Classic Northwest Fishing Machine, the Hi-Laker
A large number of boat builders have come and gone in the Northwest and some of them, like Hi-Laker, left behind some pretty enthusiastic supporters. Northwest Yachting and nwyachting.com reader Steve Hurt is on the prowl for more information on Hi-Laker boats, and he’d love to hear whatever tidbits you might have, or the whereabouts of other Hi-Lakers. You can share tidbits below in the comments section or email them to us and we’ll pass them along. This does seem like a very practical fishing machine.
By Steve Hurt
As they say every boat has a story and I remember in the early 80’s standing on the Eddie Vine boat launch in Ballard talking with several owners of the then very popular boat Hi-Laker. This boat is a fiberglass boat with lapstrake appearing sides and has lots of freeboard and is very stable on the water. Over the years I often recalled this boat in my thoughts, and when I retired in 2014 from a medical facility here in Seattle, I located and purchased one of these classic Northwest Hi-Laker boats.
From heraldnet.com, time travels 1989 there’s a short article as follows: In, Monroe, Washington just west of the fairground, across both Highway 2 and the Burlington Northern tracks, they were making boats – fishing boats mostly, with a few sailboats and an occasional rowboat. Out of the high ceiling manufacturing plant of family owned Janco Plastics came Hi-Laker boats.
Mark Weiss shared in a forum on Gamefish.com that his father, David S. Weiss was owner of the PlastOlite and later Trailerdyne, Inc. Beverton, Oregon. Mark remembers his father’s primary business was manufacturing plastic panel. He was close to Harvey Marine in Forest Grove, Oregon, and with some tips from them, he manufactured the boats for about 3 years. He eventually sold the molds and the equipment and I never heard who he sold it to. This venture was one step closer to the eventual success he would have in business that would have us selling to Bayliner and other manufacturers in and around the Puget Sound area.
From Polk’s City Directory for Seattle: Nelson Plastic started out in 1959 as Marine Fiber Glass & Plastic at the home of the founder Hans F. Nelson. In 1965 the name changed to Nelson Plastic., Hans F. Nelson, President, Mrs. Ruth M. Nelson, Secretary Treasurer, 811 Northwest 47th Seattle. From 1966 to 1983 the business was located at 2901 West Commodore Way (Magnolia near the fish ladder). In 1983 the business was evidently sold to James Rood (President) and Frank Schiedel (Vice President).
I would appreciate your readers’ help with this. I have a 1979 Hi-Laker which I’ll be showing in the Classic Boat Show this summer and hoping to have as much information on it as possible.