Skip to main content

Boaters for life — and the afterlife

00b0da_5acdb23b31a643618e07f3553b147ed1~mv2

While they may not be NMMA-certified, the boat-shaped caskets made by Glory Boats sure look like they could be used for fishing. David Schmidt, a photographer in Little Rock, Ark., decided to design and build the caskets following an accident his father had several years ago.

Schmidt’s father, Joel, an avid fisherman, suffered a horrific fall, and the outlook did not look good for the 79-year-old. “I realized that he may not come out of there, but I didn’t know what his funeral plans were,” Schmidt said.

He asked his father about his plans for final arrangements. "If you hadn't told me what you wanted, I might have just buried you in your fishing boat," he joked.

Joel Schmidt recovered, but the episode gave David Schmidt an idea: Why not create caskets that look like fishing boats?

Schmidt contacted a funeral director friend, who liked the concept. The Glory Boat went through several designs before the final product was unveiled about a year ago. It is a jonboat painted in green, with interior woodland camo, marsh grass and pink camo fabric options. It is listed for $2,800 on gloryboats.com. The company’s tagline is “Celebrating the lives of outdoorsmen.”

An initial production run of 12 caskets were sold earlier this year, and Schmidt plans to do two more runs as demand increases. “The best way we’ve found so far to market the product is to attend outdoor expos for fishing and hunting,” he said. “We just got back from a FLW fishing tournament in New Orleans, and about 4,000 people went through the show.”

Schmidt said he tries to keep the subject light-hearted at the shows and approaches boaters and other anglers, who are often glaze-eyed after seeing so many boats. “They usually say they already own a boat, but when we tell them this is the last boat ride they’ll ever take, they usually get a funny expression on their faces,” he said. “But then they’re interested.”

The company has a pamphlet called “The Map to the Far Shore,” which is handed out at shows, with information about funeral planning.

Glory Boats has displays caskets in six funeral-home showrooms around Little Rock. Schmidt said most shoppers older than 80 prefer traditional coffins, but avid outdoors enthusiasts in the baby boomer generation are gravitating toward Glory Boats.

The design took time, Schmidt said, because the weight capacity is 350 pounds, and the casket had to fit in a standard burial vault. The hull and top are built of 18-gauge steel, with an interior canvas cover over an aluminum frame. Schmidt says three more interior patterns will be available in the next few months.

Related

1_ABA

ABA Celebrates 30 Years

The America Boatbuilders Association was founded in 1992 with the objective of collectively buying engines, raw materials and manufactured products at better prices.

1_YEARGIN

Who, Not How

Sometimes, to solve a tough problem, you need to get a different person in the room.

1_WHALESACTION

NMMA: Proposed Speed Rule an ‘Existential Threat’ to Industry

The association is calling on every marine brand, employee and boat owner to file public comment by Oct. 31 over a sweeping regulation to protect North Atlantic right whales.

1_AXOPAR

Axopar and Nimbus Renew Agreement

The boatbuilders have entered an agreement whereby Nimbus Group will retain exclusive rights to sell Axopar boats on the Swedish market.

1_IAN

Hurricane Ian Leaves Devastation in Florida

The storm left a wide swath of destruction, heavily impacting marine interests from Tampa Bay to Marco Island.

Norm

Email Is Your Ticket to Holiday Sales

Developing an effective email campaign can bolster sales and help fill winter coffers at your dealership.

1_NMRA

NMRA Presents Annual Awards

Edson CEO Will Keene and ComMar Sales president Tim Conroy were recognized for their contributions to the marine industry.

1_ PULSE.PING.2

DEALERS: Are Interest Rates Impacting Demand?

This month’s Pulse Report survey asks dealers whether interest rate increases are causing a downturn in boat sales. Take the survey here.

1_EPROPULSION

EPropulsion, Mack Boring Partner with Crest

Pontoon builder Crest will use an ePropulsion Navy 3.0 Evo electric outboard motor and an E175 battery for its 2023 Current model.