Story by Troy Buzalsky
Photos provided by Hewescraft
Merriam-Webster defines the term “time-tested” as having effectiveness that has been proven over a long period of time. It’s a powerful declaration that commands respect in most market applications and epitomizes the name Hewescraft in the heavy-gauge, aluminum-boat marketplace.
In 1948 Bob Hewes charted unlikely waters when he, a few fishing buddies, and his brother Ralph built their first all-aluminum fishing boats after returning from his assignment in World War II. Turning scrap aluminum into a total of four boats, a family business emerged from the aluminum shavings, callouses, blisters, and a life-changing successful endeavor.
Hewes Marine Company, Inc. is midway through its seventh decade as a premier boat builder known for its quality and craftsmanship, hence the name “Hewescraft.” Currently being led by the second generation of family leadership of Bill and Dave Hewes, today’s Hewescraft boats have evolved, but the mission, vision and values of Hewescraft have stayed the course. “We are a company that considers the people that buy our boats to be much more than just customers, but important members of the Hewescraft family.” There’s also a strong family of Hewescraft owners that frequent the Hewescraft fan page on Facebook, sharing their stories with pictures, stories, and projects.
The Hewescraft manufacturing facility is located in Colville, Washington, a rural outpost where one could argue that there are more tumbleweeds than traffic. It’s the original community where the Hewes family laid down the foundation for Hewes Marine Company. Recently, Hewescraft relocated to a larger facility to enhance processes and production while keeping up with the demands of manufacturing approximately 1,000 boats per year while maintaining its reign as the number-one-selling, heavy-gauge aluminum boat in the state of Alaska—a place where anglers take their fishing and respect for the water very seriously.
“Check” out the newest Hewescraft Ocean Pro Logo nicely applied over the professional-grade PPG paint that comes with an industry-leading, two-year warranty.
Seventy-four years of progressive manufacturing know-how has garnered Hewescraft a reputation that includes a fish-friendly platform, sturdy hull construction, and excellent value in the industry. Hewescraft is also highly regarded as a big-water boat that is consciously designed around safety. Each model in the Hewescraft lineup exceeds US Coast Guard floatation requirements and every hull is water tested in the factory…Something too few boat manufacturers perform.
Hewescraft offers ten different models to meet the needs of various situations, from protected waters that include rivers and lakes, to mid-sized ocean waters including estuaries, and for big water and ocean off-shore adventuring. From the practical 16.5-foot 160 Open Fisherman to the 29.5-foot 290 Adventure, Hewescraft has a boat for all your fishing needs. In this column we’re going to open the hatch and look into the Hewescraft Ocean Pro series—specifically made for saltwater exploration where it fits the bill by acting big and towing easily.
Tall sides give the Hewescraft Ocean Pro plenty of freeboard, while the 300 HP rating gives plenty of power potential. Big lakes, estuaries, and the open ocean is where the Ocean Pro thrives.
I’ve invested over two decades fishing Alaska’s open waters and during that time, I’ve spent considerable time operating, riding shotgun, and fishing out of Hewescraft Ocean Pro boats. They have always met or exceeded my on-the-water expectations. It’s no wonder that the Ocean Pro series tops the charts in popularity, especially amongst Alaska’s die-hard fishing community.
The Ocean Pro is available in lengths of 22 feet 8 inches and 24 feet 8 inches, dubbed the 220 and 240 series, respectively. The Ocean Pro features an extended transom (ET) and is available in rigid softtop (ST) or hardtop (HT) models.
The Ocean Pro 240 HT features a fully welded, self-bailing, diamond-plate recessed bow with integrated anchor locker. The all-welded windshield offers convenient grab handles with a full 74-inch floor-to-ceiling height. The boat’s beam is trailer friendly at 102 inches. The cabin measures 84 inches wide and almost 96 inches long while the aft fishing station offers a roomy 80 inches by 74 inches of dance floor…That translates to more than 40 square feet of fishing pleasure. Add rooftop rocket launchers and downriggers and you have a bona fide fishing machine.
LED dance-floor lighting, rooftop rocket-launcher rod holders, and weather-tight Alaskan-bulkhead doors are all fish-friendly features of the Ocean Pro.
The hull is designed with a 35° water-slicing forward deadrise, 20° amidship deadrise, and a stabilizing 13° aft deadrise. This variable-deadrise combination gives excellent performance in choppy seas and also provides a safe and stable platform for fishing and family exploration.
For more than 70 years Hewescraft has been known for their quality construction, and the Ocean Pro series is no exception. The hull is jig-built for consistency and manufactured with .190-inch 5052 marine aluminum. The 35-inch sides and 84-inch bottom are joined and fully welded utilizing the propriety slotted-chine extrusions. This combination provides excellent freeboard while incorporating Hewescraft’s trademarked chine that is expertly angled for optimum hole-shot and cornering.
