Burger Boat Company builds yachts from its Manitowoc, Wisconsin shipyard. In 1863, Henry Burger started producing 20-30 foot Mackinaw fishing boats for local use. Today, Burger Boat Company designs and manufactures custom motor yachts with a mix of traditional and contemporary designs. In years long past, steel was used to construct Burger's yachts, but now aluminum is the choice.
Burger is the originator of the flush-deck cruiser, and incorporates this design into many of their modern yachts. The size of Burger yachts falls between 82 feet and 165 feet in length. Burger has also developed the Automatic Managed Power System, using equipment from several manufacturers together with a programmable logic device to consistently deliver electrical power. Servicing the needs of customers is important to Burger – the company produced the largest motor yacht with complete wheelchair accessibility.
The Burger Boat Company story began in 1846, when Simon and Margaretta Braubuger left their home in Homberg-Ober-Erlinbach, Deutschland and immigrated to the United States with their five children. The ocean crossing had a pronounced influence on their youngest child, Henry. Upon arriving in the New World, the family shortened their name to Burger and established a home in Jeffersonville, New York. The upper Midwest, particularly Wisconsin, had become a desired destination for many German European’s as the region was similar in climate to the topography of the Old World.
In 1856, the Burger family relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where the young Henry honed his skills by working as a shipbuilder at Milwaukee’s Wolf & Davidson shipyard. By 1863, Henry Burger began building his own fishing boats. His expertise for building became well known around the great lakes. By 1900, the Burger name appeared on about 100 vessels.
Throughout the 1900’s, Burger continued to prosper, but entering into the 1980’s, economics and difficult business times played a role in Burger being sold to a customer, John McMillian who took Burger through some of it’s most prosperous years, a period between 1985 and 1990, when nearly 47% of all yachts sold over 80’ in the United States were built by Burger. McMillian tried to relocate Burger to Florida, but was met with resistance and opted to sell Burger to United Shipbuilders, who was looking to expand it’s diminishing military contracts into the pleasure boating market, buy acquiring Burger and Striker Yachts. The loss of more military contracts resulted in an abrupt halt of their operations. By 1990, the closing of Burger was ordered.
Some 160 skilled workers banded together to form the “Former Burger Worker’s” group, dedicated to staying in touch with past employees. In the early 1990’s, recognizing the commitment and skills of Burger’s many workers, David Ross and friend Jim Ruffolo, entered the picture and began to lay the ground work for the resurrection of Burger and its return to building yachts. By 1993, Burger was re-opened, some 26 months after it had been closed.
By 1994, Burger introduced the 91’ “Windrush” at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show and it was met with great acclaim, resulting in 3 new build contracts. Since the re-birth of Burger and under Ross’s guidance, Burger has launched 26 vessels by the end of 2004, once again establishing the illustrious Burger Boat Company name.