Friends of Yellow Jacket Boats


I remember Yellow Jackets being sold at the local marina, Coast Marine, Winthrop, Mass. in the late 50's.  As a matter of fact, when my wife was a teen she dated a fellow who had a 14' or 15' inboard Yellow Jacket.  I remembered it ... she didn't.  Anyway, last month I saw an inboard or maybe an outboard Yellow Jacket at the Maine Boatbuilders Show in Portland.  It was beautiful.  I didn't pay much attention other than knowing it was a Yellow Jacket.  Best of luck.  Jerry


Thanks for sharing the restoration and finished project pictures with us.  The boat is a beauty, and I am sure you have a blast with it. I saw my first and only Yellow Jacket in about 62'.  My grandfather owned a cottage on a small lake in MI, and one of the neighbors was a lawyer who had lots of his buddies out on Sundays.  They were mostly a sailboat crowd, but one of the buds had a Yellow Jacket with the same 40 h.p. Merc package as yours.  (He brought the boat to the lake so the gang could water ski if they wanted to.)  The owner was no mechanic, and had a pretty short temper, so when the Merc acted up and wouldn't start, he flipped out and let loose with a long tirade of four letter words.  After he calmed down, my dad (who had raced Mercs on hydroplanes) went over and got the motor running.  I remember as a kid being impressed with the Yellow Jacket emblem on the side of the boat, and the fact that Roy Rogers had been involved in the company.  Thanks again for the story and picsBrings back good memories about warm summer weekends at the lake and the faint smell of 2-cycle oil.    Gregg

In the late 50's Roy Rogers came down the Red River. I was a Boy Scout and had the good luck to camp out with him at Fulton, Ark. Would you have any picturestaken at Fulton, Ark. I did get a picture signed by him in a Yellow Jacket Boat. It's not the picture you have.Thanks Nicholas


As I was looking at your website, it brought back many childhood memories.  I grew up in Denison and remember when Roy Rogers came to town in 1957, he boarded his Yellow Jacket at Denison Dam on Lake Texoma and was taking a trip down the Red River.  I was just a cub scout then, but will always remember getting to shake his hand.  Later, in 1962 or 63', one of my friends'  father bought a Yellow Jacket "Trigger".  This was a special boat made for Roy Rogers and named after his favorite ride.  I understand only two were made, but may be incorrect.  Good luck, and thanks for the memories.By the way, the boats were named after the Denison High School mascot.  "The Yellow Jackets". ..........Larry


My brother in law is looking for plans to build a yellow jacket boat.Do you know if such a critter exists?  He has been raving about this forquite some time, and wants to build a replica for his young son.  Anyinformation would be greatly appreciated.Terri



Thank you so much for your enormous effort in preserving your boat and for creating a web site for these now rare boats. I am 40 years old and have fond memories of my dad' s Yellow Jacket which he sold in 1971.  I have not seen one since today on your site.  My dad's was (as best I remember 15 1/2 feet long and must have been a late model 1958 or 1959.  The trailer in your picture is like the one dad had yellow with coil springs.  What make of trailer is this?  Is it a Husky? Any way my dad's boat had a 1962 Merc 1000 on it and I remember the transom had extra steel braces in it.  All of this said the most amazing thing I remember is the performance not just the speed but how well it turned, you could turn so sharp the top of the side would be level with the water. I live in Houston and I recently found a 1962 Merc 1000 that I am restoring.  I hope to someday find a Yellow Jacket to restore.  I would love to hear from you on any advice you can give me. Thanks, Donnie

Great site. My Grandfather had a Yellow Jacket, originally purchased in the 50's sometime I think in the Ithaca New York area. He moved to Danbury Connecticut around 1960 and used it on Candlewood Lake until the late 60's, when he became terminally ill with cancer and sold it. I was too small to remember which model it was, but I'm trying to locate some pictures of it. If I do, I'll send one along. I know it was powered by an Evinrude 30hp "Big Twin" which was Blue/Black/White in Color. I would GUESS it was new with the boat and I THINK this outboard was a 58, but I'm not sure. Hopefully, I can link the boats age by researching the outboard. I'm going to explore your web page and links. More Later. Linn

