Trinity Yachts LLC

When traveling turbulent and tumultuous waters, people prefer reliable vessels made with care. Trinity Yachts LLC strives to build such vessels, Vice President William S. Smith III says.

Based in Gulfport, Miss., the firm manufactures superyachts that emphasize European quality, steel and aluminum construction. President and CEO John Dane founded the company in 1988 as a division of the Halter Marine Group.

At the time, the company was looking for other markets where it could apply its talents, Smith says.

Previously, “We had been building military boats,” he says. “Our studies led us to the yacht market.”

The transition from military boats to yachts was not a difficult one, Smith asserts. The firm also had to become acquainted to giving the yachts a sophisticated atmosphere in the interiors.

“It required a lot more concentration on fit and finish,” Smith admits. “None of the military boats [needed that]. Once we got that part squared away, we were making the transition from a very objective market to a commercial one.”

In 2000, Dane, Smith and Chairman Felix Sebates Jr. acquired Trinity Yachts and today, it operates from a single facility on a 38-acre site in Gulfort with a staff that includes naval architects, marine engineers, estimators, purchasers, and production control and program managers. The firm’s facility features approximately 200,000 square feet of fabrication space and another 84,000 square feet of outfitting space.

Trinity Yachts has earned praise for its work. For instance, when the company and its partner, Victory Lane Enterprises, introduced the 150-foot TriDeck M/Y Magic motoryacht at the 1997 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, it received a strong reception. According to the company, the yacht still earns admiration from others in the industry.

Ability to Deliver

Trinity Yachts’ willingness to deliver what its clients want has kept it successful, Smith says. “It is our ability to sit down with a client [and] design and engineer boats perfectly [to] their requirements,” he says.

Because the clients will need to wait to two to three years for their yachts to be built, this is the normal amount of time it takes to construct the boats.

“We want to [provide] what best suits their needs,” he says.

Keeping Busy

Due to the economic downturn, Trinity Yachts has watched its market slow down. Many consumers, Smith explains, are not able to pay the price for the yachts.

However, despite the recession, Trinity Yachts has stayed busy, he reports. “In 2008, we had 24 yachts under contract,” Smith explains. “Basically, we are still finishing some of those boats now.”

Looking ahead, the company has a plan to adjust by branching out into military and other commercial vessels, Smith says. “It will not be just yachts,” he asserts. “We are not quite sure when [the economy] is going to turn around, so we have to keep our guys busy in other areas.” •mt

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