Years ago, Long Island superstar Billy Joel commuted from Oyster Bay into Manhattan on a one-of-a-kind 23-foot inboard boat. It’s no surprise that, today, Steiger Craft, the company that built and sold the boat to him, sails strong as the last major boat-building operation on LI.
When Alan Steiger founded his Bellport-based company in 1972, he wasn’t looking to sell boats to the likes of Billy Joel — he just wanted to avoid working for his family’s baking business. More interested in clams than cupcakes, Steiger knew his career would cater to the sea, not the kitchen. Alas, he found his niche in constructing fishing boats.
“We never really tried to be the biggest boat company in the world,” Steiger told The Fisherman Magazine. “We’re just trying to be the best boat company in the world for what we do.”
Originally, Steiger was building boats intended only for commercial fishermen but soon realized that he could cater to sport fishermen as well. Essentially, every fisherman wants the same thing — a boat that drifts well, has a stable platform, and can withstand some ice in the wintertime.
Steiger’s secret? Fiberglass. A nonbiodegradable material, fiberglass hulls cannot break. It’s the reason Steiger has never needed to pay a dime in warranty. These boats have never failed.
Steiger Craft has managed to stay at the top of its industry because, in addition to their boats’ top-of-the-line structure, they are always evolving. By the mid-1990s, the company was designing deep-V hulls that brought their inventory from boats only suitable for the shallow waters of the bay to full recreational ocean fishing capabilities.
“We’re making changes every year to all of our boats,” Steiger told Soundings Online. “We recently changed the freeboard on the 21, 23, and 25, and now we’re changing the freeboard on the 28 and 31.”
Steiger Craft prides itself on the fact that all its construction is done by hand. In that way, this business has an old-fashioned feel. But its use of the latest materials, technologies, and engineering show that this boat maker is anything but behind.
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