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History of Boat Building - Florida's Treasure Coast

History of Boat Building - Florida's Treasure Coast

Stuart Florida and more generally Florida's Treasure Coast, is home to a rich and diverse boat building industry that dates back over a century. The area's location along the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon has made it a hub for the marine industry and a popular destination for sport fishing enthusiasts.

From the simple wooden fishing boats of the early 1900s to the custom sport fishing boats, high-performance center console boats, and high-quality sport fishing accessories of today, the boat builders of the Treasure Coast have been at the forefront of the industry for over a century.

One of the earliest types of boats built in the area were simple wooden fishing boats, crafted by local fishermen and boat builders using traditional techniques. As the area grew in popularity as a tourist destination and sport fishing hub in the 1920s and 1930s, the demand for larger and more sophisticated boats increased. Local boat builders began to specialize in custom sport fishing boats, designed to handle the rough waters of the Atlantic and provide a comfortable fishing experience for customers.

During World War II, the Treasure Coast's boat building industry shifted its focus to building military vessels. Many local boat builders were contracted to build landing craft and other small boats for the Navy. After the war, the boat building industry in the area resumed its focus on sport fishing boats and continued to thrive.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the introduction of fiberglass revolutionized the boat building industry. Treasure Coast boat builders quickly adopted this new material and began to incorporate it into their designs. Fiberglass boats were more durable, lighter, and easier to maintain than their wooden counterparts, making them an attractive option for sport fishing enthusiasts.

Today, the area is home to a number of well-known boat builders, including Willis Custom Yachts, Garlington, L&H, Gamefisherman, Tribute, Hinkley, Whiticar Boat Works, and Jim Smith Yachts. These boat builders continue to specialize in custom sport fishing boats, which are in demand from customers all over the world.

Jim Smith Tournament boat 71

The Treasure Coast is also home to several prominent center console boat builders, including Pursuit, Maverick Boat Company, Stuart Boatworks, Twin Vee, Conch Boats, Contender Boats, and Ocean Master Boats. These companies have earned a reputation for building top-of-the-line center console boats that are designed to meet the needs of serious anglers and boating enthusiasts.

Stuart Boat works

In addition to custom sport fishing boats and center console boats, Stuart, Florida is also home to Rupp Marine Inc., a company that specializes in manufacturing high-quality outriggers and hardware for sport fishing boats. Their products are known for their durability and performance and are used by sport fishing enthusiasts all over the world. Rupp Marine's outriggers are made from a variety of materials, including aluminum, carbon fiber, and stainless steel. Rupp Marine also manufactures a range of rod holders, antenna mounts, and a variety of sport fishing accessories. Their products are renowned for their quality craftsmanship and attention to detail.  Rupp Marine ships their products all over the world and has a vast network of authorized dealers.

Rupp Marine Stuart Florida

Overall, the history of boat building on the Treasure Coast of Florida is deeply intertwined with the area's maritime culture. The legacy of the area's boat builders continues to live on, as the Treasure Coast remains a hub for the marine industry and sport fishing to this day.

Additional Links:

Stuart Sailfish Club History

Treasure Coast Boatbuilding


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