Glen L. Witt Passes

photo of Glen WittCourtesy Glen L Marine/Gayle Brantuk

Most of Glen L. Witt’s 300+ plans for all types of boats and materials are available full size for easier amateur construction.

Glen L. Witt, who marketed hundreds of boat designs, mainly for amateur builders, died June 13 at the age of 98. In his early 30s he enrolled in what was originally called Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and in 1953 founded Glen–L Marine, working in the back bedroom of his home in California. During a conversation with Witt for a profile in this column three years ago (PBB No. 150), he told me that he started building “three-point hydros” when he was 12, and never stopped. He figured he’d built around 50 boats in his lifetime. A feature on the cover of Popular Mechanics magazine helped establish his business. His stated aim was to help people of average skill and income get on the water. Figuring that lofting was too difficult, he drew all his plans full size so they could be laid over sheets of plywood for accurate cutting. And there was no limit to the kinds of boats he drew: rowboats, runabouts, cruisers, and sailboats. In the 1990s he began turning over the business to his son Barry and daughter Gayle (who now serves as company president), which involves maintaining an inventory of the blueprinted plans and dealing with customers, many of whom were fathers and sons, grandfathers and grandsons—forever bonded by a formidable yet achievable project, thanks to Glen Witt.