In 1909 G.Reid Richardson founded the Richardson Boat Company in North Tonawanda,
New York to build high quality boats at a fair price. History has shown that he was quite
successful in this undertaking. Over the years many types of boats were produced
including not only cruising vessels but sailboats, runabouts, racing boats and military
craft during the war years. In the late 1920's standardized models were in production and
the highly successful Cruisabout models were introduced. High quality cedar hulls with
white oak frames and mahogany cabins, usually powered with Gray Marine engines, were
produced in great numbers. The Richardson Boat Company organized "Sailaways" where
the owners of newly purchased boats were encouraged to congregate in North Tonawanda
and join in a cruise down the Erie Canal to New York City. Sadly, Mr. Richardson passed
away in 1937 and his wife Ethel took over management until 1941 when the company
was sold to a group of local businessmen. During the second World War pleasure boat
production was suspended, the work force expanded, and a great number of different
types of military vessels were produced for the Coast Guard, Army, and Navy. After the
war the company began building a line of molded plywood boats using new technologies
and building techniques that were plagued with problems. After this short lived
experiment production returned to the time proven plank on frame construction which
resulted in tremendously strong and durable hulls. Competition, labor problems, and the
introduction of fiberglass began to take its toll. In 1959 the Richardson Boat Company
combined with Colonial Boats to become United Marine, Inc. and later joined with Avro
Aircraft to produce larger aluminum hulls. All efforts to regain position failed and on
June 1, 1962 the Richardson Boat Company declared bankruptcy. Now, over 40 years
later, many Richardsons remain afloat and in use. A number of these vessels, lovingly
cared for by their present owners, date back to the 1920's. The Richardson BoatOwners
Association was established in 1973 to "Provide pleasure and service to Richardson
owners". This mission continues today as we present this website, not only for the benefit
of RBOA members, but for anyone who has an interest in fine old boats.
We invite you to join with us in our appreciation of, and passion for, these fine boats, and if you would like to share in those more closely, we would welcome your application to become a member of the association.
Remember that you may join us as either a regular member, (one who owns or used to own a Richardson), or as an associate member who simply shares our interest in these boats.
One of the major benefits of membership is the association newsletter called the CRUISABOUT. This well edited and informative quarterly newsletter celebrates all aspects of membership and keeps us all in touch with the events and personalities of our group.