Bob Dougherty, who had a long career at Boston Whaler and founded both EdgeWater and Everglades, has passed away at the age of 85.
"Rarely does someone transform an entire industry – Bob Dougherty did just that by designing and building boats that could be enjoyed safely regardless of sea conditions. This earned him the nickname 'Mr. Unsinkable.' Across more than sixty years and three boat companies, Bob has had a lasting impact for boaters around the world," Everglades Boats said in statement.
"A tough Irishman from South Boston, Bob began experimenting with fiberglass in the '50s. By the end of the decade, he brought his craft and passion to the marine industry. A disciplined and visionary leader, Bob always took pride in doing the right thing, and he placed his people first — taking care of them as he would his own family. One of Bob’s favorite sayings was 'Tight Lines,' a fishing term for good fortune. He lived his life as if a fish were always on the line, ready for the next challenge with a can-do attitude that never quit. We have been fortunate to have Bob in our lives. He will be missed," the company said.
Dougherty retired from Boston Whaler in 1990 after serving a variety of roles. including as chief designer and senior vice president of engineering.
After leaving Whaer, he founded EdgeWater Power Boats in 1992, selling it in 1995. In 1997, he founded Everglades Boats, selling it to Grand Crossing Capital Partners LP last fall. Dougherty retired as CEO after the sale, but stayed on as an investor in the company.
“We are delighted to partner with Grand Crossing to continue building the highest quality boats in the industry and servicing our loyal customers through our best-in-class dealer network. With fresh capital, Everglades will accelerate product development and geographic expansion, while continuing to bring cutting-edge innovation to the market,” Dougherty said at the time.
Bryan Harris, vice president of Everglades Boats, told The Daytona Beach News-Journal that Boston Whaler, EdgeWater and Everglades combined employ more than 1,000 workers in the area.
"He was a heckuva guy," Harris said. "He really had as big an impact on the industry as anybody I've ever seen."