005.
Jimmy Hancock, one of the original owners of Sea Pro, along with Tidewater Boats’ founder Preston Wrenn, recently decided to relaunch the company, planning an all-new incarnation of the Sea Pro brand — The Next Wave. The line will feature seven new models, which are expected to be introduced by the end of this summer.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be resurrecting Sea Pro Boats in Newberry County, and the outpouring of support from the town of Whitmire has been both humbling and heartwarming. I can’t express how much we appreciate what Newberry County and the South Carolina Department of Commerce have done to help make this dream a reality,” Hancock and Wrenn said in a statement.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved a $100,000 Set Aside grant to Newberry County to assist with costs of acquisition and real property improvements. The Council also approved job development credits related to the project.
“A testament to our loyal, world-class workforce and positive business climate, Sea Pro’s decision to locate in Newberry County is a big win for Team South Carolina, and I look forward to watching them succeed here for many years to come,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.
Expected to be fully operational in the third quarter of 2015, hiring is anticipated to begin in early fall 2015. At that time, those interested in joining the Sea Pro Boats’ team should contact SC Works.
Sea Pro Boat’s announcement is a great win for the Central SC Region and for Newberry County, said Central SC Alliance Chairman Mike Brenan. Brenan congratulated residents and stakeholders of the community and said he looks forward to watching the company grow and succeed over the coming years.
“We’re excited to celebrate the return of one of our own companies and one of the most recognized brands in the boating industry. Sea Pro’s $5.5 million investment and the 238 new jobs it will create are not only a milestone for the company but also a huge win for our Midlands community and the entire state of South Carolina,” said Gov. Nikki Haley.
Visit www.seapromfg.com for more information on the company.