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Blog | American Yacht Builder Palmer Johnson Relocates Overseas

September 4, 2015

American Yacht Builder Palmer Johnson Relocates Overseas

American yacht builder Palmer Johnson Yachts says it will be closing its Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, shipyard and will be moving its manufacturing facilities to the Netherlands. According to Sturgeon Bay ABC affiliate WBAY, the company’s operations and employment have been diminishing along with its sales, and it has been facing stiff competition from overseas yacht builders. These factors forced Palmer Johnson to make the decision to close the Sturgeon Bay facility and relocate. According to WBAY, about 100 jobs will be affected.

What is next for Palmer Yachts?

According to the Superyacht Times, the relocation is part of the motor yacht builder’s long-term plan to continue and increase its production of the new carbon SuperSport series. The company reports that the second hull of the PJ48 carbon SuperSport series, currently located in Norway, will be moved to the Netherlands to be completed. A third hull will follow in April 2016, and Palmer has already started on the molds for the first 42m yacht in the series, which it anticipates will be delivered late in 2017.

As far as the Sturgeon Bay yard goes, it will remain open until the completion of the third PJ170 yacht, which is currently under construction. According to the company, some of the yard’s current employees will be included in the transition to the Netherlands, in order to “preserve the brand’s reputation of delivering quality products to their clients, and making the relocation as seamless as possible.”

According to WBAY, the executive director of Bay Area Workforce said the workers who remain behind should have no problem finding a new job in the area, as they have skills that are in high demand.

The area is a well-known hub for North American Yacht builders. In addition to Palmer Johnson; Carver, Marquis, Burger, Cruisers and Rampage all maintain yards in the area. The motor yacht industry also supports dozens of suppliers, including companies in the Milwaukee area.

under constrcution

Is this a Trend?

American yacht builders in Wisconsin were doing very well prior to the recession. At that time, many, like Palmer, took a major hit. The Carver and Marquis brands, both based in the state, were sold in a bankruptcy auction in 2010. However, in 2013, Carver introduced three new motor yachts, which is the first time it had done that in years.

There are signs that things may be slowly moving in the right direction for American shipyards. However, in the face of competition and exciting new models being introduced by Asian builders such as the Dyna 60, which will be showcased at the 2015 Ft. Lauderdale boat show, the fate of American yacht builders remains to be seen.


Understanding how the economy effects the market for motor yachts can be confusing. If you would like to benefit from our expertise in these areas, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Sales Specialists, or call us at 954-900-9988.

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