Southport Boats LLC is owned and managed by second and third generation family members Kenneth G. Priest II. PE and Ian D. Kopp, who serve as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and President/Chief Operating Officer, respectively. The 40,000-sf modern manufacturing facility is located in Augusta, Maine on a 50-acre campus shared with sister company Kenway Corporation, a custom composites manufacturer established in 1947.
Southport Boats is the culmination of a dream that began in North Carolina when a team of experienced boat builders, passionate fishermen and offshore racing enthusiasts joined forces with legendary C. Raymond Hunt Associates to develop a unique and revolutionary new boat design.
Working closely with the founders of Southport, the Hunt team developed Southport’s special hull design to maximizes the performance and power of modern dual outboards with today’s cutting edge composite manufacturing capabilities.
In 2003 the first Southport was launched in Leland, North Carolina. The first sea trial proved the team’s pursuit of excellence had been achieved; no other hull design of similar size delivers Southport’s soft ride, stability and nimble performance.
In 2011 Southport Boats LLC purchased the assets of the closed Southport Boatworks company and started manufacturing operations in Augusta Maine. With new owners, an experienced management group and an expert crew of modern composite boat builders, new successes were quickly achieved. Immediate changes included the transition to modern, vacuum infusion construction processes, upgraded wiring and plumbing systems and the introduction of vinylester resin to guard against water permeation and improved cosmetic properties. In 2013 Southport Boats launched the 29 FE model to great acclaim, winning Best Powerboat Under 30′ at the Newport International Boat Show. In 2014 Southport Boats and C. Raymond Hunt Associates announced the development of a new 33’ hull design to deliver all the celebrated ride, performance and fuel efficiency of Southport in a larger, even more robust platform. The first of these game changing Southport 33’s was launched in Spring 2014 to overwhelming market acceptance and acclaim, with nearly two dozen new-build orders on the books within the first 20 months of production.
2015 brought more innovation to Southport – the deck plan for the Southport 29 was redrawn to improve better use of the spacious deck. The Southport engineering team worked to create more space in the boat by modifying the forward cockpit, changing the positioning of the leaning post, updating the console and helm pod, and adding a new, larger T-Top borrowed from the 33. All of these changes, plus several less obvious alterations, combine to change the look and feel of the boat to produce the Southport 292, a Second Generation Southport 29.
Simultaneously, the Southport 27 took an evolutionary leap forward with the introduction of the 272 TE. This boat marks the first time a Tournament Edition layout is available on the original Southport hull. The 272 features a coffin box forward, a redesigned console and helm pod, modern T-Top with the functionality of the tops on the 33 and 292, a new aluminum open-frame leaning post, and a livewell mounted in the aft bulkhead similar to the 33. Perhaps the most groundbreaking change on the 272 is the option for single outboard power, a concept borrowed from the successful single engine Southport 26’s built in North Carolina.
The future for Southport includes an increase in production capability, as well as our never ending search for the next ground breaking model, whether on a current Southport hull, or maybe on an all new, larger hull…