“Swampscott boats are the aristocrat of the dory clan…” — John Gardner

The Swampscott Dory is a classic East Coast boat with a storied pedigree. Originally designed as a beach-launched fishing boat, it was meant to launch through surf, survive in rough conditions, and carry large quantities of fish and gear safely. What helped the dory succeed in this was a hull form that naturally shed waves, and got more stable the more heavily it was loaded.

Since its heyday as a fishing boat, the Swampscott Dory has been adapted to many uses, including recreational rowing and sailing. Our dory is adapted slightly from traditional lines for modern use, with a steeper transom to make it possible to mount an outboard motor. We have also fitted it with our signature sliding seat, further improving its excellent rowing performance and making it an eminently capable rowboat for one or two rowers. Its strengths as always include easy handling in rough conditions, the ability to surf-launch, and a great capacity for gear.

While it remains a striking boat, with classic, instantly recognizable lines, the Swampscott Dory also has some drawbacks. The soft-chined, flat-bottomed hull will sit flat on the beach and carry heavy loads easily, but it also feels “tippy” when lightly loaded. Most people will not get comfortable unless there is at least 100 lbs of ballast in the boat. This limits its use as a recreational rowboat, since lightness is definitely a priority for most people. Furthermore, the very responsiveness that makes it so desirable in rough water keeps it from tracking well in calm seas. It takes a bit of practice and an even stroke to keep the Swampscott Dory running in a straight line. But if you are a Dory enthusiast, or have a beach where nothing else will do, this may be the boat for you.

“In 1997 I had the good fortune to have Gig Harbor Boat Works build a 16′ Swampscott Dory. I rowed it almost daily in Puget Sound and it handled like a dream. It sailed remarkably well even in light air and moved smartly when powered with a small electric motor. In 1998 circumstances necessitated my making a quick move accross the US and I brought my boat to Dave Robertson to put on consignment. Dave sold it within 30 days…. This outfit has my highest recommendation and appreciation.”

– T. Blanchard (16′ Swampscott Dory)

“The boat is dream come true. Although I wasn’t going for distance, we covered many miles and really made quite a respectable dent in the lake’s vastness. My hands were the limiting factor. Tape and gloves helped. The dory swallowed up all my gear with ease and was a pleasure to row. After a couple nights worrying about the boat at anchor in windy conditions, I beached her (a snap as it turned out) on rough nights and slept better. On my last night her name came to me: Simplicity.”

– T. Kitting (16′ Swampscott Dory)

“Dave, what can I say, she’s a beaut! Everything I hoped it would be. You guys make a great boat and I can’t wait to row it…..Thanks for making my lifelong dream come true.”

– J. Lord, Virgina (16′ Swampscott Dory)

Click here to read more customer testimonials about the Dory

Swampscott Dory Owner Photos (click to enlarge):


Click here for full specifications

Dory Specifications
LOA: 15’8″
BEAM: 57″
Fiberglass Kevlar/Composite
DISPLACEMENT: 250 lbs 220 lbs
DRAFT: 7″
SAIL AREA: N/A
Model-specific Options:


All Our Boats:

17′ Jersey Skiff |16.5′ Melonseed | 16′ Dory | 15′ Lobster Boat | 14′ Whitehall | 12′ Scamp | 12′ Point Defiance | 10′ Navigator | 9.5′ Captain’s Gig | 8′ Nisqually