An Interview with John Patnovic, the man with the plan to resurrect Post Marine.
When Post Marine Company went bankrupt last year it looked like the much beloved Jersey-based builder of cruisable sportfishermen was doomed to be forgotten. And it probably would have been too, had it not been for one man, John Patnovic (above), proprietor of Worton Creek Marina in Chestertown, Maryland, who decided the brand was too good to let die. Here is his story.
What is your professional background?
I was part of an investment group in the ’80s and ’90s that did start-ups and turnarounds of small-to-medium-size manufacturing companies. I’m convinced this whole boat-business thing I’m into is just a genetic defect but I like it so much that if they come up with a cure I’m not gonna take it. [laughs] After the investment group, I decided I wanted to slow things down and do something marine-related. So my wife and I bought the marina, which is on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Back then there were 70 slips and a 25-ton lift. We now have a 70-ton lift and one of the biggest buildings on the Bay for working on boats out of water. We take anything up to 100-footers.
How did you get involved with Post?
I never owned a Post but I was familiar with them and their reputation. Ken Jensen, who was president of Post, keeps his boat at my marina. One day Ken called me and said Post was selling some stuff. I went down there [Post’s old headquarters in Mays Landing, New Jersey], and I ended up buying pretty much everything but the actual factory.
We’re going to move everything to Chestertown, and Post will be run out of my marina, after we make some modifications.
What’s your vision for the company?
The vision for the company is to be a semicustom manufacturer of convertible-style sportfishing and cruising yachts. We intend to keep making Post’s 42, 47, 50, 53, and 56 convertibles with updated lines and modern interiors. Eventually we’ll introduce a 44-foot open express. Everything will be reasonably priced and built to order.
What do you see as your biggest challenge?
Selling boats! I wish I was smart enough to tell you what the industry’s going to look like in five years, but my gut feel is that there will be room for smaller manufacturers that can put out a high-quality, customized product.
When will you be up and running?
We’re ready to build now. We don’t have any orders in, but we’re headed to [the Miami boat show] to show the flag. Look, I’m not delusional—the industry’s in a depression, and it may be a while before we sell a boat.
So why’d you buy the company?
Well, I’m kind of like Warren Buffett in that way. When everyone else is buying, sell; when everyone’s selling, buy. I have a lot of confidence that the economy and the country are going to turn around, and there will always be people that want a boat.
Post Marine Group LLC