End of an Era?

It was as if outboard-powered boats everywhere came to idle last night and a quiet calm descended upon our waterways after news broke that BRP is ceasing production of Evrinrude outboards.

According to BRP President and CEO José Boisjoli: “Our outboard engines business has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, obliging us to discontinue production of our outboard motors immediately. This business segment had already been facing some challenges and the impact from the current context has forced our hand. We will concentrate our efforts on new and innovative technologies and on the development of our boat companies, where we continue to see a lot of potential to transform the on-water experience for consumers.”

Small outboards were Evinrude’s forte in the beginning. Rope-start motors were common, although effective, safe rope-start technique required a bit of a learning curve.

Small outboards were Evinrude’s forte in the beginning. Rope-start motors were common, although effective, safe rope-start technique required a bit of a learning curve.

According to BRP, they have signed an agreement with Mercury Marine which will power their boat lines moving forward, including Manitou pontoon boats as well as Alumacraft and Telwater bay boats.

News of closures and consolidations during a financial crisis is not uncommon, yet this announcement seemed to cut the boating community deeper than most. Perhaps it’s because of the builder’s storied legacy. Maybe it’s because Evinrude has powered so many of our memories on the water. Or maybe it’s because we know a lack of competition in the outboard market hurts everyone.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes from the 1993 classic, Sandlot, the one where Babe Ruth visits Benny in a dream and says, “Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends; heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” 

Join us on a trip down memory lane ▶

That’s Ole Evinrude demonstrating one of his early products. Ole’s wife Bess said she thought it looked like a coffee grinder.

That’s Ole Evinrude demonstrating one of his early products. Ole’s wife Bess said she thought it looked like a coffee grinder.

Related