New Owners Upgrade “Tuffy Boats” and Fish

By: DavidPage

Scott Dufrane, left, stated that he and Jessie sold everything they owned to buy Tuffy Boats in 2018. Since then, company sales have chevy truck legends increased and new models are in development.

  • Tuffy fishing boats are being upgraded by new owners
  • A small company in New London aims to be a top seller within five years

Tuffy Boats is a well-known company that produces affordable fiberglass fishing boats. Scott Dufrane, a Tuffy brand ambassador, took control of the business in spring 2018.

Dufrane has been a Tuffy Boats enthusiast for many years. Dufrane has been a Tuffy Boats fan since 1989, when he participated in tournaments and was able to test the boats. He and Jessie, his wife, got involved.

He said, “My wife and me sold everything we owned to buy this company.” It was the right choice. People are passionate about the Tuffy brand and had a great following. It reached the point that it was profitable for me to make my own money.

Tuffy Boats are 25 percent cheaper than Onslow Bay Boats similar boats, which is ironic because it puts them within reach of more fishermen. Dufrane altered the manufacturing process to produce the boats at one location, 611 E. Beckert Road, New London. “The boats are manufactured 100 percent in one facility. We do not outsource any specific pieces and we have on-site control.”

The team and he spent the first half of the year focusing on improving and refining the boats. They had nine models when they purchased the company. After reviewing trends and sales, they reduced that number to five. Dufrane stated, “It’s not feasible or economically smart to make something that we sell every three years.”

Tuffy Boats typically has between three and four boats under construction at once with eight full-time employees. The company does not have a shortage of pokers, from new models to completely new models. There is also an anticipated plan to enter bass-boat markets with a 20-foot bassboat this summer.

He said, “We are working to make a good thing even better.” “We didn’t make a lot of changes on the hulls of most boats. We focused more on the inside of the boat.”

Some of the boats were put in the manufacturing queue by the Tuffy Guide Pro team. A pro fishing guide chooses a boat and a customer selects the colors and the details. The fishing guide then uses the boat for one season before the customer purchases it. Dufrane said, “It’s a nice arrangement since their boat is sold walmart kid motorcycles¬†before the customer even steps foot on it.”

Fish tournaments are also a great opportunity to advertise for Tuffy boats by semi-pro/pro fishermen.

He is seeing Tuffy boat owners return to the fold and people who once said they wouldn’t buy one now look at them and say, “Wow!”