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BoatWorks & Chandlery

A one-stop solution for all your service, repair and refit needs

Again, you ask and we deliver! Extending our reputation for craftsmanship, we provide custom services not only for Willy boats, but for boats of all specifications. Whether you need restoration or refurbishment, repair or updating, modification or remodeling, preventive maintenance or a requirement for marine-related products, our artisan crew is your complete boatworks source. We also provide a full range of design, tooling and fabrication services. Only here will you experience our Willy trademark pride, care and attention to the finest details. We are pleased to offer our boatworks, including:

Boat Yard Services

Providing a secure and accessible space for boat storage and larger-scale work.

Mechanical & Electrical Systems

Specialized in handling complex mechanical and electrical systems for optimum performance.

Detailing Services

Expert detailing to ensure your boat looks and feels as good as new.

Woodwork & Canvas

Skilled craftsmanship in woodwork and canvas work, combining traditional techniques with modern precision.

Shipping & Delivery

Reliable and efficient shipping and delivery services, ensuring your boat reaches you wherever you are.


Explore our selection of brand-name parts and marine products designed to preserve your vessel’s value, function and beauty.


Your questions answered. Discover more about our services, processes and how we can assist in your boating experience.

William “Willy” Henry Roberts began building his legendary wooden flats skiffs, affectionately known as “Willy Boats,” in 1959. Crafter of the original poling skiff, these timeless creations and their venerable design would revolutionize the world of sport fishing and become the boat of choice for professional guides throughout the Florida Keys and beyond.

Our shop is located in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

There are a number of ways. Visitors are always welcome at our shop. There, you are invited to go over our different models, as well as explore our on-site retail store containing Willy Roberts merchandise and nautical lifestyle offerings from across the globe. We also exhibit at the Palm Beach International Boat Show annually, as well as occasional smaller shows in the Southeast. We may also be able to arrange a showing in your local area.

Yes, substantially all are custom builds. We do keep a couple of boats available for personalization and customization to a new owner’s parameters.

As many as we sell. A small deposit will ensure your place on our build position wait list.

No, we sell directly to our owners. Our experience is that this facilitates communication and also allows us to ensure that your custom build is perfect for you.

Of course, our heritage was born as a wooden boat. In 1978, Mr. Roberts saw the future of fiberglass and began converting an existing hull to a plug. The process of making all of the necessary plugs and molds required for a complete boat took almost one year to make ready for a build. The first foam sandwich fiberglass Willy boat was completed in May 1979.

Mr. Roberts would continue to build a wooden boat on request. The last such skiff was completed in February 1988. Today, all of our boats are of composite materials construction.

We craft our boats in a 100% Divinycell foam cored, Kevlar rubrail-to-rubrail (carbon fiber available), Coosa Bluewater 32 at stress points, vinylester resin construction. We do use composites and/or wood for our top-side trims, including teak, mahogany, sapele or any other owner-specified hardwood.

Two very important areas of concern for the avid shallow-water angler. Our boats consistently draft around 6” with virtually no hull slap. Frankly, we’re not sure what the makers of the “technical” skiffs claim, as we solely are focused on crafting our boats to what truly is the pinnacle of the craft. 

No, and we won’t hold that against those building such watercraft. Our boats provide substantially the same fishability with consummate world-class quality and distinction. As a note, our boats are also extremely dry in the roughest of conditions and, pound-for-pound feature-for-feature, are among the lightest in the boating industry.

Feedback from anglers of all backgrounds and skill sets indicates that our boats have a straightforward nature which greatly facilitates and improves maneuverability when poling.

If you like the romance of fishing the flats, being the owner of a historic legacy boat, having a sun and fun day at the sandbar or just cruising in style, then a Willy boat is right for you.

In the early 1040s, Mr. Roberts was employed by the Miami Shipbuilding Co. helping build PT and rescue boats for the U.S. Navy and Army Air Force. He would soon enlist in the Navy. Following his Naval service during WWII, Mr. Roberts—the son and grandson of Bahamian boat builders—had begun building boats on his own, including a small fishing runabout he called the “Fisherman,” for some years in the Miami area.

In April 1959, he moved his family and fledgling small business to Islamorada, Florida. The sport fishing universe and, in particular, the world of what now is known as shallow-water angling, would never be the same.

Construction of the very first flats boat to exist began in late 1959 into early 1960 and was delivered on June 24, 1960. Based on the Fisherman, this new “Bonefish” model, which he commonly referred to as a backcountry skiff, was built for Capt. Reggie Roberts (unrelated) who was a personal childhood friend of Mr. Roberts’ father. Hull #1 was a wooden boat, 16’x6’3”, framing of Philippine mahogany with 3/8-inch marine planking and monel-nailed using powered Weldwood glue. She sold unpainted for $293.35. Interestingly, less than three months later, Hurricane Donna caused damage to the hull which cost $127.00 to repair.

Yes, we believe this is a reasonable thought. Willy’s boats themselves have obviously experienced decades of improvement and evolution, which present as our current offerings.

You can count on spending at least an extra 30 minutes as people admire and want to chat about your boat. Same for the dinner cruise, where the Willy may not be the largest boat tied up at the dock, but surely is the most beautiful.

Most definitely. We have a close relationship and strong connection with the family and they with us. We cherish this friendship and thank them for the many irreplaceable items they have gifted us through the years, from Mr. Roberts’ tools, logs, memoirs and so much more. It is with the utmost respect and honor that we feel entrusted to carry the name forward.

Willy’s friends

Fond recollections

Discover the stories that make Willy Roberts Boats more than just a brand.
A Tribute to Willy Roberts Flats Boats from Member Florida House of Representatives
A Tribute – Willy Roberts Flats Boats
WHEREAS, William Henry “Willy” Roberts was born in Key West in 1914, and
Willy Boats to congregate on island
ISLAMORADA — The late William Henry Roberts is credited by many avid Florida Bay anglers as having developed the flats…
As featured in Garden & Gun
The granddaddy of the modern technical poling skiff is still a serious contender on the flats—and a serious head turner.…