MARINO 60 years
OY MARINO AB – FAMILY OWNED BOAT MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Most of the boat manufacturing companies have started either in a basement, a garage or a barn. Marino was started in 1958 by Tor-Björn Fagerström in a Kulosaari basement. The chemical engineer, at the time working for Bensow, found the new material, fiberglass, interesting. The boat enthusiast wanted to use it for boat building. The basic knowledge came from a friend in Sweden and soon he begun building a yawl in his basement.
THE FLESH AND THE FIBERGLASS
The first production facilities were located in Hanko, where Tor-Björn Fagerström rented one of the wings from the town market-hall. Behind the wall the butchers were still working with meat and flesh as if nothing had happened, although the ventilation system in the boat manufacturing areas were not very effective.
Tor-Björn was the founder of Bensow boat department which was established in 1954 and he acted as the chief of the company. His superior Robert Jansson, who was actively interested in sailing, was not very enthusiastic about the idea to begin boat building with a new material, even though there could be enough space in their Herttoniemi factory. So Fagerström himself started production of fiberglass boats with the blessings from his employer, and these boats were sold at Bensow stores. This was the time when his eldest son Christer was seen handing out leaflets at the boat show.
Tor-Björn Fagerström was also a boating enthusiast, ’Father’ of A-class hydroplane, he travelled around Finland with his family and participated in various competitions. Boats were very close to his heart.
The Hanko factory also produced fiberglass snipes, and the most popular Marino Family Sport model was born in there with its hull in fiberglass and the deck and other structures in wood. “At that time, they emphasized the fact that two such different materials, one dead and the other living, can not be used together in boat building,” Tor-Björn Fagerström recalls. Today, this does not cause any problem, as long as it is done properly.
In 1965 Marino production line moved to Jokela, but the boats were equipped and delivered to customers from the family yard in Kulosaari. By this time, the twins Jan and Ben became interested in the business.
MOVING TO SIPOO
In 1967 the factory by the river of Sipoo was completed. The boat production line moved here, but the office was still on Ritarikatu street. The location in Sipoo was ideal because the boats could be launched from the yard into the water for a test drive. It was also reasonably close to the entrepreneur’s family home.
” From the time in Jokela I remember that after work we always left Helsinki with two cars and trailers to get Marino Sport boats from the factory to Kulosaari ‘, said Kitty Fagerström. “We were back home at about 2:00 AM, so the working hours were quite long.”
Still the company did not have any exihibition hall, a hall in Naurissaari used to be rented for exhibition purpose from the paper manufacturer Dahlberg. There was no heating system and the boats were placed in there for sale, test and delivery. The place was called Merikeskus. Marino planned to improve this place for year round use, but Dahlberg did not agree to this, instead of extending the lease Marino suddenly received rental agreement termination notice in November 1971.
In two months a hall was built in Sipoo and the boats were moved there at the end of December for the winter. Soon the company operations entirely moved to Sipoo. “After this, I decided to never rent again ‘Tor-Björn Fagerström said,” I will either own the place or I won’t be there! ”
THE NEW FACTORY AND COMPANY MANAGEMENT
In 1983 Marino launched series -1000 of larger boats. By that time production area requirements increased. It was necessary to find new production area with guaranteed professional skilled labour. The new factory was built in 1988 in Bennäs, near Pietarsaari.
The factory is designed to be very effective and flexible, and based on the entrepreneur family’s ideas and experience in boat building. Also according to Tor-Björn Fagerström cooperation with local community brought positive results .
Marino’s operation shifted to the next generation well in advance, in the beginning of 1985, when Ben Fagerström was appointed CEO. “We did not want to do this at the last moment, when the older generation is no longer able to support the new leadership, stated Tor-Björn Fagerström.
100 BOATS A YEAR
Marino has developed as many models as many years the company has been operating. Marino Sports were manufactured about a hundred pieces a year. Marino Mustang and Super became popular boats, and during the period of oil crisis Åke Sandström designed the MS-66 motorsailer.
Safety on board the boats has always been the most important issue to Marino employees. Already in 1978 a decision was made that all models should be type approved or Blue Shielded (issued by the Finnish Maritime Administration). Boats were tested in the competitions, in connection with this the basic development of the hull took place. Unlike other boats, Marino boats went through several tough product development phase in various offshore categories. Mustang with V-bottom was one of the most popular models, which went through a long phase of product development process and hard tests in international competitions.
Most of the new generation models have received awards based on public votes and from professional journals, CEO Ben Fagerström points out. Marino 9000, 8000, Barracuda both versions, Piraya Marino and Marino Rocca have been selected ‘Boat of the Year’. The latest models are Marino Shark, 2000 and Marino Cobra, 2005. In 2006 Marino Cobra was selected ‘Motor boat of the show’. In 2007 Marino Swing restarted its production as retro innovation. In year 2009 the new generation boat model Marino APB 27 conquered 7 designations (Boat of the Year) in Europe. Year 2015 was again Finlands most popular daycruiser Marino Mustang turn after beeing away for 40 years. At the boatexhibition in 2015 the Mustang was liked by the visitors and sold multiple than expected.