Broward has a 60-year history in the marine industry in the United States with years of yacht and ship-building, as well as, refit and repair service. The company has been known by several names over the decades, including Dooley's Basin and Dry Dock, Broward Marine, Broward Yachts, and most recently, Broward Superyachts and Broward Shipyard.
Originally located at Dooley's Basin and Dry Dock Company on the New River in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the company first worked as a military defense contractor for the United States and its allies as a builder of military vessels beginning in 1937. The military construction department closed after the World War II era and that property is home to Lauderdale Marine Center.
Another Broward yard was built on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in 1977, known as the Saugatuck yard, The property allowed vessel access to Lake Michigan.
New owners took over the yard, then known as Broward Yachts, around 2000. At that time, all work was consolidated, including work at the Saugatuck yard, and services moved to Dania Beach, Florida. This location allows vessels clear navigation access from Port Everglades just south of Fort Lauderdale in Broward County. Most recently the company goes by the name Broward Shipyard and Broward Superyachts.
New vessel construction and yacht refit projects at the yard range from 50 feet (15 meters) to 165 feet (50 meters) in steel and aluminum construction. Broward specializes in design work, naval architecture, engineering, construction, and commissioning of yachts ranging from 60 feet (18 meters) to 165 feet (50 meters) in length. Recently, Broward worked with nearby canal neighbors at Powell Brothers Barge Terminal and Playboy Marine Center to allow for dock and yard space for refits and repairs for yachts up to 330 feet (100 meters) in length. Dry dockage storage is available for vessels up to 150 tons and those with deeper drafts with more than 15 feet of water depth.
Each Broward yacht is unique in its design and through the years the company slogan has been “Demand the Finest”.
THROUGH THE YEARS WITH THE DENISON FAMILY AT BROWARD
The history of Broward began with the Denison family, according to the Denison Yachts website. At the start of Broward Marine was founder Frank Denison’s interest in boats which began in Benton Harbor, Michigan in the 1930s.
The often told maritime tale is that he and his wife Gertrude bought a shipyard on their honeymoon in 1948. The yard, originally named Dooley’s, was renamed to Broward Marine.
Early in Broward’s history, the company built Patrol Torpedo (PT) boats and wooden minesweepers but it was Alisa V, a 96-foot (26 meter) yacht built in 1957, that set a new course for the company. Using a timber lamination technique, the company made a name for itself building wooden yachts.
Broward and Gertrude Denison took advantage of mariners’ interests in investing in the inside of yachts with their company, Yacht Interiors, which became one of the first yacht interior designers. Mrs. Denison is also credited with designing a country kitchen galley for yachts in the 1980s.
The company continued to innovate with powering yachts. By the 1970s, Broward created an all-aluminum yacht series and in 1973, Broward Marine built what is described as the first turbine-powered yacht and in 1983, Broward built a triple diesel engine powered yacht. Broward also innovated in the arena of size, building the largest U.S.-built aluminum yacht in 1996, the 156-foot Bubba Too.
The Broward dynasty continued to grow as Christopher “Kit” Denison, the oldest son, joined the company as a boat-builder in 1971. He first employed wood and then moved to aluminum construction in 1973. The company expanded with a manufacturing facility in Saugatuck, Michigan in the mid-1970s.
Franklin A. “Skip” Denison, the second-oldest son, took over Broward’s service and repair business In 1975. And another Denison, the youngest son, Kenelm “Ken” Denison, joined in 1983. He brought new designs to the company, added the slogan “It Must Be a Broward!,” and introduced the social gathering of yacht owners, the Broward Rendezvous.
In 2020, the Denison family was honored with the History Makers Pioneer Family award during the 25th Annual History Fort Lauderdale History Makers Fundraiser in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
A FEW OF THE DIVERSE VARIETY OF BROWARD YACHTS