Andrew Jackson Higgins
Founder of Higgins Industries, New Orleans, LA

Higgins boats, almost forgotten, are now being brought back to life by dedicated individuals. Some of them served on Higgins PT boats and landing craft, but others are being restored by people that know about the true story of what Higgins Industries did for the world. These pleasure craft and military vessels are very rare and fall deep into the heart of their restorers.

Andrew J. Higgins had a vision, a drive, a passion that kept him going through good times and bad. Born in Columbus, Nebraska in 1886, he had a love for boats that would last him all of his life. A tough man that developed some of the first work boats that could navigate commercially in shallow waters, named Eureka “tunnel drive” vessels.

After moving to New Orleans (the hub of the world), a port where it made naval shipping possible, Higgins Industries was born. Higgins wooden boats developed quite a reputation for their toughness in the Southern climate. They were very effective in the swamp waters of Louisiana. Andrew Jackson Higgins and Higgins Industries grew from being a small Southern boat company to owning and operating seven large plants, employing 30,000 employees at one point in their operation. During WW II, Higgins Industries was the largest producer of landing craft and PT boats for this country, even blocking off city streets in New Orleans to build those boats that our country so desperately needed.

So many ideas and so many inventions came from Higgins Industries that we take for granted today. Higgins Industries not only built PT Boats and Landing craft, but also trained naval officers and personnel how to use their boats. During the war, Higgins Industries was awarded the largest government contract during WW II to produce assault craft that would ensure our country’s efforts in winning the fight.

Higgins military craft were fast and the design of the LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel) allowed our troops to be landed onto the beaches of Normandy and other places throughout the Meditereanean and Pacific theaters of war. Higgins Industries employed some of the greatest people…. people dedicated to the cause of winning the war. In Jerry Strahan's book, “Andrew Jackson Higgins And The Boats That Won WWII”, President Eisenhower was said to have referred to Andrew J. Higgins as “the man who won the war for us”. Higgins boats were the perfect vessel for the war front. Congress has recently commissioned a Gold Medal of Honor for Andrew Jackson Higgins to recognize the efforts of all the workers and his work during the war.

Higgins pleasure craft were designed after their big Brothers the PT Boats. If you have the honor to see a Higgins at a boat show, you will know it when you see it. They are different with their left hand steering, floor accelerator pedals (one of Higgins trademarks) and their shift levers on the columns, just as you would find in an automobile.

There are only about 200 Higgins pleasure craft left , so if you see one, consider yourself lucky. They drive different, they look different, they are beautifully designed and well thought out, not just a cheap plywood boat put together, but one that was built by the many hands that also built the Landing Craft and PT Boats during the war.

The Higgins Classic Boat Association is a group of Higgins pleasure craft owners dedicated to the preservation and restoration of Higgins boats from around the world. encourage you to visit the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans and the Andrew Jackson Memorial in Columbus, Nebraska.

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