SkipperLiner History

As one of the largest builders of custom vessels in the nation, SkipperLiner has a unique and storied history. We cherish our rich heritage, but we are always looking toward the horizon and the future of our industry. We’re committed to designing, customizing, and building the best vessels that have sailed - and will continue to sail - for years to come.

1979

With a big increase in orders from rental firms, production rises to fifty-seven units. SkipperLiner redesigns its steel hull, as well as its cabin exterior. This hull change brings about a remarkably improved hull performance, while the cabin change includes a significant advance to laminated fiberglass walls and roof.

1978

Plant expands to 20,000 square feet and allows for nine 14' wide units in production at any one time. Production grows again to forty-four units. The Clipperstream deep-V hull is introduced.

1977

SkipperLiner introduces deeper hulls to the houseboat industry. Hull options include the SLF (semi-V bow flat keeled bottom) or SLV (full-length deep-V hull). Standard floor plans include a 32', 40', 45', 52' and 60' with 10 total models.

1976

A completely redesigned product is unveiled and production quickly grows to twenty-eight units while manpower grows to eighteen.

1975

Sales volume is $316,054; twice that of 1974. SkipperLiner and the popularity of house boating is growing rapidly.

1974

Our slogan for this year still pertains today: SkipperLiner ... queen of inland waters. A true vacation home that you can move at the push of a button. Get away and enjoy the good life. Treat the family to a summer full of exciting adventure. Specify custom features to suit your personal tastes. SkipperLiners are designed and built to last!

1973

A brand new 10,000 square foot manufacturing plant is completed in La Crosse's Interstate Industrial Park. A total of nine houseboats are produced this year.

1972

A vision begins taking shape. The market wants a custom houseboat cruiser with the amenities of home. SkipperLiner builds more houseboats and begins preparations for a dedicated plant.

1971

SkipperLiner Industries opens its doors in a small 2,500 square foot building in La Crosse, Wisconsin with three employees. Their first boat, 32' long and 12' wide, is considered big for a pleasure boat. This boat still operates on the Mississippi River. A total of four houseboats are produced in the first year.

1989

The 2" fabricated fiberglass wall system is introduced to the houseboat industry by SkipperLiner. SkipperLiner is honored with the prestigious "Top Boat of the Year" award for the Island Girl V and goes on to win 25 awards over 11 years for design excellence. Ten new commercial passenger vessels are delivered.

1988

The first European canal boat, the Edelweiss, is designed and delivered to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It has a passenger capacity of 100 with dining for 70. The vessel is custom engineered to clear 9' 6" bridges and is ideally suited for in-city canal-way dining. The popular Celebration Series for Lake Michigan is also designed.

1987

The Quarterdeck Penthouse Series is introduced. This new option expands interior square footage by 28% without compromising other areas of the deck arrangement.

1986

The first Island Girl, a commercial passenger vessel, is completed and starts operations as Island Girl River Cruises in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The operation is a huge success when combined with the Bikini Yacht Club, a brand new marina and entertainment complex.

1985

The Flagship Series, with 16' wide performance hulls, is introduced with huge success; five orders are received immediately. Other model series include the Commander, the Fantasy Island and the Aquaminium.

1984

Three operating divisions are established: SkipperLiner Cruisers, Sundance Catamarans, and the Commercial Division. The aluminum performance hull is introduced, featuring a top speed of over 22 mph and the capability of pulling water-skiers.

1983

The popular Triple Mid-Cabin Series is introduced and offers huge cuddy space and the most popular floor plan of the 1980s.

1982

The Custom SLV, a 75' yacht featuring a complete pilot house with crew quarters on the sun deck, is delivered. This innovation is the first of its kind and revolutionizes the use of the sun deck space.

1981

SkipperLiner aggressively pursues "custom build" clients to expand the product line. This approach improves the design of the houseboat, which begins to resemble a yacht.

1980

The introduction of the tri-level loft floor plan to the Commander Series leads the way in sales, along with the development of the Fantasy Island Series, a very practical lineup at an affordable price.

1999

The Big Dog (24' wide, 260,000 lbs.) is the largest pleasure craft delivered to Lake Powell. It is equipped with Series 60 Detroit diesel engines and 29 tons of HVAC. In addition, it will be the widest pleasure craft on Lake Powell for the near future, as new laws limit vessel beams to 22'. The Peps I is completed, which features a tender garage that is capable of housing two 16' jet boats and three personal watercraft.

