New Leader, New Initiatives

February 9th 2012

The new owner of Skipper Manufacturing, LLC (D.B.A. SkipperLiner), the custom builder of passenger cruise vessels, private yachts and houseboats, is making his first move after taking the helm of the 40-year-old boat manufacturer based in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Well-known Caledonia, Minnesota businessman, George “Jeb” Griffith assumed new ownership of the company in the fall of 2010.

Griffith’s promise is to restore and build on the company’s leading brand among both commercial and private owners and this plan is already being put in place based on strategic research about SkipperLiner’s famous brand. A SkipperLiner turnaround would underscore Griffith’s track record with start-ups and other acquisitions: he has built and sold companies in the library automation software, composite bats/sporting goods and network security and compliance industries over the last two-plus decades.


“Skipperliner is the foremost builder of passenger cruise boats, with a good business also in custom-built houseboats and private yachts,” Griffith says. “Based on recent research and the ebb of the financial crisis of the past three years, I am confident that we will continue to expand our market share and deliver even better service and new amenities to current boat owners and future boat buyers.”

Griffith cited recent fact-finding research that targeted almost 300,000 leisure boat owners in 37 states and Canada and 110 commercial operators in 10 states, as well as Canada, that gives an optimistic picture of current and prospective boat owners:

Among leisure and commercial vessel owners who are often wealthy and educated retirementage males 55-plus that make up the expansive baby boomer demographic:

• 45% of leisure boat owners said they have recently considered purchasing a bigger boat
• Non-house boat owner leisure respondents have had multiple vessels, Making them ideal customer prospects because the majority of current houseboat owners also had multiple vessels prior to buying their houseboat or yacht
• Compared to competitors, Skipperliner Leisure and commercial customers typically hold on to their boats longer because of quality and durability, making for an attractive return on investment

Griffith also announced the following customer-enhancing initiatives:

• For both commercial and leisure segments, Skipperliner will host a series of meet-the-newowner events in key markets—and at key trade shows—including the Utah Boat Show: February 9-12, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah
• A new service program for current and future owners is being explored based on feedback from current Skipperliner owners
• It will re-establish a best practices owners group meetings for commercial owners and additional support for both its leisure and commercial segments for everything from sales consulting and resale to refurbishing and financing


Skipperliner is the largest builder of 149 passenger “dinner cruise vessels” in the United States, and the recipient of over 30 awards For design innovation since 1984. Its design studio portfolio features hundreds of different passenger vessel designs, all guaranteed for Safety and approved by the United States Coast Guard. Nearly 1,000 amazing boats Have been built by Skipperliner since 1971. Today, Skipperliner manufactures custom houseboats and custom yachts in the 40’ - 120’ class and U.S. Coast Guard certified passenger vessels in the 40’ - 200’ class. In addition to boat building, Skipperliner operates full service marinas, boat service center, and dinner cruise boats throughout the United States.