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With steady activity among the marine industry, Dorchester County has become increasingly known as the "boatbuilding capital of South Carolina." Dorchester County's marine cluster has grown by leaps and bounds for reasons that include a convenient location near the Atlantic Coast, a boatbuilding success story like no other, and a vast transportation network that rivals communities of a much larger scale. Anchoring the region, Scout Boats is one of the most innovative companies in the business that has spurred interest among the marine industry and spawned such start-up companies as Sportsman Boats that has led to a 50-job expansion for the new company. Home to a thriving marine industry, Dorchester County has what it takes for boat manufacturers to make a splash in the Charleston Region.

Industry Spotlight: Scout Boats

From humble beginnings and an entrepreneurial spirit, Scout Boats was established in Dorchester County in 1990 from the garage of the company's founder. Since that time, Scout Boats has undergone several major expansions to manufacture fiberglass coastal fishing boats, ranging from 15 feet to 41 feet. Known for leading the industry with state-of-the-art innovations, cutting edge design, and high-quality center console boats, Scout Boats has won numerous awards for its original designs, such as reverse-shoebox hull/deck design and the Air-Assist hull. For nearly two decades, Scout Boats has helped to pioneer the marine industry from their R&D, design, and manufacturing facility right here in Dorchester County.

Attractive Assets

  • The area's extensive waterways and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean
  • The presence of other marine industry, forming a strong boat cluster
  • A growing, highly productive workforce for this sector with competitive wage rates
  • A large, multimodal transportation network to transport finished products quickly
  • Local culture of water sports and boating
  • An extremely favorable business climate

Training Opportunities

Many of the County's boat manufacturers look to the area's nearby vocational schools for their workforce needs, and since boatbuilding techniques are company-specific and tied to tradition, most employers develop their workforce through on-the-job training. Eligible employers can receive funding for on-the-job training for up to 75% of the wages of referred new hires that are trained on-site. This funding is compensation for the costs of training and supervision during training. For more information on this workforce training incentive, contact SC Works Trident at (843) 725-0306.

Fast Facts

  • Dorchester County has the largest concentration of boat manufacturers in the state.
  • Average annual growth over the next five years is expected at a rate of 4.1%.

Who's Already Doing Business Here