Grady-White celebrates 50 Years with new products and new features to enhance the Grady Life!

In the 2009 model year, Grady-White continued to do what the company does best—introduce great new products and features plus focus on customer satisfaction. Kicking off the 2009 model year and beginning the celebration of the company’s 50th year in business, in mid summer 2008 Grady-White introduced a new walkaround cabin model, the 29-foot Chesapeake 290, a boat named after a very popular Grady-White originally introduced in the early years. “The fact is, we’re the company that pioneered the walkaround in 1974 and we’ve put all those years of refinement into this great new boat. Whether your Grady Life is about serious fishing capability that is also family pleasing, or whether you’re looking for a family-friendly boat complete with a roomy head and overnight sleeping comfort that can really do the job right when fishing gets hot, the new Chesapeake 290 has it all,” said Vice President of Engineering David Neese. The Chesapeake 290 also introduced some great new deluxe seating options with flip-up bolsters for at the helm and companion chairs and companion bench seating that became popular and was incorporated into other models. Watch the Chesapeake 290 video.

But the Chesapeake 290 was far from all of the innovation coming from Grady-White in the 2009 model year. With the introduction of the 30-foot Tournament 307 (a boat model later re-named the Freedom 307) in the late summer of 2008, Grady-White added to a whole new category in boating—open, big water coastal cruisers—and also began to offer the most complete line of safe, seaworthy multi-purpose dual console style boats from 18-30 feet. Continuous customer requests for a roomy cruising-and-fishing boat with genuine oceangoing capability inspired the Grady-White Tournament 307. A great fit for families with homes or second homes at the coast or on lakes, and perfect for those with a wide range of water activity interests, the 10'7"-beam 307 was created to assure a great day on the water for the whole family. Like its Grady-White siblings, the 205, 225 and 275 Tournament (also later renamed the Freedom Series) the Grady-White 307 offers an enclosed head area. The boat offers the seating and comforts of an inland cruiser with a big boat hull proven for rough water, big water safety and capability. Watch the Freedom 307 video.

In December 2008 Grady-White completed the prototype for the company’s biggest center console to date, the awesome, super-fishboat-and-much-more 36-foot Canyon 366. Although the 366 is billed as a center console, it might more properly be called a “center cabin” boat. The extraordinarily roomy console cabin not only has more than ample bulk storage, it comes complete with air-conditioned comfort and features a stainless sink plus a roomy shower area, as well as a microwave and optional flat screen TV. Bottom line is that this “center console” with all its creature comforts is a far, far cry from the spartan center console fishing platforms coming out of Florida in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Watch the Canyon 366 video.

Grady-White 50th Anniversary

As the year 2009 arrived, the celebration of 50 years since the founding of Grady-White began with the electronic publication of a book and video about the company’s history. Grady-White’s position as a leading company, with financial strength and a solid business model carefully built and nurtured by the Smith family and the management team, empowered the company to continue to continue its mission of providing the ultimate boating experience to customers despite difficult economic conditions. The talented engineering team didn’t miss a beat in designing and engineering great new products. In Miami at the February 2009 boat show, Grady-White was awarded the eighth consecutive J.D. Power and Associates award for the highest ranking coastal fishing boat in customer satisfaction. Later in the year the company was likewise awarded its eighth consecutive NMMA CSI award for excellence in customer satisfaction, continuing a string of gaining every third party recognition for customer satisfaction. In March, Grady-White owners gathered 250 strong at the very first Grady Fest held in Punta Gorda, FL, joined by many of the Grady-White management team. Click here for more information on Grady Fest.

Bing Fishman

That fall, Grady-White began publication of the company’s multiple award-winning e-newsletter, Docklines (subscribe here). And early in October, Grady-White saluted retiring factory sales rep for the Northeast territory Bing Fishman, a man who pre-dated even Eddie Smith at Grady-White and who was an icon in the industry, a genuine “character” as well as a strong supporter at Grady-White dealership events.

EXPRESS 360 Hardtop

The dealer meeting in October 2009 was held in the Grady-White plant with a costume party themed “The 1950s” complete with a wall of vintage photos and items from the past. Talk about the company’s and many of the dealerships’ perseverance through the years dominated the presentations and the conversation. Dealers also got to see a great new style of hardtop enclosure for the Express 360.