Merritt Yachts have been a much-loved fixture of the Florida sportfishing community since the company’s founding in 1948. Still owned by the Merritt family today, the firm builds a range of market-leading fishing yachts ideal for chasing large marlin and the elusive blue fin tuna out of a shipyard in Pompano Beach, Florida.
Boat building has been a family passion for the Merritt’s for over a century and began in the naval shipyards of Virginia where the first Merritt to enter the industry began to work on vessels for the First World War effort. By the 1930s the family were building their own private fishing boats, strictly for personal use, before Franklin and Ennis Merritt decided to launch Merritt Yachts in 1948. The firm set up a boat maintenance yard in Pompano Beach, Florida, still home to their headquarters to this day, but by the 1950s were building their own boats for local clients. The first models produced by Merritt were built with one thing in mind: tuna fishing. Inspired by the seafaring literary works of Ernest Hemingway, who sparked off a 1950s big fish craze, the company built sportfishing yachts that Papa himself would’ve admired. These rustic vessels lacked many of the modern amenities now taken for granted, yet they were crafted with a degree of precision engineering, not to mention love, that soon attracted a loyal following. In fact, these initial 37-foot yachts were so well built that almost all of them are still in active service to this day – a testament to the craftsmanship and longevity of Merritt Yachts.
In 1955 sons Buddy and Allen Merritt joined the firm, and with their input Merritt boats began to be recognized as some of the best sportfishing yachts in the world. In the late 1960s Merritt shifted production from framed to cold molded hull construction, allowing the firm to build larger vessels such as the Merritt 43. These 42-foot yachts rocketed Merritt to international acclaim after they were piloted to numerous fishing tournament victories and used to land record breaking catches.
The Caliban, built in 1968, was captained by Allen Merritt to an unprecedented 7 Cat Cay Tuna Tournament wins, and was also used to catch a 1,282-pound Marlin in 1977, at the time an Atlantic Ocean record. The No Problem, launched in 1975, broke the world record for the largest volume white marlin catch in a single day, and was also the first yacht in the world to feature innovative “Rocket Launcher” rod holders, now an industry standard. The Cookie Too, one of the last Merritt 43s to be built in the early 1980s, was even owned by Johnny Morris, better known in fishing circles as owner of the iconic Bass Pro Shops brand. County music fans, meanwhile, may have recognized a Merritt boat gliding across the waters in the music video for Alan Jackson’s hit song “Five O’Clock Somewhere”.
Today the firm builds sportfishing yachts up to 86 feet in length boasting luxurious amenities and stylish interior and exterior designs. Yet Merritt have never wavered from their commitment to delivering the finest fishing yachts to their customers. The firm are well known for pioneering industry innovations such as mezzanine decks, fibreglass bucket harnesses, composite glass and core hulls, and straight sheers that have since been adopted by boat builders around the world. And their boats are still highly regarded today for their sports-car performance, that unique combination of speed and agility that allows Merritt yachts to easily outperform boats from rival yards.
Despite the immense success that the firm has enjoyed over the years, Merritt is still a family-owned company to this day. Visitors to their Florida shipyard speak of its friendly “Mom-and-Pop” atmosphere, and the firm’s customer aftercare is known to be the best in the business. Since the company began building fishing yachts in the 1950s, they have launched well over 100 vessels, and it appears they have no plans to slow down any time soon.
Merritt 72 Sportfish
A sleek model in a traditional style, the 72 Sportfish is a truly tournament-worthy yacht. Twin MTU engines deliver high performance energy with cruising speeds of 30 knots, while a hydraulic steering system offers unparalleled manoeuvrability on the turn. Flybridge includes two Furuno radars, a Simrad autopilot system, night-vision and Garmin GPS monitors, while aft deck boasts 3 fish boxes, 2 baitwells, rod storage and everything else the competitive angler needs to stay ahead of the competition. Interior space is large enough for a fully stocked dinette, U-shaped sofas and two spacious, elegant staterooms.
Merritt 37 Sportfisherman
A vintage model still in good seafaring condition today, the 37 Sportfisherman has remained enduringly popular ever since it was first introduced in the 1950s. In fact these models tend to be snapped up almost immediately whenever one is put on the market. The vessels are built with wooden vee-hulls utilizing Alaskan cedar and mahogany frames, while deck space is open and spacious enough to land your prize catches. A semi-enclosed cockpit is topped with a flybridge and tuna tower, while refurbished 37s are stocked with plenty of practical storage space.
Merritt 86 Sportfish
The newest and biggest yacht model to emerge from the Merritt shipyard, the Merritt 86 delivers on both performance and size. A superb option for the experienced sportfisher, this model is topped with a stunning Jack Hopewell tuna tower, features a climate-controlled mezzanine and boasts a spacious aft deck equipped with a Bluewater fishing chair and rocket launchers. Twin diesel engines fire the yacht to a top speed of 38 knots, while at cruising speeds it can cover a range of 1,700 nautical miles. Internally connected oil tanks in the engine room ensure that this yacht can stay afloat for weeks on end without needing to dock for refills. Interiors feature satin-finished teak cladding and floors, and there is room for up to 6 guests and crew across 3 below-deck staterooms.
How to Buy a Merritt Yacht
If you’re interested in purchasing a Merritt yacht, a Staten Island Yacht Sales professional can assist you in your buying needs. All employees are trained to identify as many ways as possible to improve your experience when purchasing a Merritt yacht. As a 100-percent customer-driven business, SI Yachts delivers every time.
How to Sell Your Merritt Yacht
Staten Island Yacht Sales has the experience and the product knowledge to sell your Merritt yacht. Selecting the right full-service brokerage firm when selling your yacht improves the likelihood of a seamless and timely transaction. Listing your Merritt with SI Yachts, you can be certain it is in the hands of dedicated professionals. Over 50 years in business, our devoted Sales Professionals work attentively to provide you with first class representation.