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Yacht company to bring 380 jobs to Brevard

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. – Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday morning that Merritt Island Boat Works will open a new manufacturing facility, creating at at least 380 new jobs and a capital investment of more than $16 million in Brevard County.

"Florida is on a mission to become the global destination for jobs and it is great news for the families in Brevard County that 380 new jobs will be added to the community," Scott said in a statement.

"While Merritt Island Boat Works considered other states for their new facility, they chose Florida as the best place to create jobs," he said.

Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported the company plans to build yachts at the former Sea Ray Boats plant at 1220 Bertram Way on Merritt Island. It most recently has been occupied by Bertram Yachts. Last October, the Brevard County Commission voted 3-1 in favor of the incentive plan for Merritt Island Boats works.

At the time, the economic development project was known as "Project Transom."

County commissioner Trudie Infantini voted no and Commissioner Robin Fisher was absent at that meeting.

At the time, the company said it would create 380 jobs by 2018 with an average wage of $45,000 and make a large capital investment in new equipment at the plant, if it decided on the Merritt Island site.

The governor's statement said Merritt Island Boat Works considered locations in North Carolina and South Carolina but chose Brevard "for its available workforce and access to U.S. and international markets."

Plans by Merritt Island Boat works comes as Brevard is starting to develop a niche in the marine industry. That includes growth, and a greater profile, by companies such as Rosewell Global and SeaDek Marine Products — both in Rockledge — and Structural Composites Inc. in Melbourne.

Lynda Weatherman, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast, said of Merritt Island Boat Works, "Facilities are often one of the most critical factors in relocation decisions."

"Part of what positioned our community at the top of the list was a move-in ready facility in a prime location," she said. "That, coupled with an area that understands the luxury boat manufacturing market, and an aggressive recruitment process, were crucial factors in the selection of Brevard County for Merritt Island Boat Works. They are a welcome addition to a growing industry across the Space Coast."