Ocean Masters are continually tested under grueling offshore conditions, and have a well-earned reputation for being overbuilt. Though in a situation no one wants to face, one fisherman recounts how this iconic brand of boat survived, and likely saved lives, in a high-speed crash. Heading back to the marina after a night of fishing for Mangrove Snapper in the Florida Keys, Gene Dyer moved from leaning up against the outrigger lines to stand behind the rocket launcher/tackle center of Nemesis, a 1996 31′ large-consoled Ocean Master walkaround. The twin Yamaha 250s were propelling the boat through the darkness at 20 kts.
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The owner, unfortunately distracted from keeping a watchful eye on the plotter, drove the vessel head-on into an unlit daymarker’s I-beam upright. Deflected suddenly to the left, the boat ground past the heavy iron support at full speed. Several sizable chunks were gouged out of the chine.
While none of the injuries were life-threatening, the owner had badly hit his head and was incapable of operating the vessel. Dyer took control, brought everyone safely back to shore and drove the injured to the hospital.
The next morning, they were amazed to see the boat still floating. A full 1/2″ of fiberglass remained under the fierce gashes in the side of the hull. “It’s a tank on water. We weren’t going to sink, no matter what,” said Dyer. “Had this been any boat other than an Ocean Master, it would have been over and done, right then and there.”
Ocean Master boats are overbuilt for this very reason. The innerliner deck is permanently fused to the 20-layer laminated hull sides and oversized, full-height stringers. The result is a vessel that can take the day-to-day punishment that life offshore often dishes out, and overcome the once-in-a-lifetime emergencies that may occur.
Recently relocated to Stuart, Florida, Ocean Master has, for over 40 years, dedicated itself to building some of the strongest and safest boats on the water. The company builds eight models of semi-custom skiffs and offshore center consoles, from 27′ to 33′ 6″.