About Us

Welcome to Bluewater

The Bluewater Mission

For over fifty five years, a single goal has steered our company: To build one of the most stable luxury yachts on big water. It's evident in everything we do, from our founder's vision to the beautiful details of our craftsmanship.

Bluewater is located in Mora, Minnesota. And with good reason. This small, Midwestern community embraces the long-lost ideal of this old-world attitude with the cutting edge technology needed to build each Bluewater yacht.

When you choose a Bluewater, you're joining a select group of discerning owners. People who appreciate our sleek, distinctive design. Who seek to express themselves in a unique way. And who want to celebrate the successes of their lives. You're actually joining the Bluewater family. It's not a cliché. It's the way we do business.

"Different By Design" Defined

Bluewater yachts are truly different. One look at our low, stream-lined design makes that apparent. Our yachts are designed to be more stable, easier to captain and provide more usable space than others on the market. From the moment you take the wheel of a Bluewater, you'll fall in love with its ease of maneuverability. You'll also appreciate that it's as luxurious as a second home that just happens to be sea-worthy.

Compare a custom-designed Bluewater to any mass-produced luxury yacht and you'll understand why "Different by Design" makes Bluewater so right for you.

Different By Design

• Unmatched Stability
• Better Performance
• Built Tough To Take It
• Smoother Ride
• Incomparable Responsiveness
• Worry-free Exploration
• Convenient Controls
• One-level Living
• Plenty of Storage
• Easy Entry
• Custom Designed Luxury
• Better Value
• Factory Direct
 
About Bluewater

An Unconventional Yacht

While numerous companies have copied Bluewater Yachts' innovations over the years, there isn't another yacht on the market like a Bluewater. And we are different by design. Safety in luxury is our goal, and we believe that we are the safest mid-sized motor yacht on the market. Our streamlined design is sleek and sexy (we haven't been called a "babe magnet" by the press for nothing). Our attention to detail and old-world craftsmanship is rooted in times past. And our innovation in engineering and technology is cutting edge.
 
The legacy of our founder, Jim Klapmeier, was his scrutiny of the boating industry. He surveyed an industry saturated with sportfishing boats, high-performance boats, sailing boats and family runabouts. Yet there was one segment where the industry was literally missing the boat. Successful, motivated, self-starting men and women who were interested in piloting a pleasure cruising boat themselves without a crew were searching for a boat in which they could be confident in all weather conditions. They wanted a boat that would be easy to handle at sea, yet would also be able to be nosed up on a sandy beach. They wanted a boat with luxurious décor and furnishings that would make them feel at home and make entertaining guests effortless. The trouble was, traditional yachts couldn't give them what they wanted.

To build a boat superior in design and safety, Bluewater did a thorough investigation of existing yachts. The biggest problem, they discovered, was that most boats have too much freeboard (the distance between the water line and the uppermost full deck). As a result, the center of gravity is very high, which accounts for difficult handling in rough water, especially for new or inexperienced boaters.

The most stable boat designs with less freeboard and a center of gravity closer to the water were inflatables, racing boats and sailboats. The big question was: How could you attain this same level of stability in a large motoryacht? The answer: Move the engine.

In conventional yachts, living space is usually built up over the engine room. This raises the center of gravity, requires steps going up and down into front and rear areas, and dedicates about one-fourth of the boat's square footage to the engine room.

The Bluewater design team decided to break the rules. They moved the engine from the center to the outward extremities of the boat, reduced the space required for the engine, yet kept the power plant serviceable. By using smaller compartments and the finest sound deadening materials, engine noise was reduced so much, the low decibel reading in the salon quickly became the talk of the industry.

The Bluewater team wanted their new boat to be able to be operated safely in the ocean under all weather conditions, even by a novice boater. When moving downwind, most yachts tend to broach, or veer broadside in the wind and waves. The nose ends up submerged, the front deck becomes a planing surface, and suddenly the rear of the boat is out of the water, often with disastrous results.

In their design, the Bluewater team intentionally made the front of the boat wide and beamy to minimize broaching. When downward forces are exerted, the bow lifts, keeping the front deck from operating as a plane and keeping the propellers in the water where they belong. In test after test, the Bluewater design has proven superior to the hull design of traditional yachts.

A Bluewater yacht is not meant to be an ocean racer, but a smooth running boat that performs exceedingly well, and safe when one is unexpectedly caught in even rougher conditions. A Bluewater yacht cuts through and planes on top of the water. It has an excellent horsepower to speed rating for a boat of this size.

We are not the yacht for someone who wants to look like everybody else. We are the critical thinking person's yacht-someone who understands the nature of the sea enough to look beyond conventional styles and appreciate an unconventional design which makes more sense.

Value

With a Bluewater, you get a lot of boat for the money. Standard features usually available only in yachts which are much larger and much more costly. Full-size, quality appliances. Superior craftsmanship and custom design more often available in boats 100 feet and up.

And Bluewater's resale value is among the highest in the industry; they tend to hold their value and often even appreciate in value. Why does a Bluewater hold its value? A Bluewater is quality built to last. And with its innovative designs and technology which lead the industry, Bluewater's hold on "the cutting edge" endures further into the future than most of our competitor's boats.

History of Innovation

Bluewater Yachts will recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Over the years, Bluewater has undergone many changes. Its product line has evolved from pontoon boats to houseboats to entry-level yachts to luxury yachts, all at its production facility in Mora, Minnesota. The evolution has also included catamarans, runabouts, and even landing barges for the U.S. Navy.

