Where It All Started

Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Steve Van Dam always had a passion for the water and that for building with wood. In 1982 he married Jean Hodge of Harbor Springs, Michigan, who jumped on board with Steve’s desire to learn about the wooden boat building business. They moved to Ontario and Steve served as an apprentice to Vic Carpenter. Here Steve was introduced to newer construction techniques and the use of modern adhesives.

The Van Dam business started off known as Van Dam Wood Craft. The business began by reconstructing and restoring many memorable wood boats. In 1978, Steve was given the opportunity to build a 30′ canoe stern sloop designed by Henry Scheel. With this the Van Dam name was out and everyone began to notice the incredible talent and detail that came with a Van Dam.

In 1991 Van Dam Wood Craft relocated to Boyne City, Michigan. With this location they not only received a larger location, but also were able to obtain a waterway to Lake Michigan and beyond. From here the sky was the limit and Van Dam Custom Boats was born.

Check out our website for more detail on the history of Van Dam Custom Boats: