How did Paul Mann learn to build boats?


Growing up as a teenager along North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Paul was exposed to a variety of boats and water activities. From his earliest years, boating and fishing were a part of his life. At a young age he began to serve as mate on charter boats. At 20 years of age, Paul received his Captain’s License and began his own offshore fishing business.

Shortly after high school, Paul also began to work in boat building. During the times he was not fishing, he had the fortune of working alongside local legends such as Sunny Briggs and Omie Tillett in traditional Carolina boat building.

In 1988, Paul built his personal sportfishing boat under his company of Mann Boat Works. While continuing to build boats, in 1992 he incorporated his company as Mann Custom Boats, Inc. Since incorporation, Mann Custom Boats had developed into a 40,200-square-foot facility manufacturing custom sportfishing boats.

Paul’s experiences, fishing and handling different boats helped him formulate his ideas of a superior, seaworthy boat. Coupling this experience with the knowledge gained in the boat building industry made Paul exceptionally qualified to design and build superior custom boats. Running boats you’ve built with your own hands, ideas, and knowledge brought special insights as to what it took to build a seaworthy, user friendly sportfisher.

What’s so special about a Paul Mann custom boat? For starters, there’s the combination of time tested techniques that were married with the latest in high-tech materials, technology and processes. The traditional wood plank-on-frame construction with plywood overlay provided the core of the boat. Tricel, honeycomb, decolite, and foam were just a few of the “newer tricks” that made Paul Mann boats very light compared to other boats of equal size. But it was the design that allowed his boats to perform exceptionally well in all sea conditions, whether a following sea, side-to or head-to sea. And, Paul Mann boats did not need an exaggerated flair or an exaggerated tumblehome to be a sleek, traditional true Carolina hull.

What else was special? Their process! They built only up to three boats at a time, which allowed for better control of quality and attention to details along with on-site supervision from Paul, without excessive overhead. Their setup process was very versatile. Using batons to shape the shear and chine facilitates changes in length, width and height without the expense of new jigs. Drawings and measurements based on Paul’s proven techniques were also used in shaping the boat. Setup costs were minimal.

Another interesting aspect about their process was owner involvement: They built relationships as well as boats. Their clients become part of the “design team” that created custom interiors to match their imagination and life style. From drawings to completion, they proudly built their own interiors, totally in-house to the owners’ specifications. Only the highest quality materials and amenity brands were utilized.

Mann Custom Boats was debt-free and owner operated. During the boat building years they owned the land and the buildings at the location in Manns Harbor, North Carolina, where they quietly handcrafting the finest boats on the ocean.