Thanks for your reply a few weeks ago about your site. Being Labor Day weekend, this is an important holiday for me. When I was a kid, we spent this weekend at my Grandfather's house every year. It was the last weekend of the summer that he kept his Yellow Jacket in the water. So we got to go on a lot of boat rides before he drove the boat across the lake to the boat ramp to pull it out. I can still remember my Dad leaving in My Grandfather's 1959 Ford Galaxie to go over and meet him at the other side of the lake. A while later, they'd return, and the boat would go back in the Garage for the winter. This was on Candlewood Lake in Danbury CT. Anyway, this is a real long shot and probably a crazy idea, but I'd love to try and find the boat, if it still exists. I am attaching a Microsoft Word 97 document describing the details. I need your help in trying to locate this boat. Feel free to forward this to anyone you might think might have some information. Also, let me know where else I might send it. Who knows, it may still be sitting around somewhere - I'd love find it. regards, Linn Murdoch Merritt Island, FL.


2 September 2000 SUBJECT: Yellow Jacket Boat Search
To whom it may concern,I am trying to locate a Yellow Jacket boat that was owned
 by my grandfather, Merton Abbott. He became terminally ill in the late sixties 
and sold the boat sometime between 1967-1969.He lived on Reynolds Rd. Extension in
 Danbury, CT. This was located on Candlewood Lake. I am not sure of the exact year 
of the boat, but I would guess it was between 1954-1956.The boat had a 30HP Evinrude
 "Big Twin" outboard - again, I am unsure of the year, but I think it was between 
'54 & '56, and came originally installed on the boat. It was the 3-color (Blue/Black/White)
 scheme. I believe that the boat was originally purchased in upper New York state. If you
 have any information on the possible whereabouts of this boat, please contact me at email; or by phone at 321-459-0880. I have just completed the restoration
 of a 1965 Boston Whaler, and am ready for another project. I know this is a long shot,
 but this boat holds a lot of memories for me and it would be absolutely terrific to find 
it and get it back. Please forward this note to anyone who might possibly know of the 
whereabouts of the boat.  Sincerely, Linn A. Murdoch, Merritt Island, FL.

       Hi;   I viewed your page and saw your boat, looks good and brought back a lot of memories.  In the 50's I worked for Gil Schaefer Inc. in Detroit Mi. He was the distributor for yellow jacket boats among others.  Mercury outboards too. I was a salesman for them in their retail store. YES they were wholesale and retail for a few years until the dealer organization finally got organized against the situation. I then went to work for Gregory Boat Co. in Detroit. at that time the largest Chris Craft dealer. Back to Yellow Jackets! I had owned a couple of them powered with Mercs. I also remember rigging a 15' with two 40 HP. mercs. Robart mechanical steering that I believe was the first mechanical steering. adding a brace from the center of the transom to well forward on the inner keel. It was used in the Tommy Bartlet water ski show to pull an elephant on large foam water skis made of a rigid foam material. they actually would float the elephant. this was done on a lake north of Pontiac Mi. thought this might be of interest to you. I also  remember seeing a picture of my boss with the owner of Yellow Jacket boat co.  Regards  Bruce.

My dad had a yellow jacket I remember many a summer day in it I will see if I can dig up some old pictures. You have a very nice site. Your pictures brought back some old and dear memories. Thank you Dave

Enjoyed your site-just happened upon it while searching for a copy of Real Runabouts.  What a great boat!  I had recently got the bug for a Higgins boat and was reading a book called Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats that Won World War II.  It had a lot in it about Mr. McDerby (founder of Yellow Jacket Boats) who trained thousands of soldiers during the War in the handling of all of the boats that Higgins built.  He seemed to be Mr Higgins right hand man-they both had a lot of respect for each other.  It said he quit and went to Texas and now I know what for.  I could easily start to loose interest in the Higgins and consider a Yellow Jacket one of these times. Jeremy