1998

The SkipperLiner Marine Service Center in Page, Arizona, serving the Lake Powell region, achieves a perfect 100% Customer Service Intelligence (CSI) rating. The 78' motoryacht Sunrise, featuring a 1,600 square foot interior, is designed for year-round, live aboard use in Wisconsin. Notable features include a large fireplace, a baby grand piano, an 8' deep hull, stainless steel deck rails, and a multilevel aft deck. The 70' intracoastal motoryacht Paisano graces the cover of Houseboat Magazine.

1997

Houseboat Magazine readers select SkipperLiner for having the number one hull design. The Shuja, an award winning 91' motoryacht, is shipped to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The tension surrounding the Persian Gulf makes delivery a challenge, but our on site team prevails. At Lake Powell, SkipperLiner's new product line, the Millennium Motoryachts Series, debuts with the 20' wide Make'n Memories and the Enfuego. At the Arizona National Boat Show, the slide-out salon (two 13' units) is introduced.

1996

The Liberty Belle is delivered to Walt Disney World of Orlando, Florida. This 133' vessel is a sophisticated blend of aluminum and steel superstructure, 2" teakwood decks and spindle composites. It is delivered on time and on budget and is expected to transport 12,000 passengers daily around Tom Sawyer Island in Liberty Square, Magic Kingdom.

1995

SkipperLiner and its vendors receive the "International Super Haul of the Year" award for transporting the 141' x 33', 600 passenger M.S. Dixie II overland to Lake Tahoe. SkipperLiner unveils the Flagship 700 Series at the Arizona National Boat Show. Visitors are in awe after seeing the glass bottom viewing pool, a new option that lets you see beneath the hull. Lake Mead gets a surprise ... a 65' motoryacht reaching a top speed of 27 mph with a steel hull.

1994

Walt Disney World selects SkipperLiner to design and manufacture the passenger ferry Mermaid I. The all-aluminum vessel is christened by Mickey Mouse. Mermaid I transports passengers on Lake Buena Vista, from Frontier Land to the Magic Kingdom. The Port Captain tells SkipperLiner the Mermaid I is the finest vessel in their fleet.

1993

The 75' Make 'n Memories, an impressive cruising yacht from bow to stern, is delivered to Lake Powell. SkipperLiner introduces a new option, including twin 502 C.I.D Mercruisers Magnum engines with Bravo II sterndrives. Another Lake Powell delivery, the Swift Getaway, utilizes a quarterdeck penthouse design to comfortably sleep 20 in berths.

1992

The Coastal Motoryacht 620 is designed and built. An aluminum performance hull and superstructure are designed in, along with Corian countertops, Raytheon radar and navigation, and three private staterooms with heads/showers. The vessel is tested during a few harsh fall days on Lake Michigan and outperforms expectations with speeds exceeding 25 mph.

1991

Four exceptional hull designs are offered: Cruising Houseboat, Performance, Cruising Yacht and Motoryacht. All custom yacht deliveries receive the new Command Bridge Module, a new sleek and stylish flybridge designed by SkipperLiner. The Desert Princess, a 110' x 28' yacht with a draft of 65", makes the overland voyage to land-locked Lake Mead. This new vessel for Lake Mead Cruises has two propulsion systems (screw and paddle), a 165 kW generator, 40 tons of HVAC and weighs in with a 150 ton displacement. About 220 passengers enjoy climate controlled dining on the enclosed main and boiler decks while viewing the top of the Hoover Dam.

1990

The introduction of the tri-level loft floor plan to the Commander Series leads the way in sales, along with the development of the Fantasy Island Series, a very practical lineup at an affordable price.

2012

The 2013 Commander is custom built with all the comforts of home, and designed for on-the-water fun! The Commander features fully custom staterooms, heads, and a luxuriously appointed living space. The gourmet kitchen includes top of the line appliances that will make any chef feel right at home on the water. The commander also features SkipperLiner’s newest “green” innovation, a Hydrogen Supplemented Fuel System that reduces emissions and improves fuel economy. 

2011

SkipperLiner builds a custom 105' Lady of the Lake passenger vessel from concept to completion. An onsite interior decorator helped customize unique areas of the ship.

2009

In May, SkipperLiner launches Bella Vista on Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota. The 83' Bella Vista is the second custom SkipperLiner for Al & Alma's. A new all aluminum Super Yacht for Lake Powell, Crystal Angel II, begins construction in August featuring a total of 1,150 Caterpillar horsepower and two Caterpillar C4.4 electrical generators. Several hulls begin in September for the all new Condo Cruiser line of 50' to 60' custom houseboats.