Today Bluewater does only one thing and it does it extremely well-it builds high quality, entry-level luxury yachts of distinction. Although royalty, celebrities and the wealthy own Bluewater yachts, so do many individuals of modest means.
 
The current design of the Bluewater yacht makes it extremely attractive worldwide. Its 14' beam, 23" draft and low freeboard make it perfect for use domestically on inland lakes and rivers as well as other countries with narrow and shallow canals (e.g. Europe). Its reverse chines, sharp entry bow shape, and low silhouette provide excellent performance in coastal waterways where rougher waters rock the competition.

1950's - The Beginning

Elmer Klapmeier initiated what is now Bluewater Yachts in the early 1950's because of his love of the outdoors and desire to sleep in a bed rather than a bedroll. The first craft he developed was used to transport the sportsman to a base camp many miles by water from a landing in northwestern Ontario. Due to high quality manufacturing, some of these boats are still in service.

Elmer Klapmeier quickly copyrighted the name "Boatel" and brought his newly graduated engineer son into the business on a part-time basis by way of an outing on the craft. Jim Klapmeier became very enthused and brought a friend into a venture named Northernaire Floating Lodges. These entrepreneurs had the idea to rent the Klapmeier-built boats on Rainy Lake on the U.S. and Canadian border. By 1958, the company was renamed "Boatel Company" and Jim joined his father full-time to increase service to Northernaire and offer Boatels throughout the United States.

The 1960's - Domination of Rental Business

By the mid-1960's Boatel's market had expanded throughout North America and the company built a larger facility to serve the growing demand. As buyer sophistication grew, Boatel capitalized on its success by introducing a full hull steel boat with inboard/outboard power rather than outboard power. In 1967, Boatel added a full hull model made of fiberglass.
 
The significant and attractive feature of the Klapmeier design was the shallow draft of just 24 inches. This performance feature allowed the 37-foot craft to operate safely in shallow water and to be beached-a popular feature with inland waterway cruising enthusiasts.

Boatel also capitalized on their welding and boat building expertise by bidding on navy contracts for landing barges.

The 1970's - Transition Into Retail

The continued success of the boats provided an ample international base on which to grow similar but distinct products with appeal to the moneyed yachtperson's desire for more living space than a traditional motor yacht configuration. The result was a highly-demanded line of yachts from 35 to 45 feet in length, which appealed to a niche customer that no other design could satisfy.

Originally offered in the houseboat markets, the target was redefined as intercoastal waterways and larger inland bodies of water in 1973. Despite the oil crisis in 1973 and the rising cost of petroleum-based construction materials and marine fuel, yacht sales of as many as 100 boats per year continued throughout the 1970's. In 1979, the yacht division became so popular it was given its own identity - "Bluewater."

The 1980's - The Bluewater Coastal Cruiser

In 1982, another new boat was debuted. This revolutionary craft incorporated the best features of the Bluewater yacht and the Boatel boat-a merger of the two. The result is a large and luxurious living area but with a shallow draft capability to operate in only 23 inches of water. These boats would be produced up to 51 feet in length and able to cruise at over 30 miles per hour performance unmatched by other cruisers.

The Cruiser's copyrighted "Guardian Power" hull design provides the craft with superior performance capabilities via the reduced angle of the propeller shaft and the protection the semi-conical hull indentations provide to both the propeller and shaft.

The 1990's - Longer Boats

The company's Bluewater Yacht is now produced at lengths up to 70 feet. The product is equipped with copyrighted unique Guardian Power hull design that provides protection for the propeller shaft. The product provides full and comfortable living space for several people, and can be used for both inland and coastal waterways.

The New Millenium - Change in Ownership



The third generation of Klapmeiers is now entering the yacht business. A new corporation, lead by Jim's son, Dr. Steve Klapmeier has purchased Bluewater. The new ownership team includes Steve's wife, attorney Jolie Klapmeier; Steve's cousin, Cirrus Design CEO Alan Klapmeier, and Alan's wife, Sara Dougherty. Cirrus Design has grown to become the largest manufacture of single engine airplanes in the world and is an industry leader and innovator.  Many of the technical advancements and the entrepreneurial spirit are apart of the culture of both companies. Each member brings new expertise to the table in the areas of engineering and design, finance, management and marketing.

Bluewater Innovations

Throughout its history, Bluewater has been one of the leading innovators of medium-size (40-70 feet) boat manufacturing and design-innovations which became the industry standards and were copied throughout the boating world.

A few of Bluewater's Industry Firsts Over the Past Fifty Years:

• Created first commercially sold fishing barges for large lakes (50 passengers or more).
• Created first commercial yacht.
• First to install regular full-size appliances.
• First to create safe method for using propane appliances on board.
• First rental houseboat design-Bluewater controlled 95% of the market until 1980.
• Established first houseboat rental operation in the world in International Falls.
• First one-piece fiberglass hull.
• Invented the molded fiberglass stringer "hat" system for boats.
• First gas powered boat over 50 feet to reach planing speeds.
• Created Guardian Power" prop pockets to protect running gear and increase thrust efficiency.
• New structural design incorporating fiberglass parts and eliminating stringers.
• In 1986, the US Coast Guard approved the 51-foooter as the first fiberglass craft to be certified.
• First to create upper deck entertainment center with sink, refrigerator and wet bar.
• New hull shape with 6 degree dead rise in rear and sharp bow entry to pierce waves
     (several manufacturers attempted to copy design in 2001).
• First to create hydraulic pop-up instrument panel on fly bridge.
• First to install hydraulic pop-up high definition TV system with surround sound.

Bluewater Yachts


The proud and dedicated folks
behind each custom-designed,
custom-built Bluewater luxury yacht.