Bob Hewes, right, accepts the NMMA Lifetime Award in 2010, with long-time friends and fellow innovators Capt. Bill Curtis, left, and Bob Stearns. Photo by Sam Root/ www.saltyshores.com
Robert Hewes, a pioneering boat designer and founder of Bob Hewes Boat Enterprises, died June 27 in his sleep at his home in Miami. He was 86.
Bob Hewes grew up in the boatbuilding business and began building wooden boats in the 1950s. In the 1960s he was working in fiberglass and later developed Kevlar hulls. His contribution to sport fishing is forever tied to his namesake craft, the Hewes Bonefisher, one of the first dedicated flats boats. His design not only helped launch flats fishing in South Florida, it also served as a development platform for many of the features that are considered essential to the sport today.
Hewes was honored in February with the Lifetime Recognition and Achievement Award from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which was presented to him at the Miami International Boat Show.
He is survived by his wife, Ida, 64, two daughters, Deborah Feeger and Lorrie Wilborg, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held June 30 in Miami,. The family asks that donations be made to the Heidi Hewes Foundation (founded in honor of Robert's late daughter) in his memory.