Knoxville-based boatmaker Sea Ray grows, adds jobs


Knoxville-based boatmaker Sea Ray is growing. The company expanded its Tellico facility, adding a new ramp and dock – plus 80 more full-time employees so far, according to a news release from Shelby Kirby, Sea Ray director of marketing.

More than 50 jobs are still available at the Sea Ray plant, with entry-level positions starting at $12.90 per hour, said Sara Moore, senior marketing coordinator for Sea Ray Group. Links to applications can be found at and brunswick-

Sea Ray makes more than 40 models of boats, from 19 feet to 65 feet long, according to the company. Founded in 1959, it’s a division of Illinois-based Brunswick Corp.; other subsidiaries make boat engines, boat accessories, and sporting products.

“As we continue to grow our team and expand our award-winning product lineup, we do so with a clear focus on what matters most: the customer,” Sea Ray Sport Boats and Sport Cruisers President and General Manager Brad Anderson said in the news release. “Each award, each milestone helps pave the way for us to better address the needs and preferences of our boating family.”

Expansion of the plant at 100 Sea Ray Circle in Vonore’s Tellico West Industrial Park included a system to test underwater parts before they enter the assembly line, Moore said via email. The Tellico factory was built in 1985 solely to build 18-foot runabout boats, so expanding to make other models led to changes like wider doorways, heavier dollies, and a new ramp which required dredging Tellico Lake, she said.

The plant has been named a Brunswick Distinguished Safety Award recipient, lauded for minimizing workplace accidents.

“I would like to congratulate our hardworking team for this accomplishment,” Anderson said. “Through a shared commitment to the safety and well-being of every employee, our facility has been able to maintain the highest standards. We’re grateful for the recognition from Brunswick.”

The Tellico plant makes Sea Ray’s SLX 400, dubbed “The Entertainer.” The recent expansion will allow increased production of that model, Kirby said. The SLX 400 won a 2017 Innovation Award from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, while the new Sea Ray SLX-W 230 wake sports boat has been named a Top Product for 2017 by Boating Industry Magazine, according to the news release.

“The SLX 400 and SLX-W 230 both reflect Sea Ray’s commitment to improving the boating experience,” Kevin Reilly, Sea Ray portfolio category director, said in the announcement. “These awards affirm that we’re continuing to raise the bar for all-day comfort, capability and performance.”

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Jim Gaines

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