History

For more than 60 years, Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, has built exceptional steel and aluminum commercial vessels. Located on the Taunton River in Somerset, Mass., the family-owned and operated shipyard counts more than 417 vessels built as proof of its longevity and vessel reliability.

1956 Launch of Tug Boat “Dave White”
1956 Launch of Tug Boat “Dave White”

In 1955, at age 22, George Duclos, chairman, co-founded the yard with Pret Gladding and Richard Hearn, and bought out his partners in 1983. Today, the next generation of Duclos family members leads the shipyard into the future.

The Gladding-Hearn brand is synonymous with pilot boats, with more launches operating in the United States than any other shipyard. After building pilot boats designed by Pret Gladding for more than two decades, the yard joined forces with designer C. Raymond Hunt Associates in 1978 to build the first launch with a deep-V hull, soon to become the industry standard.

1958 Pilot Boat “Narrows” off Sandy Hook, NY (courtesy of Capt. Arthur J Roche)
1958 Pilot Boat “Narrows” off Sandy Hook, NY (courtesy of Capt. Arthur J Roche)

Gladding-Hearn’s capabilities also include construction of tugs, wind-farm support vessels, fire and police/patrol boats, port security vessels and research boats, and since 1987, high-speed catamaran passenger ferries. As a licensee of designer Incat Crowther in Australia, Gladding-Hearn became the second shipyard in the country to build high-speed catamarans that performed as promised and has since built the lion’s share of fast cats on the East Coast and the Great Lakes.

In 2006, Gladding-Hearn expanded its markets to include the award of a “Multiple Award Schedule” from the U.S. General Services Administration, enabling eligible government entities to purchase the yard’s vessels at fixed specifications and prices.

In 2014, the shipyard built the first commercial application of Volvo Penta’s IPS drives in the United States to give its pilot boats higher speeds and improved comfort, while conserving fuel.


“From our chairman and other board members to our staff, we couldn’t be more pleased with how this vessel came out. We look forward to the improved comfort, reliability and the better sea-keeping ability than our other vessels.”

—Wayne Lamson, General Manager
Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket Steamship Authority