Willis Custom Yachts acquires American Custom Yachts in Stuart


Stuart’s legacy of boatbuilding dates back 100 years. It was 1921 when Curt Whiticar built his first boat, launching Whiticar Boat Works and what would become a mecca for the construction of some of the world’s finest high-performance sport fishing yachts.

Since then, Stuart has become synonymous with world-class sportfishing thanks to brands such as Monterey, Billy Knowles, Gamefisherman, Garlington-Landeweer, Jim Smith, L & H, Tribute and American Custom Yachts.

The latter, in the Treasure Coast Commerce Center in west Stuart, was acquired by Willis Custom Yachts earlier this year, but terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

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Crew members work on a sport fishing boat inside the Willis Custom Yachts facility on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, at 6800 SW Jack James Drive, just south of Stuart in Martin County.

Willis Custom Yachts is a new entity formed from Willis Marine Inc., a boatbuilding company founded by Mark Willis of Stuart in 1990. American Custom Yachts was founded in Stuart in 1991 by Dominick LaCombe.

The new company plans to add 75 jobs soon, and more in the years to come once it starts to build the center console brand Venture Boats in a new manufacturing facility. The company plans to build that in two or three years on the vacant land across the South Fork of the St. Lucie River from the company’s main yard.


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