Founded in 1863 by German immigrants, the Burger Boat Company is one of America’s longest-operating boat builders. Building its operations on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Burger Boat Company is a true American icon.
Motor Yachts, Custom Yachts
In the midst of the American Civil War, Henry Burger made the decision to move from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Manitowoc, Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Michigan. There he founded the H. Burger Shipyard, making small fishing vessels for local fishermen. As his reputation grew, so did his business, and he became a well-respected boat builder throughout the Great Lakes region.
The late 1880s brought a decline in purchases of wooden sailing vessels. During this time Henry Burger brought on his nephew, George Burger, and they purchased the sole dry dock located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin to open a ship repair business.
In 1902, Henry and George Burger sold their business to the Manitowoc Dry Dock Company. That company eventually evolved into the world’s foremost crane manufacturer. However, this would not be the end of the Burger name in boating. In 1892, Henry Burger Jr. had opened his own shipyard and this would continue the Burger tradition, becoming the Burger Boat Company still operating today.
Burger built boats for both the WWI and WWII war efforts. After each war, it continued to build custom yachts. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Burger built an expertise in crafting aluminum yachts. Lighter and faster than comparable wood or steel yachts, Burger yachts began winning races, further increasing their reputation. In 1989, Burger was sold to United Shipbuilders of America, a subsidiary of the Tacoma Boat Building Company. By the end of 1990, the Tacoma Boat Building Company was in financial trouble and was forced to close its doors.
Luckily, two businessmen David Ross and Jim Ruffolo were able to purchase the assets of Burger Boat Company, subsequently reopening the shipyard. Thus the long history of the Burger Boat Company continues to this day.