Human beings have used the water for transportation, production and leisure for several millennia. But it was only at the dawn of the 20th century that leisure boating as we know it truly began to take shape.

Let’s take a look at some of the key moments in boating history that forever changed the way we have fun on the water.

1. Gottlieb Daimler invents the petrol engine; puts it in a boat.

It was renowned German industrialist inventor Gottlieb Daimler who invented the petrol engine, and had the ingenuity to put it not only in (very fast) carriages, but also boats. Here he is riding it down the Neckar River in Germany – little did he know what he had started.
While it may not look like much, this motorized boat was a monumental achievement in boating history. (source)

2. The first motorboating race takes place: The Harmsworth Cup.

The Harmsworth Cup was the first boating race of its kind, held near Cork, Ireland. While the first race was characterized as much by failed starts as it was by racing on water, it was the first race of its kind anywhere in the world. In subsequent years, the international attention on the race would grow considerably.

Not exactly a Crownline, Scolopendra was one of three boats from the first Harmsworth Cup, and is still around today. (source)


3. John L. Hacker shatters speed records with the 1911 Kitty Hawk.

Hacker was a genius American inventor who rubbed shoulders with the Wright brothers. His successful invention of the V-hull allowed him to build the first boats to exceed 50 miles per hour, making them far and away the fastest boats in the world.

The Kitty Hawk was the first of many. The Kitty Hawk dominated the waters in its day, traveling at speeds over 50 MPH. (source)


4. The modern sterndrive is invented, and leisure boating as we know it is born.

The sterndrive – a unique combination of inboard power and outboard drive – was pioneered in the 1950s, thanks to the ingenuity of engineer James Wynne. The 1959 Volvo Penta, which used this revolutionary new “Aquamatic” engine, would set the trajectory for how people would relax on water. Today, the majority of leisure boats around the world use this sterndrive technology.

The 1959 Volvo Penta. Food, drink, friends, family – now that’s more like it! (source)


5.  Fast Forward to 2017….

Crownline E30

We’ve come a long way, baby.

Boating has evolved a lot in the last hundred years. What does 2018 have to offer? We’re proud to bring you the brand new E23, E25, E27, E30 & E23XS with standard features like our F.A.S.T. Tab hull design, Kicker audio systems and GPS touch screen dashboard, among others.  Because even though there’s only one Kitty Hawk, there’s no reason we can’t all have a ball on the water.