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What Happened to River Hawk Boats?

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

what happened to river hawk boats

Long story short, River Hawk boats closed due to financial difficulties and tough competition in the boating industry. At best, the company didn’t make it to the ten-decade mark, but it has left a lasting impression on most ’90s and 2000s boaters.

The question, “What happened to River Hawk boats?” sets the stage for great storytelling, though. So sit back and read about the rise and fall of a promising venture in the boating industry.

Why Did River Hawks Boats Close?


A once-thriving boat manufacturer, River Hawk Boats officially embarked on its journey in 1994 in Sanford, Florida. It specialized in crafting aluminum fishing boats, for which it shortly made waves in the industry.

River Hawk Boats boasts an impressive lineup, featuring models like the Sea Hawk, Pro-V, Kenai Commander, and the Offshore series. These fishing boats ranged in size from a nimble 14 feet to a spacious 28 feet, catering to anglers of all preferences.

Reviews of River Hawk boats often sang praises of their stability, durability, and top-notch construction.

It was certainly able to carve its own niche in the hearts of anglers and boaters alike due to its reliable aluminum vessels. We wouldn’t have folks asking the main question, otherwise.

Closure and Subsequent “Resurrection”


Sadly, the tides of fate proved challenging, and in 2003, the company was forced to close before filing for bankruptcy. The main causes of closure? Financial troubles and a boat market that’s slowly becoming more competitive over time.

Interestingly, its “death” didn’t necessarily mean that the entire company (and its creations) just vanished altogether.

For one, what was a short, sweet ride was rumored to have been continued by another company, Santee Boats, which is based in South Carolina.

It was claimed for some time that Santee Boats kept the River Hawk legacy alive by continuing the production of some of River Hawk’s beloved models – only this time, under the Santee brand. This information is not verified, though.

What’s certain is that the real glimmer of hope emerged in 2019 when RH Aluminum Boats registered the River Hawk name and website. 

It’s not a “true” resurrection, though, as it’s obvious that RH boats offered far smaller boats under 14 feet compared to the larger fishing vessels that were once the hallmark of the River Hawk brand.

So for those asking, “Is River Hawk Boats still in business?” we can say that they’re technically still alive – only in a different, altogether independent entity from the original company.

Are There Any River Hawk Boats Still Available?

Yes, it’s still entirely possible to buy RiverHawk boat models because even though the business closed in 2003, there are still lots of pre-owned vessels available on listing platforms like YachtWorld.

You can also look around at, the Facebook Marketplace, or other boat listing sites that you happen to use. Don’t expect the list to be as extensive as other brands that are alive and well, though.

Indeed, the true legacy of the original River Hawk company endures through used boat sales. Of course, if you’re interested in what RH Boats has to offer and not exactly a River Hawk “purist”, then the new brand’s an entirely viable option as well.

Incidentally, if you want to distinguish boats from either company, know that River Hawk boats bear the complete term “River Hawk” on their hulls. RH boats, on the other hand, print “RH Boats” on their own hulls.


To conclude our story and the answer to “What happened to River Hawk Boats?” it’s really a tale of a company that put craftsmanship and its clients first and foremost. It lasted for nearly a decade, which is a stellar feat in and of itself.

It’s also clear proof that the end of one voyage can signal the start of another. There are still traces of River Hawk Boats out there, and it’s a testament to the clear mark they left in anglers’ hearts.

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