Defining Premier’s Lead Against Invasive Species



A love for water woke up an industry and changed how Premier pontoons are built.


Big Lake, Minn. June 22, 2023 – Passion, it’s the one word which best describes John Deurr’s nearly 50-year career in the marine industry. A career punctuated by his relentless drive to slow the introduction and spread of invasive species to waterways across North America. During his 22-years at Premier Marine, John was tasked with many responsibilities, from being in charge of manufacturing to the head of engineering, but it was his passion to protect the waters we all enjoy that have defined who he is as a person and helped to position Premier as the industry leader in the fight against invasive species.

A Minnesota native, John didn’t take his home state’s abundance of lakes for granted. He recognized early on they were an incredible resource, and well worth protecting.

 “It was early in 2004 when I saw first-hand the threat that invasive species could have on our lakes,” said John reflecting back on his early years with Premier. “A boat had come in for repair and when I crawled underneath to inspect the damage, I saw the strakes were packed full of Zebra Mussels. The owner was unaware, and the boat had just been transported from Michigan to Minnesota. At that moment, I just knew we had to do something to try to prevent the spread.”

That something was first convincing Premier leadership that the company needed to not only find ways to slow the spread, but also encourage other boat manufacturers to do the same.

“At the time, no one was paying attention to aquatic invasive species (AIS),” said John. “But we decided to do something about it. We changed how our pontoons were built and our customers noticed. We soon learned that this was an issue that truly resonated with boaters, and in turn they recognized and appreciated that Premier was doing something about it…and we still are.”

That fight against invasive species can be found in design and manufacturing details throughout a Premier pontoon. From fully-sealed lifting strakes, solid keels, and fast draining transoms to full-length performance sheeting, the elimination of sharp edges, quick-drain live wells, and ladders that don’t drag in the water. All of these design attributes work to dramatically decrease or eliminate the spread of invasive species.

“At first we used these designs as sales features,” said John. “But we also knew this was something bigger than just selling boats. It was something that the industry needed to address. So, we started talking about and sharing our concerns and ideas with others.”

The invasive species initiatives Premier was taking were soon developed into industry guidelines, and John became recognized as a critical player and influential voice for the industry, working with and serving on various regulatory agency councils like the Department of Natural Resources, and industry associations like the American Boat and Yacht Council.

“Premier is still the leader in the fight against AIS,” said John. “While it’s still spreading, it’s not happening nearly as rapidly as it once was. Unfortunately, there are still manufacturers out there who haven’t adopted the changes needed to make a difference. I still see open strake designs and sharp edges on new pontoons today. But the good news is there is so much more awareness. People recognize AIS is a problem…they’re talking about it, and it’s become a factor when buying a new pontoon.”

This past May, John Deurr retired from Premier Marine, and while his personal fight against invasive species may take a back seat to other activities, his indelible mark he left on the industry and its battle to stop the spread will continue on.


About Premier Marine

Premier Marine, LLC is a manufacturer of luxury performance pontoon boats under the Premier brand. Premier Marine holds numerous patents and trademarks on manufacturing elements such as the Premier Ricochet Ladder System and the PTX® Technology performance package. The 30-year-old company sells its pontoons through boat dealers located throughout the United States and Canada. Premier Marine is headquartered in Big Lake, Minnesota and owned by Envision Company located in Elk River, Minnesota.


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