Broward Marine – The Early Years

 
 
Frank Denison, the founder of Broward Marine, started his yachting career by buying boats on spec, making the necessary repairs, and then reselling them. In fact, “Mr. D,” as he was known to everyone, is credited with installing the first diesel engines in a yacht in the mid 1930’s, in Benton Harbor, Michigan. In 1948, while on his honeymoon with his wife, Gertrude, he bought the Fort Lauderdale shipyard, Dooley’s Dry Dock, and renamed the yard, Broward Marine.
This twenty acre facility started with service and repair work, then in 1953, Broward Marine built it’s first custom (wooden) motor yacht, Stormy III, designed by the renowned Naval architect, John Wells.

Broward Marine - The Military Era

 

In 1954, and for the next four years, during the Korean War, Frank Denison landed a large United States Navy contract, with the first flight of four, 144′ wooden Minesweepers, for the Royal Dutch Navy under a NATO contract.

Broward Marine subsequently added seven more AMS-Class, 173′ Minesweepers, for the U.S. Navy. At the height of the Minesweeper program, Broward Marine became the largest private employer in Broward County, Florida.

Broward Marine – Private Yachts

 

After the demand for minesweepers dropped, Broward Marine started to build custom yachts, including the 95′ Alisa V, which was acknowledged by Time Magazine as the largest private motor yacht built in the U.S. for three decades, photograph to the left.
It did not take Broward long to develop a national reputation for quality and value, building some of the finest yachts for the world’s premiere yachtsmen, such as the Jonathan III, photograph below, built for Harry Blum, the founder of Jim Beam Distilleries.

 

 

In those days, very few yacht builders in the U.S. were capable of consistently building quality boats over 50′. Frank Denison concentrated on building the organization and challenged his customers and associates to “Demand the Finest,” as Broward’s slogan announced, while Gertrude started “Yacht Interiors,” which became famous in its own right for outstanding interiors for Broward Marine.

 

Mr. D. and his design team developed hull designs that became known and respected for being sea kindly and seaworthy, as well as efficient and beautiful.
The Denison family was proud of the fact that no two Broward yachts were the same, and said: “If you build two boats the same, you haven’t learned anything.”
That reputation for quality endured for over 50 years.

 

Kit Denison

 
In 1971, Denison’s oldest son, Christopher (“Kit”) Denison, joined Broward and immediately started to build boats, first wood, then, in 1973, Broward started building yachts in aluminum. The production started to increase from one or two boats per year to ten a year in 1983. During that time, Broward became known for modern styling, several new hulls were developed, and the workforce grew from 50 to over 250 employees, with annual revenues approaching $20 Million.
 

250
employess

$20 Million
revenues

In 1977, Broward started a new plant in Saugatuck, Michigan, to take advantage of the experienced and talented workforce in that area. The Michigan facility became so efficient that it accounted for over 40% of all the Browards build after 1978.

In 1983, Kit left Broward to start Denison Marine, which became known for the largest number of high speed (30 knot plus) yachts over 100 feet, with the development of new, tank-tested hulls and modern designs by Joe Langlois with innovative drive systems, such as jet and surface drives, which changed the face of the yachting industry. Equally innovative production techniques were developed by Carl Bischoff at the modern Dania facility with Ann Denison in charge of creative interior and space planning.

Skip Denison

 
In 1975, Denison’s second son, and his namesake, Franklin A. (“Skip”) Denison, took the reins of the shipyard’s service and repair business and grew the revenues from under $1 Million to over $5 Million dollars in 1985, making a substantial profit for the company. In 1986 Skip left the family boat business to start his own company, Skipper’s Oil.
1985: $1 mm
$5 mm
 

Ken Denison

 

In 1983, Kenelm (“Ken”) Denison, the youngest Denison son, started working at Broward. Ken started to make his own contribution to the company’s legacy with some additional new designs and a series of well-known advertising programs, including “It Must Be a Broward!” Ken started the perennial Broward Rendezvous and built some of the best known yachts in Broward’s long history.

 

In 1993, Ken started his own yacht brokerage business, Denison & Daves, which continues his legacy of selling fine megayachts all over the world.

Eddy Denison

Eddy grew up in the yachting industry as the son of Kit Denison. From an early age Eddy spent summers working at Denison Marine sweeping the stock room with brother Bob helping out around the yard doing any odd jobs that paid enough to hit the snack machines.


Eddy attended Arizona State University and University of Miami where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History along with a minor in Secondary Education. After college, he attended the San Diego Golf Academy in Chandler, Arizona where he received a degree in Business Operations and Golf Course Management. He then moved back to Fort Lauderdale where he started his golf management and teaching career. Five years into his golf career, a freak sneezing incident ruptured 3 discs in his back abruptly ending his teaching career and sidelining him indefinitely from playing golf in the future. Eddy spent the next 6 years opening and running a dance studio with his wife until he decided to join Denison Yacht Sales in 2013. Eddy hopes to continue the Denison tradition in the yachting industry and to one day pass along his knowledge to his children.


Eddy is currently married to Ariann (Choreographer for the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders) and they have two lovely children, Maia and Jaxson.

Bob Denison

Bob Denison, born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, spent much of his childhood around the Broward Marine, and Denison Marine shipyards with his brothers, Chris and Eddy. Thanks to this great heritage, Bob has experienced nearly every level of the yachting experience, from working as a laborer at the yard, to helping with boat shows.


After graduating from the University of Miami with a degree in Business Management, Bob began working with two visionary entrepreneurs in the e-commerce and aerospace fields. These early work experiences helped shape Bob's knowledge of internet marketing and creative management strategies.


In 2002 Bob assumed management roles of the brokerage firm, Denison Yacht Sales. Since that time Bob has assisted in the steady growth of the company to multiple offices around the U.S., new boat representation, with the support of Bob’s father and uncles, along with Denison’s 65 licensed and bonded yacht brokers.


Denison's approach to a successful yacht brokerage firm is simple: Focus on supporting the yacht brokers on your team, rather than competing with them. In 2005, Bob stopped wearing the hat of yacht salesman, and decided to focus on marketing and management tasks for the firm.


The fruit of this philosophy is represented by the excellent and diverse group of yacht brokers currently serving clients at Denison. From ex-captains, to industry veterans, to yacht brokers that used to run their own firms, Denison Yacht Sales is well-represented by a solid mix of dedicated brokers.

Rivers Denison

Rivers Winslow Denison was born on December 21, 2014.


He doesn’t know much about boats yet but is eager to learn.


Rivers spends most of his days working hard on the important things in life, such as eating, pooping and trying his best to make his mom happy.

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