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Eastern Florida companies merge

Hell’s Bay Boatworks of Titusville, Fla., merged with Gordon Boatworks of Oak Hill, Fla. No purchase price was disclosed.

All Gordon Boatworks’ models and intellectual property will move to the Hell’s Bay plant. In addition, Hell’s Bay is bringing back veteran fishing boatbuilder Tom Gordon, plus two of its classic shallow-water performance skiffs.

“We’re very excited about joining together these two shallow-water fishing industry leaders,” said Chris Peterson, who has been rebuilding the decade-old Hell’s Bay company since he bought it two years ago. “Gordon Boatworks has a loyal following among anglers, boaters and guides around the world.”

Gordon has been in the fiberglass industry since 1989 and began his career in the shallow water skiff market with Hell’s Bay in 1999. Gordon resigned as the company’s plant manager about four years ago to start his own boatbuilding company.

“He licensed the two popular Waterman (16-foot and 18-foot) models from Hell’s Bay,” Peterson said. “Both are very reliable fishing boats and proven designs.

“Gordon Boatworks also worked with Hell’s Bay’s co-founder Flip Pallot in launching a design called the Ambush that has proven a popular seller,” Peterson added. “Because he knew boats, the character of the people needed to build them and because the product was so good, Tom became very successful.”

Peterson said the Waterman models are popular in all the Southern coastal states, as well as the Bahamas, Mexico and several other foreign countries where shallow and backcountry fly- and light-tackle fishing is popular. He said Hell’s Bay considered Gordon Boatworks the only legitimate competition for a truly technical poling skiff.

“With Hell’s Bay and Gordon Boatworks producing skiffs in separate facilities within 30 minutes of each other, it just makes a lot of sense to consolidate the operations into one company in one location,” said Peterson.

Hell’s Bay recently introduced its newest design in February at the Miami International Boat Show; an 18-foot skiff called the Boca Grande. By incorporating the models of Gordon Boatworks, Hell’s Bay will now have 11 models of shallow-water skiffs in the 14-foot to 18-foot range.

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