Founding of Kentuckiana Yacht Sales

Leon Shaw begins his career in the boating industry by forming Kentuckiana Yacht Sales with partner & high school friend, Bill Brummett. Their first location was at the corner of Spring St. & Riverside Dr. in downtown Jeffersonville.

Interestingly, Kentuckiana Yacht Sales was the first boat dealer in the Louisville area to sell fiberglass boats.


Founding of Gibson Houseboats

Building on the success of the booming fiberglass houseboat industry, Leon Shaw & partner Bill Brummett seized the opportunity to expand into fiberglass boat manufacturing.

In 1967 the tragic loss of Drift-R-Cruz founder and fiberglass pioneer Bill Willcutts resulted in several of his key boat builders, including Carl Gibson, to search for a new company to produce houseboats. Having known Shaw & Brummett from their success in houseboat sales, Carl Gibson pursued them to open a factory in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

By 1968 production was underway and the first model introduced, which was a 30′ Gibson with a base price of $8,995.

Gibson Houseboats would soon become one of the top selling houseboats on the market.


Kentuckiana Yacht Sales Moves to 700 East Market Street

By this time, Shaw & Brummett had positioned KYS as a top-selling dealer for Nauti-Line, Owens Cruisers, Whitcraft & SeaGoing Houseboats, as well as the factory sales center for Gibson Houseboats.

The new location provided much needed space to operate as KYS was now a major parts & service center, recognized by Chrysler as a national “Top 10” engine dealer.

Now two years in to production, Gibson Houseboats are quickly becoming one of the most popular houseboats on the market.


Leon Shaw Begins Importing Trawlers as Distributor for Chung Hwa

Recognizing the increasing demand in aft cabin motor yachts & early success of trawlers coming from Asia, Mr. Shaw ventured into this emerging market. These new imports were soon competing against the used motor yachts on the market.

This was the origin of Leon’s pursuit for a quality boatyard with forward thinking individuals to partner with and develop what would later become Jefferson Yachts.


Jefferson Yachts Founded by Leon Shaw

Mr. Shaw forms a partnership with the Liu family of Hershine Marine. Mr. T.C. Liu originally came from the fishing industry where he owned & operated a fleet of fishing vessels. In 1977, Mr. Liu began building yachts with similarities of a trawler, but with more progressive hull shape & deck styling unlike his local competition.

Mr. Shaw & Mr. Liu became both great partners & friends, as they shared many of the same values and indeed were both forward thinking in this new venture. They immediately began working to develop a line of new yachts to compete in the US market.


Introduction of the 42′ Sundeck, David Shaw Joins Jefferson Yachts

  • The launch of the 42′ Sundeck marked Jefferson’s entrance in the semi-displacement cruiser market.
  • Offered at a base price of $138,500 with twin 200-hp Perkins diesels, the 42′ would prove to be a driving force in Jefferson production through the 1980’s
  • David Shaw joins Jefferson Yachts full time as the designer/draftsman & commissioning of new Jefferson models arriving in to the port monthly.
  • David represented Jefferson Yachts as NMMA compliance specialist to ensure each Jefferson was built to ABYC/NMMA standards.
  • Jefferson was the first builder to import NMMA certified yachts.


Jefferson Yachts Expands Nationwide Dealer Network

Now three years in production, Jefferson is rapidly growing over 20% every year. Jefferson Yachts were offered nationwide through a network of nearly 16 dealers. Each month, new boats would arrive to seaports on both coasts.

Becky at Port of New Orleans launching a new 52 Jefferson Monticello 1987

David Shaw commissioning a new Jefferson 1985


Jefferson Debuts 60′ & 65′ Grand Marquessa, 52′ Monticello MY

Now three years in production, Jefferson is rapidly growing over 20% every year. Jefferson Yachts were offered nationwide through a network of nearly 16 dealers. Each month, new boats would arrive to seaports on both coasts.


Record-Breaking Sales Year for Jefferson Yachts

In 1988, over 85 Jefferson Motoryachts from 37′ to 60′ are delivered.

Justin Shaw is born August 20, 1988


Another Record Sales Year for Jefferson Yachts

With another production year of over 85 new builds, sales of the 42′ & 46′ Sundeck Motoryachts continue to lead the way.

Jefferson introduces the 52′ Marquessa, which will eventually be one of the most popular models ever produced.


Introduction of 12 New Models

Jefferson introduces 12 new models in 1990.

  • 37′, 40′ & 42′ Viscount Sundeck

  • 43′ & 46′ Marlago Motor Yacht

  • 48′, 52′ & 56′ Rivanna

  • 37′, 40′, 48′ & 52′ Convertible


Justin Shaw Inspecting the Engine Room of a 42′ Viscount MY


Beginning of Marlago Boats

With the industry on the rise from the downturn of the early 90’s, Jefferson was pursuing new ventures to complement their newly developed model line-up. We began to see a trend emerging from owners of large sport fishing yachts downsizing to center consoles that would accommodate their fishing crew & gear without sacrificing offshore capability, and save time and money with less maintenance.

The large, open deck design of the Marlago FS35 fit this niche perfectly as it was built to run offshore with a crew of 6-8 with ease. The key advantages of the Marlago include:

  • Our 24° Deep-V Hull Design Features a Stepped Transom w/Modified Pad Keel Creates Fast, Efficient Speeds & Exceptional Ride

  • Lightweight Design Provides Quicker Holeshot & Efficient Cruising

  • Greater Range & Easily Driven Hull with Less Fuel Consumption

  • Easily Handled on Smaller Lifts

  • Much Easier to Transport

  • Marlago was one of the 1st manufactures to begin building offshore center consoles over 30′


Marlago FS31 Begins Production


Introduction of Monticello River Yachts


Jefferson 4300, 5300 & 6400 International Series Yachts Launched


Jefferson Starship Series Introduced


Pilothouse Series Introduced


Jefferson Marlago 4100

Limited Production Model Built at the Jefferson Marlago Factory in Jeffersonville, Indiana.


Marlago FS35 Debuts Innovative New Features for New Millenium

After a year of tooling development, Jefferson debuts the 2002 Marlago FS35 with innovative new features & design changes. Notably, the FS35 was one of the first center-consoles to feature through the bow anchor deployment.

2002 Changes Include:

  • Dedicated Self-Draining Anchor Locker with Custom 316SS Anchor Deployed Through the Bow

  • Redesigned Forward Cuddy Cabin

  • Molded-In Forward Drink Boxes w/ Lined Storage Compartment

  • Integrated Cockpit Grab Rail System

  • Integrated Rod & Pole Storage, Fish Fighting Stations w/ Safety Toe-Rails

  • Larger Integrated Swim Platform w/ Additional Lighting & Molded-In Engine Rigging/Oil Fill Platform

  • Fuel Capacity Increased to 245 Gallons & Optional Aux. Fuel to 298 Gallons

  • Standard Bennett Sport Trim Tabs & Teleflex Dual-Ram Steering


Marlago FS35 Open Begins Production

With some Marlago buyers looking for more open deck space Jefferson developed the Open which traded the cuddy cabin in for a large open deck with built-in bow seating and more on-deck storage. The Open incorporated all the latest technology available on the FS35 Cuddy.


Marlago FS35


Jefferson Develops Police, Fire & Rescue Boats

Jefferson Government & Commercial Products

  • The Fire Cat Series Fire & Rescue Boats

  • Five-O Patrol Boats

  • Customized Zodiac Crew Boats, Distributed by Kentuckiana Yacht Sales & Services


Marlago 37SS Begins Production

David Shaw develops the new 37’ Marlago with amenities found in some of our high-end competitors and built on an all-new hull as agile as the FS35. Based on our core values, the new 37 offers exceptional value, performance & styling Marlago owners have come to expect.