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Marine Manufacturing


Marine manufacturing companies

East Tennessee has a strong marine manufacturing industry due to its central location, skilled boat building workforce, abundant lakes, access to advanced materials research and a favorable business climate.  More than 16 major boat manufacturers are located in the region, including the headquarters for the world’s largest recreational boat builder, employing more than 4,700 workers. 

Marine manufacturers are attracted by the region’s central location with excellent water and highway access, seven TVA lakes, barge service providing easy access to the Gulf of Mexico and the ports on the Eastern seacoast, and a skilled boat building workforce to this sector.  Other advantages include an extremely favorable business climate and access to advanced materials research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee. 

Business Climate  
Pro-business environment - Favorable business tax climate consistently in the top 1/3 of U.S. states

  • Attractive state, local, and utility incentives for new job creation and capital investment
  • State taxes ranking among the nation's lowest 
    • No state property tax 
    • Competitive corporate taxes 
    • Available targeted jobs tax credit
  • Competitive gas, water, and sewer rates   
    • Electricity generated by the Tennessee Valley Authority at rates 13% below the U.S. industrial average 
    • Electricity reliability at 99.999% since 2000
    • Abundant water supply
    • Gas by East Tennessee Natural Gas
  • Available Buildings and Sites
    • Building costs 19% below the national average (RSMeans Construction Index 2015) 
    • Competitive lease rates
  • Right-to-work state


  • Flexible, growing workforce of 550,000 in 15-county region
  • Workforce of 780,000 in 32 laborshed counties
  • Manufacturing workforce of 45,000 at costs 7% below the U.S. average
  • Customized workforce training
  • Transferable skill sets
  • Competitive workers compensation rates
  • FastTrack Job Training Assistance Program with training to quickly provide skilled workers
  • Four Technology Centers and three community colleges in region


  • Located at juncture of three major interstates: I-40, I-75, and I-81
  • 70% of the US market within a day's drive
  • Excellent access to existing network of raw materials suppliers
  • Regional airport offers more than 125 flights daily to 20 major U.S. destinations
  • Rail service by Norfolk Southern, CSX, and local short-line railroads
  • US Customs Port of Entry and Foreign Trade Zone designation
  • Easy access to deepwater ports on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts
  • Barge service on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway System, with easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, giving the region waterway access to the Port of New Orleans, Port of Panama City, Port of Pensacola, Port of Gulfport and Port of Pascagoula in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Easy access to Atlantic ports of Charleston, Savannah, Norfolk and Newport-News by truck and/or rail.


  • Home of the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Technology Corridor
  • Access to technology research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the world's premier laboratory in advanced materials
  • 16 user facilities across multiple disciplines