SYRACUSE, IN–When Lossie Rinker gave up dairy farming in 1945 to build fishing boats, it was unlikely that he envisioned his efforts growing into one of the largest independently-owned boat companies in the world.
From their shop along the banks of the White River in Noblesville, Indiana, Rinker and his sons, John and Jan soon expanded the business from rowboats to runabouts. Building their boats from molded birch hulls they imported from Nova Scotia, they soon earned a reputation for their performance racing craft, the design of which continues to impact every boat the company builds today.
Following their service in the Korean War, John and Jan moved the family business to Syracuse, Indiana, near the shores of Lake Wawasee, the state largest natural body of water. Under the name Rinkerbuilt, it was there that they began their experimentation with fiberglass hulls in the mid 1950’s and, a short time later, became among the first companies to build fiberglass boats on a production basis.
It was also during this period that the Rinker dealer network was born. One of the company’s earliest dealers, Boats, Inc. of Dearborn Heights, Michigan took delivery on its first load of Rinker Boats in 1956. Today, Boats Inc. is Rinker’s Top Worldwide Dealer for 1994, an honor it has received for nine of the last 10 years.
During the 1960’s, Rinker began to explore new technologies such as the inboard/outdrive engine; and by the 1980’s, the Mercruiser stern drive would become a Rinker standard that endures today. In 1968, Rinker fulfilled its first international order with the shipment of four 14’ runabouts to Sweden.
Rinker’s production efforts during the 1970’s were dominated by 15’ and 17’ tri-hulls, a design popular throughtout the industry at that time. The company did continue to design, build and refine V-hulls throughout the 70’s, however, and, today, the 20 degree deep-vee signature hull is found on nearly every Rinker model.
By the 1980s, Rinker had dropped the “built” suffix from its brand name and again refined production technique and quality, bringing virtually all component assembly and manufacturing in-house. And in 1985, Rinker launched its first express cruiser, the 250, testing the waters for what would become among the three best-selling express cruisers in the world–the Fiesta Vee 265, 280, and 300.
Dedication to design innovation during the 1980’s would bring the integrated swim platform, which quickly became a popular feature on most Rinker models. And by the end of the decade, Rinker’s exports had grown to become an important part of their overall sales, helping to immunize the company from downturns in the domestic market. Today, Rinker boats are sold by a loyal network of quality dealers, both across the United States and around the world.
In it’s 50th year, Rinker currently builds 10 models ranging from the 331 Fiesta Vee 300 to the Rocket, a 141711 jet boat. The company’s highly successful “Captiva” series of runabouts includes 191, 211 and 231 models that set industry standards for performance, quality and value.
While many of the nation’s boat builders have lost their autonomy in acquisition sprees by marine conglomerates, the Rinker Boat Company has remained both fiercely independent and highly successful. The company’s golden anniversary is celebrated by the third generation of Rinker family members actively involved in managing the business, maintaining the traditions of popular styling and a commitment to the quality/value relationship that marked Rinker’s beginnings 50 years ago.
The Rinker Boat Company, Inc. is located at 300 W Chicago Street, Syracuse, Indiana 46567. – Lake Havasu
– Lake Havasu