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 has 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 makes Paul exceptionally qualified to design and build superior custom boats. Running boats you’ve built with your own hands, ideas, and knowledge brings special insights as to what it takes 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 married with the latest in high-tech materials, technology and processes. The traditional wood plank-on-frame construction with plywood overlay provides the core of the boat. Tricel, honeycomb, decolite, and foam are just a few of the “newer tricks” that make our boats very light compared to other boats of equal size. But it’s the design that allows our boats to perform exceptionally well in all sea conditions, whether a following sea, side-to or head-to sea. And, our boats do not need an exaggerated flair or an exaggerated tumblehome to be a sleek, traditional true Carolina hull.

What else is special? Our process! We build only up to three boats at a time, allowing better control of quality and attention to details along with on-site supervision from Paul, without excessive overhead. Our setup process is 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 are also used in shaping the boat. Setup costs are minimal.

Another interesting aspect about our process is owner involvement: We build relationships as well as boats. Our clients become part of the “design team” creating custom interiors to match their imagination and life style. From drawings to completion, we proudly build our own interiors, totally in-house to the owners’ specifications. Only the highest quality materials and amenity brands are utilized.

Mann Custom Boats is debt-free and owner operated. We own the land and the buildings in our location in Manns Harbor, North Carolina, where we’ve been quietly handcrafting the finest boats on the ocean.