The Seaway Legacy

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Bob Stapp, the Craftsman and his Boats

California’s love affair with the water extends to a rich history of boatbuilding.

Bob Stapp was a key figure in that story as the founder of Seaway Boat Company in Long Beach, California.

A Southern California Icon

Stapp’s Seaway Boat Company thrived from the 1960s to 2006, leaving behind a legacy of dependable and well-crafted vessels.  When it closed in 2006, Seaway was one of the last remaining West Coast wooden boat builders.

Long Beach Fire was lucky enough to get the last two boats built by Stapp. In fact, the city of Long Beach still operates six 32-foot Seaway lifeguard boats. Cities and counties all over the West Coast are still using Seaway boats to this day.

Long Beach Rescue Boat

A Standard of the Sportfishing Fleet

Seaway boats are built for work. Heavy duty, tough, functional.  Lifeguard, rescue, fire, and fishing! Oh, they are fishy. Perhaps that functionality, durability and fishability stemmed from the fact that Bob Stapp served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and was also a fisherman.

You can read an account of a great calico bass catching adventure on his boat “Jig Strike” (not the one currently in San Diego) posted by Western Outdoor News.

Have you fished on one (or many) of the examples still fishing our coastal waters?

While many of these wood-hulled masterpieces have withstood the test of time (with plenty of regular maintenance) some have been claimed by the sea.


The Champ was destroyed after running aground near Magdalena Bay.  You can see the sad photos and read the firsthand account of what happened here:  In Search of Adventure: Anglers Journal

Aztec Sportfishing - San Diego, CA
Aztec. A classic Seaway design still going strong.

The end of an era

Seaway Boats closed in 2006 when Bob Stapp retired.  He is a true Southern California boating legend.

Robert Gordon “Bob” Stapp, 91, died Aug. 14, 2023 in San Pedro, but his work lives on.  You can read more about his life and accomplishments in this memorial posted by The Log.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.