Franklin (Roy), Ennis, Buddy and Allen Merritt moved to Florida from Long Island and settled in Pompano Beach in 1947. A year later, Roy and his sons opened Merritt Boat & Engine Works to service and repair charter and drift boats. It wasn’t long –– eight years to be exact –– before the Merritts began designing and constructing sport-fishing boats at their 10-acre boatyard. Buddy and Allen divided the shipyard responsibilities: Buddy, who lived and breathed fishing, managed the building side; Allen, ran the business side.
Built to raise fish
Buddy’s original semi-custom 37-footers were built for fishing pure and simple. No frills, no creature comforts. Just the perfect fishing boat. One that was ideally suited for his favorite pastime: big tuna fishing. It was the clean lines, open layout, lots of space for gear and quality craftsmanship that made the Merritt Boat & Engine Works sport-fisher the boat of choice for weekend warriors and professional fishermen alike. Still family-owned and -operated 74 years later, the Merritt boats for sale today include sport-fishing boats/yachts ranging from 37 to 86 feet.
Most technologically advanced –– and bigger, too
Merritt Boat & Engine Works boats built in the ‘80s and ‘90s changed considerably from the sport-fishing boats that made Merritt Boat Works a household name. One of the factors that convinced Merritt to build larger boats was that their customers began wanting to venture farther from home. To do that, they would need bigger, faster boats with the latest technology and more living space.
Engines with higher horsepower, along with advances in molded, composite construction and more lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and coring made it possible for Merritt to build more efficient boats reliable and safe enough to make these longer trips. Over the next 10 years Merritt’s semi-custom sport-fishing boats inched their way up to 63 feet, 72 feet and beyond.
By 2001, Merritt sport-fishing yachts had pulled ahead of others in their class once again. Using some of the most advanced construction techniques (resin-pre-impregnated epoxy/Kevlar/E-glass on the skin and vacuum-bagging with coring throughout) of any sport-fishing yacht builder, Merritt’s newest models were 80-footers with wood cabin houses and fiberglass bridges. These easy to maneuver, larger yachts were a natural for saltwater fishing and overnight cruising.
Top of the line –– 86 Merritt Sport-fish
All the style, standards and seaworthiness that made the Merritt 37 sport-fish the most sought-after sport-fishing boat back in 1957, became the foundation for every Merritt boat for sale going forward, including the 86 Merritt series.
For those heading out to blue water for a little tuna fishing or those simply taking an overnight cruise, the 21-plus-foot beam, ensures the Merritt 86 is open and roomy. The cockpit and salon are expansive, and the interiors are luxurious and well laid out. Plus,
the 86 Merritt has a 3,600 gallon fuel capacity and can carry 500 gallons of water, and the twin 2,600 hp V16 MTU 2000 engines move you along at a little under 35 mph (44 mph wide open). Performance-wise, everything about this boat –– agility, stability efficiency –– belies the fact that it’s almost a quarter of a football field in length.
As you would expect, the living, relaxing and entertaining spaces onboard the 86 Merritt live up to the same level of excellence. You’ll find satin-finished teak cabinets and overhead beams, seamless joinery, wrap-around lounges, lavish staterooms, full-service galleys with the latest appliances, fish-finding and navigational electronics and a flybridge with cameras and satellite receivers.
A tradition of excellence for 66 years
The Merritt family along with their crew of craftsmen are masters at merging the most advanced technologies with traditional, classic styling.
Here are a dozen reasons why Merritt Boat Works has such a loyal following of serious sport-fishermen after all these years:
- CAD and mathematical modeling to predict hull dynamics
- Complete control from conception, fabrication, installation to delivery
- Cutting-edge materials, such as resin-pre-impregnated epoxy/Kevlar/E-glass
- Deeper-depth draft
- Exceptionally wide beam
- First-class design and more fuel efficient
- Inboard propulsion systems, available in diesel fuel systems
- Most advanced, toughest construction techniques
- Semi-custom; no two Merritt Boat Works sport-fishers are alike
- Unique deep-v and modified-v hulls
- Variety of interior layouts
- Wooden, plank-on-frame construction or cold-molded
Merritt Boat & Engine Works Shipyard Stats
- Founder: Franklin (Roy) Merritt
- Established: 1947, Pompano Beach, Florida
- Type: Sport-fishing boats, motor yachts
- Size: 37 feet to 86 feet
- Models: Sportfish, Sport Fisherman Custom Sportfish, Custom Sport Fisherman; 42, 44, 46, 63, 65, 72, 75, 80, 86
- Construction: Wooden, plank-on-frame or cold-molded with a thin layer of fiberglass (outside and inside), faired smooth then painted
If you’re in the market for the “ideal fishing boat,” which is how avid anglers refer to a boat designed and built by Merritt Boat Works, then you’ve come to the right place. Browse through our boats for sale MLS listings for photos and descriptions of all the Merritt sport-fishers we have for sale. Our database is fast and easy to navigate, and the listings are accurate and reliable. Today just might be your day to catch the fishing boat of your dreams. Let’s get started!