Dewey’s Cook Inlet: Alaska’s Largest Marine Dealer
Story by Troy Buzalsky
Even though it was more than 40 years ago, I remember it like yesterday, sitting in my Junior High economics class under the watchful tutelage of Mr. Roscoe Cole. He was a crusty old fart, certainly war era in age and appearance, sporting a high-and-tight, gray flattop haircut guaranteed to intimidate any smart-mouthed teen…In other words, when Mr. Cole spoke, we listened. I will never forget when he so simply said, “Economics is all about supply and demand.” Of course, that seems obvious today, but at the time it was like the light bulb turned on, and those words stand true today, whether we’re talking about gas prices, food prices, or the price of that new (or used) boat for which you’ve been yearning.
When the pandemic hit, it pulverized the world’s economic framework, disrupting the supply chain while placing unique pressures on the demand side of the equation. The outdoor recreational market, specifically the marine sector, witnessed a 12% demand growth for new boats and accessories according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), which represents North American recreational boat, marine-accessory, and engine manufacturers. In fact, post-pandemic boat sales across the United States are expected to remain at historic levels as producers continue to fill a large backlog of orders. Mr. Cole’s words of wisdom could not ring truer.
When it comes to dealing with boats and accessories, sometimes selecting the quantitatively largest marine dealer is a no-brainer…and here’s where Dewey’s Cook Inlet, Alaska’s largest marine dealer, shines. Hailing from Anchorage, Alaska, and focusing ONLY on the marine industry, Dewey’s Cook Inlet is a true community asset for the boating enthusiast, with a loyal following.
Dewey’s Cook Inlet is not a new name in the marine marketplace, opening their doors in 1964 selling inflatables, sailboats, and outboards. Since its inception, Dewey’s has worked hard, grown, and persevered, living by their creed: “Your One-Stop Marine Store where quality just costs less.”
As mentioned, Dewey’s is marine only, making them experts in the marine marketplace while offering the highest quality product and the best service possible. They don’t take their eyes off the target trying to sell snowmachines or side-by-sides. Their focus is 100% marine, and when it comes to supply and demand, it pays dividends to be singularly focused.
To keep up on their reputation as your one-stop marine store, Dewey’s sells and services Hewescraft, Duckworth, Smokercraft, SeaArk, Lund, RH Aluminum, and G3 boats. Plus, they sell Yamaha outboard motors exclusively as well as EZ Loader Trailers. They also maintain a large inventory of boats in their storage yard and a huge marine-accessory inventory. Look them up at deweysmarine.com.
The SeaArk Jon Boat series is a very versatile boat for Alaska outdoor enthusiasts. Whether fishing, duck or moose hunting, or hauling equipment and supplies, SeaArk Boats are a staple for the Alaskan frontier. The boat pictured showcases optional walk-through windshield and console seat, collapsible soft top, and 150 HP Yamaha outboard. © Dewey’s Cook Inlet
SeaArk is no newcomer in the boating industry, emerging in 1958 as a pioneer in the all-welded aluminum boating world. In 1992 the family-owned company became SeaArk Boats, concentrating on all-welded aluminum jon boats, and in 2016 joined the Correct Craft team.
Made in Arkansas, SeaArk is known as a “Boat Built for a Lifetime,” but perhaps “Made for Alaska” should be their slogan as they continue to satisfy the boating enthusiasts in the Last Frontier. And yes, the “Ark” in SeaArk is for Arkansas, not Noah’s Ark!
Serving up ten differing hull designs of SeaArk Boats, there is no Alaskan in-shore water in which SeaArk isn’t perfectly at home and SeaArk maintains a national dealer network that includes Alaska’s Dewey’s Cook Inlet. Due to the popularity, Dewey’s always maintains a supply of SeaArk boats on hand.
The SeaArk Jon Series are industrial in style and performance, and can be ordered in various colors including beige, olive drab, sharkskin, tan, and four styles of camouflage. © SeaArk Boats
Having more than 60-plus years of experience in boat building, SeaArk Boats offer their customer a semi-custom experience when purchasing and designing their boat, with one of the best warranties in the aluminum-boat industry. Hallmarks of the SeaArk boat include heavy-gauge aluminum construction, stable walking surfaces, and extruded ribs, caprails and keels. All SeaArk boats are made one at a time, are hand-welded and NMMA certified.
The SeaArk jon boat lineup at Dewey’s includes the standard jon boat configuration and the Modified V Jet Tunnel denoted as the MVJT series. The SeaArk Jon 1872, as the numerals indicate, boasts an 18-foot overall length and a 72-inch bottom. The off-the-shelf 2072 MVJT features a 20-foot overall length and a 72-inch bottom, and comes with the Jet Tunnel bottom and transom. Designed to be used with a jet driven outboard, the transom is higher than a conventional hull and the tunnel is built into the bottom of the boat, which allows the engine to be raised into the tunnel pocket while still pulling in the laminar flow of water for propulsion. This enhancement translates to excellent shallow-water capability.
