Royal River Boat was initially started in the early 1950’s when Adolphus Dugas purchased a piece of land from Dr. Palmer. With the help of his sons, Joe and Al, Adolphus started clearing the land in order to build a small commercial boatyard. In the process of developing the land, they built a marine railway to haul and store boats. At that point, the business was a part-time, do-it-yourself yard for local fishermen and commercial boats.
Although the company was officially incorporated in June of 1963, the yard stayed mostly the same until Alan Dugas joined his family’s company in 1977. The Dugas’ worked together towards achieving their dream of establishing a full service boatyard. Around 1980 they realized it was time to build a shop, and the first of many was built. This 26’ x 36’ building became the focal point of repairs and supplies. Soon outgrown, it was expanded 25’ on the front and 18’ on the side. Every need for power required the use of a generator. With the completion of this first building, a small marine supply store was started.
By 1981, the boatyard was making progress towards becoming a full service facility. A 26’ x 40’ mechanic shop had been built and more land had been cleared to accommodate the growing demand for storage. A few other upgrades included the addition of fuel, and shortly after, electricity and water.
Dredging for the new marina began in 1984, and the floats were installed in 1985. That same year, a 50 ton travelift was a welcome addition to the boatyard’s equipment. The new travelift made moving boats much easier; especially since the customer base expanded that year from being mostly fishermen to include pleasure boaters as well.
During the year of 1991, Royal River Boat saw the addition of the paint and fiberglass shop. A few years later in 1995, the sail loft and rigging shop, now known as Bayview Rigging and Sails, was opened. In early 2000, Royal River Boat became an authorized Mercury outboard dealer and full service facility. Consequently, the parts and marine supply store was expanded.
In March 2001, a larger facility was needed for repair work. Thus, the original mechanic shop was moved to the upper level and a new 8,000 sq. ft. repair shop was built in its place. Additional storage space was also created in the upper lot.
Further progress was made with the installation of underground utilities, water, and sewer. Then, in 2005, an addition of 4,000 sq. ft. was built onto the repair shop to house mechanical repairs and services. The arrival of a new 55 ton travelift also occurred during 2005.
Eight acres of land was later acquired in 2008 to allow space for future expansion. A new boom truck with a hydraulic crane and hoist for rigging and servicing was added to the fleet of equipment. In 2009, a new yard tractor for hauling and moving boats was added. The marina was also dredged for deep water access around that time.
In the past couple years, the yard has undergone some major renovations. A state of the art, environmentally-friendly bottom wash system was installed. A permanent waste pump out system was purchased to replace the portable system. A landscaping project was completed in 2011, which involved excavating, paving roadways, and enhancing storm water drains and runoff areas. Most recently, the travelift ways were rebuilt and a concrete deck was put in place.
Today, the boatyard is still owned and operated by the Dugas family. With Alan as the head of the company, he circulates throughout the yard giving a hand in each department. Elaine Dugas, his mother, has been working in the office as a bookkeeper for about 50 years and continues to work full time. His brother, Bobby, has been working as a foreman in the yard for roughly 27 years. Of the fourth generation of the Dugas family, Alan’s son, Andy, and daughter, Molly, are both involved in the family business. Along with the members of the Dugas family, we also have a hard-working crew that has been with us long term, has helped our company thrive, and has become like family.