The marine industry is “unusually fragmented,” and Chris-Craft President Stephen Heese thinks that will continue to change in the coming years.

“Public companies have capitol and private companies don’t unless they lever up with debt,” Heese told Soundings Trade Only Today after announcing Winnebago Industries Inc. would buy Chris-Craft.

“The marine industry is fragmented, and it’s unusually fragmented given its maturity,” said Heese.

That’s because boat building has become more sophisticated, so increasingly, it takes scale, Heese said — and not having it will “squeeze out the little guys.”

The consolidation has been going on for some time, Heese said, pointing to Malibu’s acquisition of Cobalt Boats, MasterCraft’s purchase of Nautic Star, and most recently Correct Craft’s purchase of Bryant Boats.

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