Marine Group Boat Works Receives Pioneer Award

Image: Marine Group Boat Works.

San Diego-based Marine Group Boat Works has been honored by the South County Economic Development Council with its 2024 Pioneer Award, which recognizes leaders that opened doors in the South San Diego region, the company announced April 24.

The award celebrates the boat construction and superyacht refit business’ efforts to bring a new superyacht market to the region in 2005, when there were only 650 superyachts still under construction globally and the capacity to repair them in the U.S. was lacking.

“Superyacht owners would have to stay in Europe and Australia to service the vessels they had on order,” the company said. “However, when MGBW took the leap to invest $6.5 million to renovate its facility in 2007, installed a custom 665-ton mobile boat lift and opened its doors, the demand was there.”

Marine Group soon became among the go-to superyacht refit facilities on the West Coast, according to the company, attracting an international clientele that includes prime ministers, royalty, celebrities and Fortune 500 company executives.

The company eventually launched a new construction division, a move that brought vessel manufacturing to Chula Vista, a coastal city along the San Diego Bay. Since opening the division, the company has designed and constructed more than two dozen vessels locally, in the Pacific Northwest, the East Coast and Japan.

It continues to be one of the few privately-owned boat-building businesses in California.

To help develop the next generation of welders in the region, the company established a welding program in 2021. It also opened a second facility in San Jose del Cabo Mexico, where the company provides boat repair, dry storage and marine goods.

By Karen Robes Meeks