Forecast 2015: Scott Porter—Formula Boats

In between the company’s product seminar at its factory in Decatur, Ind., in mid-December and preparation for a couple of weeks of downtime at the shop for the holidays, Formula Boats President Scott Porter took some time to chat with for the Forecast 2015 series. An optimistic Porter, who was pleased with the turnout—and the unexpected sunny weather—of the company’s two-day meeting with its selling and servicing dealers at the facility, was busy getting ready for the demanding boat show season.

forecast15 porter

Formula Boats President Scott Porter (left) and his brother Grant, the company’s executive vice president (right), pose with Daniel Givens of Diversified Yacht Services after Givens completed the 2015 Formula Sales and Service Seminar earlier this month.

Porter, who has seen steady growth in the boat business over the last several years, believes the fall was a strong indicator of what’s to come as Formula received more orders for the company’s diverse lineup of boats than it had in recent years.

What are you expecting for the boat business over the next year?

All of us at Formula Boats are pleased with what we envision happening at the boat shows coming up next year. It’s been very steady around here lately—in fact we’re in the process of hiring more people to keep up with everything. I’m looking forward to seeing what the boat show season brings—it’s such an important time for us to connect with people. One of the interesting things is trying to plan what the dealers will have and what some of our more unique pieces will be that we take to the shows. The fall was busy enough that we’ll be doing some scrambling to make sure we have some boats to display because some of the boats we had lined up to go to the winter shows already sold. It’s kind of a good/bad situation, but we call it mostly good. It’s a good challenge to have.

At the major shows, like the Miami International Boat Show, we’ll have some of our FAS3Tech models on display. Many of those customers have turned to our FX line, which imports a lot of the interior and exterior features from the FAS3Tech lineup. I’m glad we decided to create the FX line because there are people who grew up with performance boats but have seen their boating style shift toward the family who can still get that sense and feel with the FX models that range from 29 to 40 feet. Some of the FX boats with the larger engines get along pretty good still. The technology is exciting when you look at what Mercury Marine and Ilmor Marine have available now.

We’ll have one our 400 FX models with Mercury Racing 520 engines and Bravos Three drives in the water at the Miami show. We’ll also have a 370 FX on display inside with Mercury power. We’re actually increasing our display to showcase a few more boats than before.

Another thing I think is pretty exciting right now—I guess if you’re in the domestic oil business you’d be a little nervous—but for those of us who use fuel, whether it’s boating or in our vehicles, I think what’s happening to the price of gas is really exciting. I think there will be some people getting to use their boats a bit more. Not that they couldn’t before, but obviously it was pretty expensive paying five dollars at the pump. So it will be interesting to see how much this translates at the marinas this summer. I think it will have people more excited about doing their boating this year. I don’t think this will go on for a long time, but I guess we’ll enjoy it while we can.

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