LEXINGTON COUNTY — Bentley Pontoons in Lexington County is the latest South Carolina boat maker to expand.
The company is investing nearly $6 million to build a 50,000-square-foot addition onto its Two Notch Road facility. The new space will be used to house the company's furniture and service departments, according to a Lexington County memo discussing the project.
The additional space will allow the company to up its capacity to meet the continually increasing demand for boats nationwide. Bentley also is expected to hire 50 new workers, the memo said.
Sen. Katrina Shealy, whose district includes Bentley Pontoons' facility, praised the expansion, saying South Carolina's boating industry is strong and the state boasts a multitude of locations for recreation on the water, including nearby Lake Murray.
In exchange for its investment, Bentley is in discussions with the county about potential tax incentives. A draft of the proposal was not available Jan. 11 after Lexington County Council took its first step to enter into an an agreement.
The company was not available for comment.
Bentley joins a host of other boat manufacturers in the Palmetto State that have grown operations in recent years.
Scout Boats announced in December it would construct a $3 million product development and engineering building at its Summerville facility. The company, which employs 435 people, plans to add 100 more workers by the end of 2022. Scout already broke ground in 2020 on a $11 million expansion.
Also in 2020, Xplor Boatworks in Columbia and Sportsman Boats in Dorchester County expanded and Sea Pro Boats opened a second location in Winnsboro.
New boat sales in the United States hit a 13-year high in 2020, with 318,550 boats sold, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Those sales trends continued into 2021, with an average of 31,000 boats sold monthly the organization reported early in the year.