Correct Craft, Inc., based in Orlando, manufacturer of the world-famous Nautique brand of water ski and wakeboarding boats, is preparing to launch a major celebration as it enters model year 2000 with its 75th Anniversary.
Coming off the eve of major industry recognition - the company claimed the Innovation of the Year Award from Boating Writers
International - Correct Craft has proven its continued reputation within the markets it serves. At IMTEC 1999, Correct Craft was presented a coveted distinction for its Total Wake Control Hull featured on the all-new Pro Air model; the first dedicated designed boat for the fast-growing sport of wakeboarding.
Throughout its rich history and tradition, the company has maintained a consistent leadership role. In 1961, it introduced the world's first tournament
inboard ski boat, which led to the development of an entire industry segment. Over the years, the company has debuted many design "firsts" including the premiere of a center-mounted tow pylon, tracking fins on the hull, safety rearview mirror and cruise control.
In 1997, the company launched the world's first tournament inboard wakeboard boat, followed by the first flight control tower, built-in ballast tanks and the newest innovation in the total wake control hull. It is one of the first companies to offer a national leasing program.
From the outset, Correct Craft was destined for success, as its ownership not only had the faith, but was also willing to invest in the manpower and put forth the commitment to get the job done. As far as company officials can ascertain, Correct Craft is the oldest family-owned and operated boat manufacturer in the world. Over the years, the company has manufactured a variety of vessels, from motorized toboggans, runabouts, luxury cabin cruisers, offshore fishing boats, bass boats, and of course, the legendary Nautique
ski and wakeboard boats.
During World War II, the company established a name and reputation for itself as part of American history. There came a critical juncture when General Patton's forces were running out of ammunition and supplies faster than expected. To deliver the supplies required a crossing of the Rhine River, which would require 600 storm boats. A delay would potentially result in the loss of thousands of human lives.
On February 9, 1945, Correct Craft and other marine manufacturers, were asked if they could act as suppliers. Walter C. Meloon was running the company at the time and after conducting a management meeting to address the nation's needs, a decision was made to support the effort.
In 15 days, Correct Craft miraculously produced 300 storm boats, versus their normal production schedule of 48. When asked how the company was able to deliver according to plan - and beat the deadline by three days - Meloon gave divine inspiration the credit, along with hard work by his dedicated team, which increased ten-fold and worked around the clock in order to get the job done.
That same high level of commitment continues to serve as the hallmark of Correct Craft today. Walter N. Meloon stands at the helm, while both original founders, Walter O. and Ralph, continue active involvement in the company. Walter O. is the treasurer/secretary of the company, and Ralph C. is the chairman. In fact, Ralph is still active in the company, as he spends a great deal of time traveling abroad and logging approximately 100,000 miles annually visiting Correct Craft dealers around the world.
Ralph and Correct Craft have introduced tournament water skiing to 22 countries of the world and have been responsible in many nations for supporting - and in some instances, establishing - competitive skiing programs.
Correct Craft has produced approximately 175,000 boats in its corporate lifetime and presently offers eight models in its ski and wakeboard boat line. The company employs 230 people, and its factory has occupied the same 10 acres for the past 74 years. As the company continues to keep pace with its growth, it anticipates a major product expansion program in the near future.