The World's Oldest Fibreglass Boat Builder

Posted by Peter A. Robson on Apr 21, 2011

I wonder how many British Columbians know that we are home to the world’s oldest continuously operating fibreglass boatbuilding company: Hourston Glascraft in North Vancouver. In 1950, the late Chuck Hourston set up his company building small cartop boats in his North Vancouver garage. He’d been working with Hamish Davidson (at Denman and Georgia in Vancouver) who, just a year or two earlier had moved from fabricating molded and laminated wood boats to small molded fibreglass dinghies. When Hourston began building fiberglass boats, there were only a handful of builders using the material in the world. Hourston is the only company that has managed to operate continuously since then. Today, Hourston is operated out of the same North Vancouver building they moved into 40 years ago and Chuck’s son Bill is at the helm.


The photo shows Hourston's first boat, a 9 foot dinghy. Note the clear glass hull. Resin was not coloured in those days and gelcoat was not yet available. There was a great article on the Hourstons in the May 2004 issue of Pacific Yachting magazine.