If you spend much time on the Lower Laguna Madre you will notice plenty of Dargel boats on the water. The company, based in Donna, has been around for 75 years, and they are the oldest family owned boat manufacturer in Texas and the second oldest in the nation.
Cleve Ford, Owner of Dargel Boats,Dargel started in 1937 as a company.
My wife's great uncle, Russell Dargel, he built his first boat in 1933, and with that first boat he just got the love of building boats.
Word quickly spread around the Rio Grande Valley that Rusty Dargel built quality boats, and soon he has so many customers clamoring for boats that the family farm took a backseat to boat building.
In the 50's he started working on a scooter design that Dargel became famous for, and the first production scooter became available in 1958.
The scooter or shallow running bay boat was especially designed fro the shallow waters of the Lower Laguna Madre, which has an average depth of approximately three feet or less.
Dargel's innovative hydra lift tunnel design opened up a new world of skinny water access.
Back then he was just building a few boats a year, because he was building them himself, and now we are building about 140 boats a year, and the goal is to build 252 boats a year.
Dargel boats loyal customer base continues to increase as their wide variety of boats all share precise attention to detail.
Dargel's about families, putting families on the water and having fun and getting out here and just enjoying the outdoors.