By Maureen Werther
Hacker Boat company in Silver Bay, manufacturer of the mahogany Hacker-Craft boats, has signed a contract with a Thailand dealer, Classic Boats Lifestyle Ltd. that gives the local company a strong tie in the Asian market and boosts production.
Classic Boats Lifestyle Ltd. now has exclusive rights to sell the hand-crafted boats to resort owners, corporate clients and wealthy individuals throughout Southeast Asia.
George Badcock, owner of Hacker, said the agreement means that an additional 30 or more boats will be built over the next three years, a number that he anticipates will grow steadily as demand increases in the Asian market.
According to Badcock, the company is currently building approximately eight to 10 boats annually. “So, we believe this year, based on orders, we will build between 11 and 13 boats for Thailand and other customers.”
In anticipation of the increased work, Hacker has already hired six new employees since the first of the year, including one “rigger”—a technician who installs boat engines—and five woodworkers and varnishers.
Badcock said some of the workers are local, others have returned to the area, and still others travel 30-50 miles to work at Hacker. At this point, the company employs more than 30 people full time.