Scott McCormick remembers when he was 15 driving by the Velocity Powerboats plant with his mother for the first time seeing the powerboats outside the building. McCormick insisted his mom turn the car around so he could visit.
Years later, McCormick now owns Velocity Powerboats and has engineered a remarkable turnaround of the venerable brand. It’s a story of teenager who started working at the Sanford, Fla., boatbuilder washing boats and returned to buy and save the company from the scrapyard of iconic boat brands.
Eternally optimistic and obsessed with attention to detail, McCormick, 51, is happy the boating community has taken notice.
“It has happened so fast, and I want to thank social media for that but also all the passionate Velocity owners and people in the industry,” McCormick said. “They’ve seen the difference that is out there.”
McCormick purchased the assets to Velocity Powerboat in 2018 and started manufacturing boats in August 2019. Before production began, McCormick had engineers come in and scan all the molds, create a new lamination schedule and ISO certify the production process.
The goal was not only to strengthen the hulls but to instill confidence with consumers that Velocity builds strong boats with top-quality fit and finish.
“The products that we’re building now are so different than the products that were built before.,” McCormick said. “Almost every single boat we offer (now) is a new model. We’ve done retooling on basically every model that existed and then we also have three new models that never existed before.”
Investing in new molds allows Velocity to offer sterndrive or outboard versions of its models.
In reconfiguring the sport boats for outboard power, Velocity created a bigger cockpit by pushing the bulkhead because there was no sterndrive. The extra space can be used for coolers, fender locker or additional stowage, McCormick said.
During construction, say of a 290 SC, Velocity inserts a jig to remove the center of swim platform and incorporating a swim ladder and wide swim steps on each side of the outboards. In addition, Velocity used the mold updates to change the stringer and bulkheads and refine the decks and the lamination schedule.
“It’s still cosmetically almost looks like the same boat, except you have a pair of outboards hanging off the back,” McCormick said. “We’ve taken that same concept and moved it over into the fishing boats.”
The Velocity sport boat lineup includes the new 22 Punisher to join the 230 SC, 260VR, 290 SC, VR1, 322 SC, 40 Raptor, 420 SC and 430VRX. On the fishboat side, Velocity has a 220CC, 262CC, 330CC and 430CC. Velocity also offers two bay boats—the 220 Bay and 260 Bay. The company is working on deck tooling for a 40-foot center console with quad engines, he said.
By offering boats from 22 to 41 feet, the Florida builder can appeal to a range of buyers from first-time powerboat owners to experienced performance boaters. The 290 SC is the company’s hottest seller, McCormick said, running 105 mph with twin Mercury Racing 400R outboards. “We’ve got that thing backlogged, everybody wants that boat,” he said.
McCormick said he takes any new boat that runs close to 100 mph to Mercury’s Lake X and spends a day or two days dialing in the boat for the customer. Every new boat that rolls out of the factory, McCormick lets it sit in the water behind his house to make sure there are no water leaks.
McCormick and his wife Maria will do a four-hour break-in with Maria doing the driving.
“I’ll pull a clipboard out and I’ll write down everything that I think needs some attention,” he said. “I do that on every single boat, and not only do I go to Lake X and set them up on the performance side, but I do crawl through every single boat while my wife is doing the four-hour break-in.”
McCormick says he draws on his offshore rigging days, where every screwhead must be north-south-east-west. He’s spotting fewer items that need attention, crediting his team for continually raising the quality of its work.
Satisfied with the company’s work, McCormick wanted to showcase Velocity Boats to a national performance-boating audience at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout this summer.
“We went to Lake of the Ozarks (Shootout) for the first time in 20 years, we went out there and set the fastest single-engine Bravo boat and the fastest twin-engine Bravo boat, and got the Top Gun award,” McCormick said.
Velocity Powerboats’ sales are triple McCormick’s projections, and the company is working through a large backlog thanks to new products and the boating boom.
“I’m pretty confident that the lineup we have right now is going to be the lineup for the next few years,” McCormick said. “We’ve done all the changes that we want to do. The lines, the upholstery, the performance numbers, the outboard conversions. There will be small little changes just to go from model year to model year, but I love the entire lineup that we have available right now.”