The plug-and-play capability of the accessory lineup is what turns the bare-hull jon boat into that perfectly designed boat…exactly how you want it. The SeaArk accessory list exceeds 100 items from anchors to walk-through windshields, and everything in between. Bow storage box? SeaArk has it. Center console and windshield? SeaArk has it. Need a trolling motor or mount? SeaArk has it. If you need it, chances are it’s on the SeaArk accessory list.
The fit and finish on SeaArk Boats is industrial, from its looks to its durability. Interior finish options include a host of paints, urethanes, and even camo patterns. Upholstery options compliment the colors and include camouflage selections. Other interior choices include vinyl and LINE-X allowing for a true customer-friendly mix-and-match menu. For safety and comfort all SeaArk jon boats come with a floatation-foam-filled rear bench seat. Visit the SeaArk website at seaarkboats.com and you’ll quickly see why SeaArk has such a huge presence on Alaska’s waters.
RH Aluminum Boats
Fifteen years in the boat-building business was a good start, but when RH Aluminum Boats joined BlueEarth Marine Group in late 2018 they didn’t just capitalize on the size of the of the operation and experience base; it enhanced the company’s legacy and potential. Today BlueEarth Marine Group manufactures heavy-gauge, all-welded aluminum boats in Grants Pass, Oregon, under the names Fish-Rite, UltraSport, and RH Aluminum Boats.
Initially named River Hawk Boats, RH Aluminum Boats was born out of the aluminum jet-boat racing industry, so suffice it to say they are steeped in tradition when it comes to building performance boats. Currently, RH offers ten models including five river-going models: the Pro V, Super Pro V, Kenai Edition, Commander, and SH Sport; and the five coastal and offshore models that include the Coastal, Pro, Pro Cuddy, Offshore, and Offshore XL. Suffice it to say, RH Boats has you covered.
If you’re an Alaskan and tend to fish rivers, lakes, and perhaps bays and estuaries, look no further than the RH Aluminum Commander and Kenai Edition, literally designed for Alaskan waters.
The Commander series is available with a footprint of 21 feet x 78 inches, 23 feet x 78 inches, or 25 feet x 78 inches and just might be described as the ultimate Alaskan skiff. The 34-inch sides taper nicely creating a 102-inch beam. Built like a tank, the Commander’s bottom is shaped from a meaty .250-inch 5052 marine-grade aluminum, while the sides are configured from .125-inch and the transom from .190-inch 5086 aluminum. The shallow V hull includes a delta pad with incorporated reverse chine, and interestingly, the logo showcases the hull’s cross-sectional profile.
Nicely appointed with full paint inside and out and accented with discretionary diamond plate top-loading gunnel rod lockers, the Commander is designed to be a pure fishing machine. Configured with adjustable seat boxes, passenger placement is a breeze, while the optional full-length rail track system allows an angler or the captain to set the rod holders anywhere along the gunnel. The rail is ideal for running various rod-holder accessories, including the Fish Fighter Products Gunnel Rail Sliders and Quick Release System (QRS) Rod Risers. The bow step deck is diamond plated and includes a storage box that can be used for anchoring hardware, and an oversized fish box.
The RH Commander comes standard with vinyl floors, but diamond plate is an easy upgrade. Another popular option is the center console with fold-down windscreen which puts the captain in a great position to read challenging water with steering-wheel performance. Although designed as an open sled, the Commander can also be configured with an optional Bimini-style top. Need more storage? No problem. The Commander has the option of in-floor storage or an in-floor fish box, in addition to the space for the 40-gallon in-floor fuel cell.
There is a special place in my heart for the Kenai River. It might be because the Kenai holds the International Game Fish Association all-tackle world records for two of the five species of Pacific salmon native to North America, including Les Anderson’s 97-pound 4-ounce Chinook taken on May 17, 1985. It could also be the beautiful, trophy rainbow trout that inhabit the fabled river. But, if I’m honest with myself, it’s because my personal-best 65-pound king came from the Kenai River while dragging huge egg clusters through the Eagle Rock area…a true memory maker. It’s also why I love to talk about boats made for the Kenai River.
If the Commander is a bit too large, or if you’re looking for a boat that is Kenai River compliant, check out the RH Kenai series. It’s the ideal 20-foot fish-catching platform, and as its name implies, is Kenai River compliant.
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources regulates boats within the Kenai River Special Management Area to not exceed 21 feet in length, have a beam no wider than 106 inches, and utilize no more than a 50 HP powerplant. These regulations are designed to help reduce erosion, loss of habitat, and on-the-water pollution. When fishing the Kenai River during peak king season it’s a virtual “aluminum hatch” as smallish-sized aluminum boats infest the lower river. With the quantity of traffic, you can understand the regulatory efforts.
Similar in shape and style to the larger Commander, the Kenai Edition has a few notable changes that help it perform well when operating with a 50 HP outboard, and if utilized off the Kenai River, the boat is rated for 150 HP. Like the Commander, the Kenai Edition is manufactured utilizing box-girder construction with full welded chines and slotted top-rail extrusions.