I bought a 1957 Yellow Jacket Capri in 1957 from Sewell Auto supply in Pittsburg, Texas.  I equipped it with a 25 HP Wizard from Western Auto I
already owned. Of all the boats that I owned, it was by far the most fun. Used it almost daily for about five years then acted a fool and sold it. Big
Mistake !!! missed it ever since.  Was the best preformer on the water both turning and straight away and no one with equal power could beat me out of
the hole.  I thought that the world had forgotten this craft until I happened on to this web site!! What a suprise I got that some of them still exist. 
Used to make 120 mile round trips  from Jefferson Texas to Mooringsport Louisiana on those long summer days will never forget taking those tight
turns and the smell of burning Gulfpride Outboard oil lingering around not to mention all the fun.  My boat was not equiped with the fancy curved
windshield the factory had, I bought a generic type fit all from some marine jobber it it was also good and looked sharp.  This was a common practice in
East Texas at the time because of the price.  Thanks for a great memory                          Papadee

I was a little kid in the first part of the 60s (born in '54) and we moved from OK. to CA. in '58.  When I was about 6 or 7 my dad bought a Jellow Jacket and it was THE THING.  We used to go camping with another family and I always felt like the cat's meow because WE had a Yellow Jacket with an Evinrude 65 h.p. motor and THEY had a dumb ol' Dunphy with only a 45 horse motor. Neener, neener, neener.  LOL

The funniest part of it all now is that I LOVED Roy Rogers and we didn't live very far from him in CA.  I never got over my childhood crush on him and was I ever surprised when I found out just recently that he and
Denison and my favorite boat were all connected!!!!  (I have only been living in N. TX for the last 18 years now!!!!)

My dad is gone now and he and mom sold the Yellow Jacket when they got a divorce when I was about 9 or 10.  Wish I still had her!  I love the site, the pictures and the good memories they bring back.

Thank you so much,


Hello, Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed your website and your
boat. I answered an ad a few years ago for a 25 hp Evinrude motor and went
to look at it. There was a forlorn looking little plywood boat attached to
it and it was sitting on a trailer. I bought the motor with the stipulation
that I had to take the boat and the trailer. The boat was really bad, with a
peeling deck and about 20 layers of paint both inside and out. The fellow
told me to burn it in the fireplace if I didn't want it. I took it home and
pulled the motor off and was fixing to cut the boat up with a chainsaw when
I realized I still had a little paint stripper left from another project. I
stripped a spot and there was the most beautiful grain under the paint. I
replaced the nose deck, stripped the entire boat inside and out and
refinished it and ended up with an absolutely beautiful little Yellow
Jacket. I kept it for a couple of years and took it back to the fellow that
I had bought it from. The boat had been his fathers boat and when he and his
sister, who was visiting, saw the boat, they both cried. They had used the
boat when they were growing up in the late 50s and early 60s. They offered
to buy it back for their grandkids and I couldn't turn that down, so I sold
it back. I hated to see it go, but it was more important for it to stay in
the family.  Funny thing was, I ended up paying them to restore the boat
when all was said and done. It was a great feeling though, and well worth
it. Thanks for the memory.
Robert McGaughy


Al and I ran across the Yellow Jacket web site when we were looking for

information on my now very, very old Elgin horse and 1/4 outboard motor.  I

couldn't believe my eyes!  I didn't think anyone else remembered the Yellow

Jacket boats.  We had a Yellow Jacket which I think we bought in either 1954

or 1955.  It was beautiful and the fastest thing on the water.  We lived in

Cleveland OH at this time took it out on Lake Eire.  Both my sister and I

were avid water skiers and the Yellow Jacket with a mark 55 Mercury motor

gave a great ride.  I raced many a taker and won every time.  We took it to

Wisconsin one year and in 1957 and 1958 went back to our childhood haunt

Lake Sebago State Park in Naples, Maine.  We had the Yellow Jacket until

1962 when my Dad bought a  23 foot, Cris Craft inboard, it was a more

serviceable boat for Lake Eire.  I'm sure he traded in the Yellow Jacket at

that time.  I took meticulous care of that Yellow Jacket, cleaned both the

inside and outside every time it was used.  I was born in 1940, so my teen

year summers were spent running around with the Yellow Jacket.  My sister

and I owned a little pram (Sears build it package) and 1 1/4 Elgin that we

bought with our paper route money in 1949.  From that point on I spent every

summer on the beach, boat and water, they were wonderful years.  It was

delightful to run across your web site, Thanks for rejuvenating those





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