From a Garage to a Boat Parts Store: 10 Remarkable Facts About T-H Marine's History

From a Garage to a Boat Parts Store: 10 Remarkable Facts About T-H Marine's History

October 03, 2023

T-H Marine hasn’t always been a hybrid sort of boat parts store with thousands of products, online ordering, and the ability to ship everywhere. We may have reached that benchmark, but we still owe much of our existence to the boat builders, tackle stores, and product ideas that stand the test of time. Besides, there’s much more to the story!

Along the way, there have been some truly remarkable inflection points, sources of inspiration, and achievements, so we’re observing another anniversary of business with 10 fun facts about our journey and here’s our challenge to you:

When it comes to these notable facts about our company and the marine industry, how many had you never known before?

1. 🇺🇸 Our Roots Have Always Been Right Here in the United States — in Northern Alabama — and They Still Are

From the very first days until now, T-H Marine has prided itself on serving the marine industry from right here in the USA, and we’ve planted our roots in Huntsville, Alabama. Since our start, we’ve added regional sales staff and subsidiaries, too, where our employees are now all over America. That might be surprising in an age where you can buy products from anywhere and when your mileage can really vary with unknown sellers in online marketplaces.

2. ☝️ T-H Marine Began with a Single Product

Bill Huntley and his two business partners had plenty of ideas, but T-H Marine began with a single product — a Trim Handle switch that you could mount on your throttle. Contrary to plenty of fun guesses we’ve heard about those initials, that’s where we get the T and the H in our name.

3. 🎣 First, There was a Bait Company

The Huntley family’s love of fishing and boating goes back a long way and, before T-H Marine existed, Bill Huntley successfully started and ran another company: Bumble Bee Baits. It all originated in Bill’s garage before T-H Marine was formed and it's grown to include a more than 125,000 square foot facility in Alabama alone with complementing subsidiaries in several states.

4. 📖 Has its Origins in a Catalog with Just 15 Products

In the three years between T-H Marine’s start in 1975 and its first catalog published in 1978, T-H Marine had gone from 1 product to 15 of them. Much of this growth could be credited to Bill Huntley making connections, learning what boat builders needed, and learning how to make these products. Fast forward to today, and we have thousands of SKUs and we’re regularly adding more.

5. 💡 Over 30 Times, T-H Marine’s Innovations Meant First-Ever Products and Patented Ideas

From our Trim Handle and other innovative trim switches to our foot throttle, 90-degree plumbing fittings, hydraulic jack plates, and more, these had to start somewhere in the marine market. It just so happens that over 30 of them were innovations that started with T-H Marine.

6. 🚽 Thanks to Toilets, Our Boats Have Standpipe Overflow Drain Tubes

When we got the idea for a way to get just the right amount of water in a livewell without overfilling it, we borrowed that notion from your standard commode. We simply fashioned a livewell with a type of standpipe overflow drain tube, similar to what you’d see on the back of many toilets, allowing for much simpler livewell plumbing.

7. 🗓️ Commercially-Available Transom Jack Plates Date Back to 1980!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over four decades since we introduced the HI-JACKER transom jack plate, but time flies when you’re having fun. 1980 was the first year the HI-JACKER was offered and it caused quite a buzz as the first-ever commercially available, off-the-shelf jack plate.

8. 🚤 Our Foot Trim Switches Became Trolling Motor Foot Switches and Pedals

Foot trim switches were the third product T-H Marine introduced, and these would evolve into the foot switches and pedals that have been an industry standard with trolling motors for decades.

9. ⚡ With Battery Trays, the Simplest Idea Turned Out to be the Best Idea

As boat designs changed, there wasn’t always a need for a battery box. The old battery boxes could be pretty inconvenient to access, too. That idea led to the creation of battery trays with frame tops as well as battery trays with threaded rods that allowed you to fasten a cross bar down onto the battery. However, there was an even easier solution that would be a standard for decades to come: a simple battery tray that had a quick-disconnect buckle strap across the width.

This subtle design change would be in high demand, lead to tremendous sales, and, best of all, make it incredibly convenient for boaters who needed to remove a battery to replace it, charge it, or store it when winterizing their boat.

10. 🏆 T-H Marine Contributions Have Been Awarded Over 17 Times

Over the years, we’ve prided ourselves as a small-to-medium sized business that can do big things. Those big things have often meant product innovation, but even when a new design isn’t on the horizon, we know we should do good by the industry because a rising tide lifts all boats.

Adverse times come and go, but we can still keep striving to do more. That means, beyond the products, we can serve our customers in a way that assures them of their importance, share knowledge that enriches the outdoor experience, and simply promote the truth of finding joy through fishing and boating.

We’re sincerely thankful for the awards and recognition that we’ve received from OEM customers, partner organizations, industry organizations, and others, and we know it’s our job to keep taking meaningful action to show we’re worthy of such praise.

Let’s Celebrate!

As we observe another year in business, doing what we love, we hope you’ll join in the fun. Stay tuned for updates about our products, savings events, and improvements to our service experiences.