In 1986, David Robertson embarked on a journey to meet the demand for a practical, lightweight, hard-shell rowing dinghy that promised ease in launch and retrieval. Little did he know that the inaugural “Ultralite,” crafted for his family, would trigger a wave of interest leading to the establishment of Gig Harbor Boat Works. Over thirty-five years since the launch of the pioneering 8-foot Ultralite, Gig Harbor Boat Works has evolved, diversifying its offerings and necessitating a move to larger, modern facilities.
The original Ultralite sparked such enthusiasm that, after showcasing it at the Seattle Boat Show, Robertson received over two dozen orders, officially marking the inception of Gig Harbor Boat Works. Today, the company boasts a diverse lineup of ten distinct boats, ranging from lightweight tenders to standalone rowing and sailing vessels, including the versatile 17-foot Salish Voyager designed for multi-purpose adventures.
To accommodate the growing popularity and diversity of their boats, Gig Harbor Boat Works is set to unveil a new 12,500 square-foot, state-of-the-art factory in Gig Harbor. This centralized production facility will bring together the entire production process, from lamination and assembly to administrative offices, ensuring seamless operations and enhanced efficiency.
Falk Bock, production manager at Gig Harbor Boat Works, is optimistic about the move, stating, “With our production team working together in one location, we can build boats more efficiently without compromising the quality and attention to detail we are known for.”
Gig Harbor Boat Works seamlessly melds traditional design with modern construction techniques, offering ten small craft models ranging from 8 to 17 feet in length. The boats, based on traditional working designs, can be customized to meet specific requirements, including gelcoat colors, keel strips, wood trim, sliding rowing seats, and more.
Upon the new factory’s operational launch, the original facility will transform into a customer-friendly showroom and delivery center. Katie Malik, general manager of Gig Harbor Boat Works and daughter of founder David Robertson, expresses excitement about the expansion, noting, “We are excited about the capabilities our new facility provides. Not only can we build more boats to keep up with growing demand, but by expanding our marketing efforts we can reach out to new folks that may not have known all that our boats have to offer.”