TRENTON, Maine — Hinckley Yachts is laying off 49 people at the company’s luxury picnic jet boat production facility on Route 3, a company official said Thursday.

Ed Roberts, Hinckley’s vice president for marketing and product development, said employees were told about the decision on Wednesday, the same day the layoffs went into effect. The 49 eliminated jobs represented about 9 percent of the company’s work force, which now totals 580 people, about half of which are in Maine, he said.

Roberts said the sagging national economy has affected the company’s earnings and made the layoffs necessary.

“It’s quite self-evident that the boat business would be off some” this year, Roberts said. “We are in much better shape and healthier and more robust than almost any other [luxury boat] manufacturer out there.”

Roberts said the new model of picnic jet boat that the company introduced in August has done well and that the layoffs are not expected to affect production of the new boat. He said the success of the new boat has not been enough to offset the downturn in revenues in other parts of the company, which is why the layoffs were made.

The Hinckley company continues to invest in its facilities and to pursue other projects that are in development, he said.

As for the laid-off workers, Hinckley is looking for ways to help them with their loss of income and with finding new jobs, according to Roberts. He said the company already has contacted Maine Department of Labor’s Rapid Response team and hopes to help provide work force training to help affected workers find jobs elsewhere.

“They’re already scheduled to come next week,” Roberts said of agency officials.

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....