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About Rinker Boats

From our humble beginnings on Indiana's White River to today, where we export boats to more than 40 countries, Rinker Boat Company has quite a story to tell.

Collage of old boats

A Family Passion & Pastime Is Born

For many boat manufacturers, building boats is simply a way to make a living. For the Rinker family, it’s a way of life. Starting in the 1930s, dairy farmer Lonnie “L.E.” Rinker started building fishing and racing boats out of his White River workshop. Following soon after, John and Jan Rinker would spend all week tinkering on boat designs and all weekend collecting racing trophies. Their success on the water led to the nickname, “The Racing Rinkers.” What started as a small hobby quickly blossomed into a flourishing side business. As fast as they could build them, friends, neighbors and family would buy them. Word spread and the Rinker brand was born.

Collage of boat pics

The Pastime Turns Into Profession

In 1945, L.E. Rinker turned his family passion into a profession. The family’s first racing brand, Famous Craft, was born and quickly became known for speed, performance and for winning trophies on the water. As the family expanded operations beyond their backyard, the Rinker name likewise grew synonymous with high quality watercraft.

Collage of boat pics from the '50s

On the Cutting Edge With Famous Craft

After serving in the Korean War, John Rinker and his wife Beverly moved to Goshen, Indiana to join his parents who were still busy building boats. John continued racing and building the Famous Craft line of boats with his father and brother, Jan. Eventually, they changed the name of the business to Rinkerbuilt. The family brought innovative new features to the maritime industry and were among the first companies to introduce fiberglass into their manufacturing process. Multiple innovations followed in this era including multiple gel coat colors and back-to-back seating.

Collage of boat pics from the '60s

Rinkerbuilt Sails Onto The World Stage

As the available technology improved, so too did the availability of Rinkerbuilt boats. International demand skyrocketed and what was once a small hobby exploded onto the world stage. The performance, speed and reliability of Rinkerbuilt fiberglass hulls became well-known around the world.

Collage of boat pics from the '70s

Pioneering Breakthroughs & Continued Expansion

Throughout the 1970s, Rinker rolled out new runabout designs up to 20 feet in length. With a continued dedication to pioneering, the family introduced new tri-hulls to the market and inboard-outboard models. Rinkerbuilt’s 15’ and 17’ tri-hulls were some of the most popular boats of the 1970s.

Collage of boat pics from the '80s

The New Rinker

In the 1980’s, available boating technology continued to expand and so too did the Rinker family's dedication to innovation. The family re-branded as Rinker Boats and introduced a new logo along with new boat designs focused on multi-purpose cruising. The first Rinker cruisers were introduced during this period along with the highly popular Fiesta Vee.

Collage of boat pics from the '90s

Focused on Exhilarating Performance

During this period, John continued to expand the legacy of the Rinker brand and family. He raced, designed and built innovative boats that met the needs of a wide array of passionate boaters. 1995 marked the 50-year anniversary of Rinker Boats – and this historic moment was met with continued ingenuity. This included the introduction of big-block motors, fiberglass tri-hull pontoon “Flotillas”, and some of the most popular express cruisers worldwide. The company had grown from small family business to major employer in the Syracuse area. The Captiva line continued to be a bestseller worldwide.


New Leadership & Continued Innovation

In the early 2000s, John Rinker retired from the boat industry. His legacy of building the finest boats on the water lived on. The team at Rinker stayed extremely busy with a high level of demand and production throughout the early 2000s. A full 47 models were released in this decade alone. Iconic Rinker models from this era include the Captiva 232BR, 226BR and 246BR.

Pic of Rinker boat on the water

An Eye on The Boating Horizon

There have been dozens of exciting changes at Rinker in the past few years. Fresh and innovative hull designs, high-quality upholstery, big interior design upgrades and additional motor options are just the beginning. Rinker Boats was recently acquired by Polaris, a Fortune 500 motorsports giant, to fuel its path towards innovation. With a mix of industry veterans working alongside a fresh design team and software engineers, we are confident that Rinker is stronger than ever. We are committed to crafting boats that are both the highest quality and ahead of their time in the marine industry.