Broward Marine was founded in 1948 by Frank Denison, and for the next five decades produced some of the most popular yachts afloat. Configurations included sport fisher, flybridge, pilothouse and tri-deck ranging from 82 to 156 feet. Within 20 years, Broward yachts for sale had evolved from being all wooden to aluminum custom, luxury motor yachts and mega yachts. In fact, the 156-foot Bubba Too, commissioned in 1996, was the largest U.S.-built aluminum yacht, and it was built by Broward Marine. When Frank sold Broward Marine in 1998, the company had launched 220+ of the finest motor yachts ever built.
A production genius
From the time he was a teenager growing up near the water in Saugatuck, Michigan, Frank Denison knew he wanted to be around boats. Build them, repair them, or both, he didn’t care. That’s why in 1948, while visiting Ft. Lauderdale with his wife, Gertrude, he bought Dooley’s Dry Dock. Since the shipyard was situated on the New River in Broward County, the Denison’s quickly renamed Dooley’s Broward Marine.
It may have been Broward Marine’s proximity to a deepwater port that landed it a contract for 12 minesweepers during the Korean conflict. Building the 146-foot and 172-foot vessels was the easy part. The real challenge was getting them from the shipyard to the port. Not willing to let a little thing like a few fixed bridges stop him, Frank simply built the hulls at the shipyard, floated them downriver to Port Everglades and then attached the armaments and superstructures there. With that problem solved, Broward Marine turned out one minesweeper every 90 days.
From minesweepers to luxury motor yachts
As the demand for military vessels declined, Broward Marine shifted its attention to building custom motor yachts, launching the 53-foot wooden Stormy III in 1953 in collaboration with well-known naval architect John Wells. Five years later Broward Marine built an 82-foot luxury motor yacht for the owner of Jim Beam Distilleries.
Meanwhile, Gertrude, who managed the day-to-day business side of Broward yachts, started one of the first-ever yacht interior design companies – aptly named Yacht Interiors – in 1960. This made Broward Marine a triple threat: a genius yachtsman at the helm, a team of experienced Broward craftsmen turning out 50+ foot quality motor yachts and an expert designer whose one-of-a-kind, luxurious interiors were light years ahead of the competition.
Now, remember how nothing could prevent Frank from getting a boat in the water? This was never more evident than the feat pulled off at Broward Marine “North” in Michigan – where Frank and two former Chris-Craft employees started building boats in the Denison’s backyard. Once again, a low bridge presented a major obstacle to launching Broward yachts.
Frank’s solution: hinge the masts, flood the bilges and weld the pilothouse in place after
the boat motored past the bridge. Over the next 20 years, 80 boats from 100 to 120 feet were built in Broward Marine North’s backyard and sent downriver in pieces.
Broward Marine yachts sail through the decades
‘60s and ‘70s
- Aluminum and fiberglass replace wood as the go-to material, resulting in all-aluminum Broward motor yachts by the mid ‘70s
- Launch of first turbine-powered yacht – an 87-footer
- Launch of first Michigan-built Broward motor yacht
- Two facilities (Florida and Michigan), double the output: six to eight boats completed annually, with 10 to 12 under construction at all times
‘80s and ‘90s
- First-ever yacht with triple diesel engines
- First-ever “country kitchen” galley design (Thanks Gertrude!)
- Another Broward first: 112-foot mega-yacht with three diesel engines and two outboards that reached a top speed of 43 knots
- Launch of 130-foot triple engine tri-deck
- Launch of the largest –– 156 foot –– U.S.-built aluminum vessel
Broward Marine, South Florida’s only builder of mega-yachts, launched close to 300 of its popular custom yachts by the time Frank Denison sold it in 1998 to Glenn Straub; Tom Lewis took over in 2005; and Bruce and Chris Moore took ownership in 2009 and changed the name to Broward Shipyard.
Always in high demand, Broward yachts for sale are known for their open floor and deck plans, large spacious galleys, reliability, comfort and high performance. All of which makes them ideal for relaxing, entertaining and extended cruising.
- Founder: Frank Denison
- Established: Broward Marine in 1948, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
- Type: Custom, luxury motor yachts and mega-yachts
- Size: 53 to 160 feet
- Models: Tri-deck, sport fisher, raised flybridge, raised pilothouse
- Construction: wooden, aluminum and steel; deeper-depth draft, unique hulls including semi-displacement, deep-v, planing
If owning a boat designed and built by Broward Marine – one of the world’s most prominent yacht builders – is on your wishlist, cruise through our database for photos and descriptions of all the Broward Marine yachts we have for sale. We’ve organized our yachts for sale database so it’s fast and easy to navigate, and the listings are accurate and reliable. Today might be your day to find the ”Broward” of your dreams. Let’s get started!