Anyone who has tried to buy a new boat in recent years knows the wait is agonizing. It’s no different for boat dealerships that depend on new boat sales but have been left dry by supply chain issues.
Performance Boat Center in Lake of the Ozarks had been experiencing this first-hand and has launched its own Performance Powerboats brand. The first model, the P420, made its debut at the Performance Boat Center Fall Fun Run in October.
Johnny Bauer, a 27-year veteran of Mercury Racing and Mercury Marine, is the chief operating officer for Performance Powerboats, which features three models from 28 to 42 feet. Bauer is tasked with the day-to-day effort to lead production.
“I’ve got a number of years left to work and I live, sleep, breathe and eat the boating industry, especially the high-performance side,” Bauer said. “A mutual friend got us together and it’s been a really good fit.”
Performance Boat Center has offered an in-house brand since 2016 under the Wright Performance banner. Doug Wright was supplying the hulls until an ownership change earlier this year. It was about that time Performance Boat Center owners Mark Waddington and Brett Manire decided to take production into their own hands.
Performance Boat Center owned the molds and added the P280 to the in-house lineup. Moving the production to Lake of the Ozarks allowed them to make some styling and improvements to the catamarans, Bauer said.
“We’ve got too much invested in our facilities.” Bauer said. “When you’ve been building boats and the supply dries up, you have to take control of your destiny.”
Performance Boat Center already has in-house rigging, glass repair and painting services, and is using an outside company for the interiors. Mercury Racing will supply the outboards for three models including the P280, P360 and P420.
The dealership will continue to sell other brands as it has in the past and hopes to build as many as 24 of its high-end catamarans each year.
Bauer, who started the new position in May, has been working on reducing the production backlog and has made good strides.
“I’ve been working on establishing a real delivery time,” Bauer said. “Our goal is when we have a date to deliver a boat, we get it delivered.”