Approximately twelve years ago, the owner of MARSHRIDER Co. was, and still is, an avid duck and frog hunter and was very interested in accessing the numerous marshes found in East Texas and nearby Louisiana. The first forays into the marshes were done in airboats. The airboat was a marvelous contraption but soon some minor "negatives" surfaced. Most journeys into the marsh areas involve traversing populated waterways to gain access to the primitive, wilderness area of the marsh. It was soon realized that the noise generated by the airboat (especially at two or three o'clock in the morning) was found to be highly unacceptable to the general public even those a mile or more away. Another negative lay in the fact that in order to "play" all day, twenty five to thirty gallons of fuel needed to be on board. The large propeller cage was found to limit access to areas with brush and overhanging limbs. Then there was the discomfort of facing the little woman after laying out the fifteen to twenty thousand dollars for the up-front purchase of a machine that would facilitate "putting food on the table"..
Then, various types of long-shaft, stern drive marsh boats were tried, and were fairly successful, except in areas of six to eight feet tall sawgrass and in thick hydrilla, both of which are common in the areas of interest. The props became snarled in the sawgrass and hydrilla, and steering was found to be an exhausting task.
Alas, a better mousetrap was needed. Thus began experiments with one of the oldest tried and true, mechanized means of marine transportation around. The paddle wheel boat. The first prototype was constructed with an all steel frame, heavy wooden paddles and a five horse gasoline engine, and attached to a flat bottom Jon Boat. Both rear and side rudders were experimented with, leading to the same steering problems encountered with the long-shaft, stern-drive units.
Then, a revelation, why not put the rudder on the front! The maiden voyage of this prototype made clear several things. One, It worked, two, the front mounted rudder eliminated steering problems, three..We were really on to something. One friend christened it "the sea-going jeep”. After a few years of experimenting, developing, improving, adding and eliminating; it became obvious that this contraption was definitely useful and patentable.
Patent applications were filed and in 2001, two patents were granted. We want to give our fellow marsh-rats the opportunity to share in the pleasures and adventures made possible by the advent of the MARSHRIDER paddle wheel boat, therefore, the construction of this website.