At 25 years old, in 1954, David “Fred” Brownell started his inland boat yard on Park Street in Mattapoisett, MA. With high school as his only formal education, he was self-taught; and at 26 years old he built his first of many high quality bass boats. His boat yard, which was located 1-1/2 miles from the water, posed a challenge as to how to get his newly built boats launched. It was from this necessity that led to his inventions of the hydraulic self-loading boat trailer and adjustable boat stand system. After a few short years, the trailers and boat stands were in high demand by boat yards and marinas and two newly built factories were opened in the Industrial Park of Mattapoisett. These were not only inventions that assisted him in his own day to day operations but became products that completely revolutionized the boating industry throughout the United States and around the world.
Fred’s son, Tom Brownell, grew up at the boat yard where he learned every facet of boat building. In 1964, when Tom was 16, he started using the yard’s hydraulic trailers to transport and launch other people’s boats around town. As custom boat building slowly declined, the boat transportation and storage business was born. In 1990, the transport division moved into its new home in the Mattapoisett Industrial Park where it became Brownell Systems, Inc., now owned by Tom Brownell and managed by his daughter Cindy Brownell.