The Hewescraft Sea Runner is available as a hard top that has a great aft dance floor for fishing, with a protected cabin and a full Alaskan bulkhead. © Hewescraft
Similar in style and design to the RH Commander, the Kenai Edition’s sides are configured from .125-inch and the transom from .190-inch 5086 aluminum, whereas the bottom is made from .190-inch 5052 marine-grade aluminum. The sides are lower, at 32 inches, and the fuel cell is 34 gallons. Although minor tweaks, these changes help cut down on the boat’s overall weight which translates to better on-the-water performance with a 50 HP outboard. The Kenai Edition has a dry- weight rating of 1060 pounds.
The RH Kenai Edition comes set up to fish three people, with two sliding seat boxes and a four-legged pedestal seat for the captain. The boat can be easily configured to comfortably fish five, and can even be set up with a center console. The only thing the Kenai Edition needs is a few fishing buddies, six ounces of lead, and your favorite Spin-N-Glo set up…and hang on! Learn more about RH Boats at RHboats.com.
“Time tested” is a powerful and well-respected statement among Alaska’s boating community, and Hewescraft might just be the most prolific boat sailing the seven seas. Bob Hewes charted an unlikely path when he, a few fishing buddies, and his brother Ralph built their first all-aluminum fishing boat in 1948. Hewescraft, out of Colville, Washington, has been fervently building boats since those first-generation crafts, perfecting their design and earning the honor as the number-one-selling boat in the state of Alaska—a location where quality boats are needed by avid outdoorsmen.
The soft-top Sea Runner fits the category as a medium-ocean boat, but it’s big on performance as it slices through this coastal inlet. © Hewescraft
Sixty-four years of boat-building experience has earned Hewescraft a reputation that includes a fish-friendly platform, sturdy hull construction, and excellent value. Hewescraft is also highly regarded as an inland and offshore boat that is specifically designed with safety as a cornerstone. Each Hewescraft exceeds US Coast Guard (USCG) and Transport Canada floatation requirements. In fact, even their big boats, which do not require floatation per the USCG, receive recoverable floatation. To top it off, every hull is leak tested in the factory, something too few boat manufactures perform.
No one can argue that big-water boating requires a well-engineered and super-strong hull. When saltwater fishing in the ocean you can rely on Hewescraft’s age-honored designs and world-class construction to deliver years of chasing bottomfish and salmon, as well as cruising and exploring. The Hewescraft salty selection of medium-ocean watercraft includes the Sea Runner, Ocean Pro, and Pacific Cruiser, all considered best-in-class and best on the water by many salt-o-holics.
The Hewescraft Sea Runner screams, “Take Me Fishing!” Designed for the briny deep, it’s available in 19-foot and 21-foot lengths with HP ratings of 200 and 225 respectively. The boat’s beam is easily towable at 102 inches with 32-inch sides, 78-inch bottom, offering a nine-person capacity.
When navigating big water, everything about the hull design affects performance. The 210HT Sea Runner is carefully designed to provide the best ride and the best on-water performance available. It features a 35° forward deadrise, 22° midship vee, and a 15° transom deadrise. This combination provides stability, easy on-plane performance, and excellent wave-slicing capability, making for a dry and comfortable ride and a stable fishing platform.
The bottom and floor assembly of the Sea Runner is an integrated system comprised of Hewescraft’s exclusive thick channel supports, and full-length box-beam construction incorporated with a .190-inch marine-grade aluminum bottom. Available as a soft-top or hard-top (HT), the HT series includes a lockable, full Alaskan bulkhead door that provides weather-ready comfort while retaining true utility. The result is an amazingly functional boat for cruising and fishing.
The newest Hewescraft Sea Runner has upped the ante for mid-sized boats everywhere. They did this by widening the hull to help get you out of the water faster, improve on-step planing, and to decrease side-to-side tipping (especially with the hard-top option). Better yet, Hewescraft updated the interior to give more elbow room for you and your fishing partners, as well as more storage area for your gear.
Dewey’s Cook Inlet only sells and services one brand of outboard motor, the Yamaha. Known for its performance and reliability, Yamaha will get you there. © Hewescraft
Hewescraft’s reputation in the marine industry is second to none, and this is supported by their lifetime warranty which extends to the hull and all welds for the original owner. The warranty is transferable to subsequent non-commercial owners for a total of 10 years from the date of sale to the original owner.
Bob and Ralph Hewes started with a simple mission, and now their successors, Dave and Bill Hewes, continue the family traditions that have placed Hewescraft among the elite in the marine industry. The phrases “time tested” and “age honored” are benchmarks affirming the quality standards in all Hewescraft boats. For more information on Hewescraft boats go to hewescraft.com.
Troy Buzalsky is the Boats columnist for Fish Alaska magazine, and when not writing about boats he can likely be found chasing fish in the Pacific Northwest and the 49th state and writing about those adventures. Troy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org