2008

SkipperLiner delivers two 99 passenger aluminum water taxis for Potomac Riverboat Company, based in Alexandria, Virginia. The new water taxis link Alexandria to National Harbor, a new $2 billion 300 acre development along a quarter-mile of Potomac riverfront. The 105' Motoryacht Lady Atlantic is delivered to Delray Intercoastal Cruises in Delray Beach, Florida. La Crosse Queen Cruises in La Crosse, Wisconsin accepts delivery of La Crosse Queen VI in April. La Crosse Queen Cruises is owned by SkipperLiner and delivers sightseeing excursion to over 30,000 tourists annually.

2007

Armstead was on display at the 2007 Miami International Boat Show in February, the largest yacht on display at the Sea Isle Marina show display. SkipperLiner delivers the Landing Princess, a 96' Motoryacht, to Branson Landing Cruises in Branson, Missouri. Landing Princess traveled via overland transportation in two oversized loads through Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri before successfully launching into land locked Lake Taneycomo. The 117' Fantasea delivers to the Clear Lake/Galveston Bay area, the third largest concentration of boating activities in the United States.

2006

The Armstead, a 94' Motoryacht, was commissioned for production by DHL Airways founder William Robinson. Armstead boasts 2,095 sq. ft. of interior living space, a professional commercial grade galley complete with SubZero and Motague appliances, and a commercial air purification system. La Familia, a new Millennium Edition houseboat for shared partnerships on Lake Powell, debuts at the Utah Boat Show and sells out immediately. In December, Naples Princess cruises receives their latest SkipperLiner, a 96' Motoryacht with over 100 design improvements to enhance profitability.

2005

Flock of Doves, SkipperLiner's new 60' Motoryacht 606 Series featuring floor-to-ceiling mirrored bronze tint windows and curvaceous hull styling, is unveiled at the Minneapolis Boat Show. The 138 x 28' and 325 passenger luxury charter yacht Ovation is ordered by Infinity Yacht Charters of St Clair Shores, Michigan and construction of the hull begins in April. The 30th 96' SkipperLiner Motoryacht, Captain's Quarters Princess, is delivered to Captain's Quarters Riverside Grille in Louisville, Kentucky.

2004

SkipperLiner corporate offices move to the new shipbuilding facility at North Bay Marina, a move that combined all major business units to one location for the first time. Downtown Minneapolis receives a double dose of SkipperLiner with the delivery of the 96' Paradise Princess to Bohemian Flats and the 64' Minneapolis Queen to Boom Island Park. Both vessels were exciting additions to the revitalized Mississippi River waterfront in the heart of the historic Minneapolis Riverfront District.

2003

In July, the SkipperLiner manufacturing team moves into is new state-of-the-art eight acre shipbuilding facility at North Bay Marina. The move sparks orders for larger motoryacht style passenger vessels, including the 148' Majestic and 128' Ambassador. Both Majestic and Ambassador were delivered just prior to ice forming on the Mississippi River. Their route to California included a trip through the Panama Canal. In October, Lake Powell welcomed the arrival of Rough Enough, a new $1,500,000 Millennium Yacht for Larry Knipp and his family.

2002

At the Arizona National Boat Show, SkipperLiner debuts its first aluminum houseboat hull in almost two decades. The LUV 750 (Lake Utility Vessel) features a ¼" hull and a keel. The Arizona Princess, the most expensive houseboat ever delivered to Lake Mead, is built for Jim Bebout. The best part - Mr. Bebout's wife didn't even know about it; it was a surprise for her birthday! Pintail Yachts takes delivery of the 124' Duchess of Pintail, their third SkipperLiner in their fleet.

2001

The 120' Cayah Michele, the fourth SkipperLiner in the Fjord Catering and Yacht Charters Fleet, is awarded Distinguished Vessel of 2001. Six Flags World of Adventure in Cleveland, Ohio takes delivery in June of two custom SkipperLiner double-ended ferries. The Cuyahoga Queen and Aurora Belle can transport up to 230 passengers each. The Kingdom, Bill and Dorane King's 70' SkipperLiner Cruising Yacht, commands the front cover of the May 2001 Houseboat Magazine issue.

2000

SkipperLiner is presented the Diamond Recognition Award for Manufacturer of the Year. Construction begins on an 80,000 square foot shipbuilding facility at North Bay Marina. The La Crosse Queen, a turn-of-the-century style sternwheeler, is the 100th commercial passenger vessel produced and is launched in La Crosse, Wisconsin. SkipperLiner's finest motoryacht to date, the 120' Romantica, is delivered to New York City and berths adjacent to the World Trade Center. Rainy Lake Houseboats purchases their 43rd SkipperLiner houseboat since the mid 1970s for their rental fleet.