Tight Lines, Bob Dougherty

Marine industry mourns loss of pioneer, Everglades Boats founder

Everglades Boats' Bob Dougherty over his drawing board.Courtesy of Everglades Boats

Bob Dougherty, a marine industry pioneer and legend, passed away peacefully with his family at his side Wednesday, March 23, 2016 – he was 85. Rarely does someone transform an entire industry – Bob did just that. Nicknamed "Mr. Unsinkable," he refined his craft of boat design and build with a philosophy that people should be able to enjoy boating safely, regardless of sea conditions.

A tough Irishman from South Boston, Bob started his career as a schoolteacher outside of Boston in the '50s. Late in that decade, he began experimenting with fiberglass and joined the marine industry soon thereafter. Always taking the high road on quality, he was a disciplined and visionary leader, for whom doing the right thing always came first. As his boat-building career unfolded, the people in his organizations were his highest priority, taking care of them as he would his own family.

Bob first started building boats when he joined Boston Whaler in 1960 as chief engineer. Dougherty soon became chief designer and senior vice president of engineering. Over the 30-year journey of outstanding fiberglass-boat building and design, Bob Dougherty designed almost every Boston Whaler built, ranging from 9 to 31 feet. Following his time at Boston Whaler, he started and built Edgewater Powerboats, which he ran until 1995.

Under RJ Dougherty & Associates, Bob went on to build small parts and windshields for select industry partners before starting Everglades to focus solely on its powerboats. Because of his vision and leadership, Everglades continues to build a full line of the best offshore fishing/family boats in the industry.

One of Bob’s favorite sayings was “Tight Lines,” a fishing term for good luck or 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.