Getting to and from the fishing grounds or a favorite destination is made easy in the Ocean Pro with its long-range, 100-gallon fuel cell. The Ocean Pro 240 ET HT is rated for 300 HP, and when fully loaded weighs in at just under 5,000 pounds. When coupled with a Yamaha 250 HP V6 4.2L outboard, the boat cruises at 30 MPH at 4,500 RPM while burning approximately 2.5 MPG or 12 GPH. The boat tops out at 47 MPH at 6,000 RPM.
The Ocean Pro 240 comes jam-packed with dozens of standard, boating-friendly features from anodes to wipers, and everything in between. LED overhead lights line the cabin along with navigational lighting. Grab handles, handrails, and safety rails adorn the aft gunnels, cockpit, and bow, while cup holders can be found conveniently located port and starboard. For the avid angler, two fish boxes help corral the catch, including an in-floor macerator fish box installed in the rear cockpit and a 40-gallon transom fish box with cutting-board/bait-table lid.
The aft-located, in-floor fish box is only part of the Ocean Pro’s fish-box capacity, with a second fish box located in the transom.
The captain and co-pilot stations include high-back seats with a swivel suspension system sitting atop dry seat boxes, and a lockable storage compartment is found under the console. For extra convenience, the Ocean Pro comes standard with a starboard walk-through transom door that works nicely for loading and unloading guests and supplies, and serves as a bonus when landing that supersized catch.
To help the customer better configure the boat of their dreams, Hewescraft offers an exhaustive list of available options. The die-hard angler will appreciate the optional rooftop radar arch and weld-on rocket launcher rod holders available on the cabin sides or rooftop. And don’t miss out on the user-friendly, rear hydraulic steering station, so you can captain the boat and manage your angling buddies with ease.
Inclement weather is no problem with the Ocean Pro’s Alaskan bulkhead cabin and optional Espar D2 heater. Cabins are available with carpet and diamond treadplate is an aft-of-the-bulkhead option. Side-mounted sleeper seats are available and can include a commode cut-out along with a privacy curtain. Music lovers will appreciate the Fusion audio option, and the family will love the ski pylon for towing skiers, tubers, and wake boarders.
Style matters, especially if my wife has a say in my boating purchase. The Hewescraft Ocean Pro series is a smartly designed craft with nice on-the-water appeal. The pilothouse features an aft-leaning windscreen with a functional eyebrow that looks as well as it functions. The open bow epitomizes the phrase “form follows function” with its easily accessible, walk-through windscreen. The tall sides and wide bottom confirm that the boat is made for big water. Auto-grade PPG paint options include top, half, or full-side paint applications in red, black, white, blue, orange, green, charcoal, or maroon, and any raw aluminum can be protected with Sharkhide. The new model year also includes the newest Hewescraft side graphic, a visual checkmark of style.
The squeaky-clean 2021 Ocean Pro is available in eight colors including white, and features an optional, rear captain’s station, putting the captain in the right place at the right time.
Hewescraft’s loyalty and popularity is second to none in the boating industry, and many Hewescraft boats become true heirlooms, being handed down to the next generation. Every Hewescraft hull and all welding throughout the boat comes with an industry-leading lifetime warranty to the original owner, and their two-year paint warranty exceeds their competition twofold.
Keeping processes in-house allows Hewes Marine to have a tight rein on quality control, including painting, carpet, upholstery, and rigging. Hewescraft installs power plants and electronics and also allows their dealers to offer this service.
Safety is a cornerstone within the Hewes Marine brand, and their industry-exclusive floatation test is a perfect example of taking safety to the next level. Ask yourself this question: “Which boat manufacturers actually swamp their boats to validate floatation?” There are many boat manufacturers out there, but only Hewescraft has committed to swamp-testing every Hewescraft model for floatation, which translates to increased boater safety. Although the US Coast Guard only requires floatation foam in boats under 20 feet long, all Hewescraft boats receive “recoverable floatation” foam treatment, a nice security blanket when venturing into the open water.
The Hewescraft Ocean Pro ET HT is perfectly at home on lakes, estuaries, inshore, and offshore adventures.
Hewes Marine has 41 authorized dealer locations throughout the US and Canada, with a large share of them in the Pacific Northwest, including six in Alaska: Dewey’s Cook Inlet, Anchorage; River and Sea Marine, Soldotna; Compeau’s, Fairbanks; and The Bay Company in Ketchikan, Wrangell, and Craig.
Bob and Ralph Hewes started with a simple mission, and now their successors, Dave, Bill, and Launa Hewes continue the family traditions that have placed Hewescraft among the elite in the marine industry. Validating these successes in 2017, Hewes Marine received the Family Business of the Year “Gold Award” from Seattle Business magazine. The cliché “time-tested” is more than just a sound bite; it’s a defining statement for Hewescraft. For more information on Hewescraft boats go to: hewescraft.com.
Troy Buzalsky has been the Boats columnist for Fish Alaska magazine for the last ten years while also working his career as a Battalion Chief with Longview Fire. Look to see Troy exploring even more of the 49th state and the Pacific Northwest as he just retired after serving 38 years in the fire service. Troy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.