BOATERS OF INTEREST
ANTHONY INSWASTY PHOTOS
Mark Castlow, owner of Dragonfly Boatworks in Vero Beach, loves building custom boats for people who appreciate quality.
BY KERRY FIRTH
Mark Castlow is a man who, by his own admission, has
never had a job. He’s the quintessential entrepreneur
who started making and selling surf boards at
age 16 and has lived his dream building and selling boats
and boards for his entire life. Now, at age 70, he owns
and operates Dragonfly Boatworks in Vero Beach, which
specializes in building near-shore fishing boats for people
who appreciate quality.
“Our clients want something totally unique, designed for
their individual needs,” Castlow said. “It’s like getting a tailormade
custom suit versus buying one off the rack. No two boats
are the same and each one being built already has a name on it.
We combine purposeful design with exceptional components
and place them in the hands of master craftsmen.”
Castlow founded Dragonfly Boatworks in 2007, but he’s
spent his lifetime in, around and on the water. The native
Floridian grew up in South Miami and had sand in his toes
with his first step. As a teen, Castlow learned how to ride the
waves, surfing up and down the Florida coast. He loved the
sport so much that he started his own surf shop, creating a
line of surfboards and branding them Atlantis.
Surfing took him on adventures near and far where he met
people from all walks of life. His compassionate nature has
taught him more about human-to-human interaction than he
ever would have learned in college had he stayed the course.
“I was going to Miami Dade and studying to become an
architect,” Castlow said. “I was on track to be the in-house
architect for my father’s construction company. I excelled, but
I just wasn’t happy. When I told my father that I wanted to
build surfboards for a living he encouraged me to follow my
dream and I’ve never looked back.”
Castlow fondly remembers flying out to Hawaii with four
surfboards and $500 to his name. He bought a station wagon
for $200, loaded up and headed to Oahu’s North Shore
where he surfed and built boards to support himself for a
couple of years.
TREASURE COAST BOATING