Century Boat Company

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The Century Boat Company (CEBC) is an American boatbuilding company, through much of the 20th century a leading builder of racing and pleasure boats. Founded in 1926 in Milwaukee, WI, it soon moved to Manistee, Michigan where it grew into a major nationwide supplier. It was taken over by Yamaha in 1995, and sold in 2012 to Allcraft Marine of Florida.

Company history[edit]

The company was founded in 1926 at 333 W Becher Street in Milwaukee, WI by two brothers, James and William Welch, who had a knack for building wooden plank hulls that were designed for speed.

In 1928 the company was moved to Manistee, Michigan where it operated for the next sixty years. In 1930 its Century Hurricane held the world speedboat record of 50.93 miles per hour. By 1937 the company offered 28 models of boats to choose from. During World War II the firm received a contract and delivered 3,600 vessels receiving the Army-Navy "E" Award for excellence in production material. The company had 343 authorized dealers by 1950 and used the slogan "The Thoroughbred of Boats".

In the 1960s Century introduced 45' motor yachts and jet-powered boats; in 1967 the last wooden boat rolled out of the Manistee Facility in favor of fiberglass. 1970 proved to be the greatest decade for the company; it even had a fleet of white tractor trailers that moved them from Manistee across the country to its dealerships. In 1983 it opened a production facility in Panama City, FL.

On March 30, 1990 Century became part of GAC Partners (General Marine) under company turnaround expert Richard Genth. General Marine was looking for investment partners for Century and agreed to let foreign-owned Yamaha hang outboards on its sterns. In 1995 Century was purchased by Yamaha, which had purchased Cobia Boats a few months earlier; the new company was called C&C Boats.

In March 2005 Yamaha sold Cobia and stated it would concentrate on "one brand, one vision" concept. In 2007 alone Century sold 1,000 boats and employees thought that things were on an upswing. But on December 1, 2009 Yamaha announced it was dropping its Century line. Century had at this point had 45 dealers in 18 states. In July Yamaha stated Century's assets were up for sale. On April 1, 2011 Century Customer Service and Warranty functions were moved to Yamaha Headquarters in Kennesaw, Georgia, while decommissioning and sale of assets of Century Boat Company in Panama City continued.

On March 6, 2012 Yamaha announced it had sold Century Boats back to an American company, Allcraft Marine, based at Dawson Drive, Dade City, Florida. Most assets with the exception of the Panama City Plant were included in the sale. Today a range of fishing boats is marketed under the Century brand.[1]


  1. ^ Shellie Benson (2014-12-02). "Century Boats in the Midst of a Comeback". POP Yachts. 

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