Approved Marine is one of a long line of boating traditions in the Carman family. Dating back to the 1930’s, Wes Carman, Sr. (Wesley’s grandfather) was a boat racer, racing in the 1935 Albany to New York Marathon down the Hudson River. He finished 5th driving a Lyman outboard runabout. Wes Carman, Jr. (Wes’s father) following in his father’s footsteps and became a boat racer himself, racing the Expediter. He founded Wes Carman’s Marine in the late 60’s. He later launched the HydroHoist Dealership in 1978 when Douglas Carman (his son) helped Harold Rutter, a relative of the founder of HydroHoist, assemble a boatlift for a friend. When the process was finalized he proceeded to build a second boatlift for his own personal boat. This led to an interesting and successful venture with HydroHoist.
In 1980, Wes Carman III and his brother Douglas Carman took over the family business and created W.D. Marine. In that time they were named Dealer of the Year for HydroHoist in 1986, and were placed as the Top Three Dealership in 1987, 88, and 89.
It wasn’t until 1995 that Approved Marine Inc. was created, still a dealership of HydroHoist but as a separate company. As a family, Wesley Carman III, his wife Becky Carman, his brother Douglas and their father Wes Carman Sr. have been serving the boating community in Freeport as well as providing HydroHoists and HydroPort to the Northeast region of the US.
Wes Carman, Sr. was an avid member of the Freeport community, holding the position of president of the Freeport Chamber of Commerce. It wasn’t until his tragic battle with cancer that he died in August of 2005. Since then the Carman family has been an active member of the Chamber of Commerce.
Wesley Carman III has been working in the boating industry since he was very young. He continued the Wes Carman tradition of hydroplane racing, performing in such races as the Dayton Hydro Globe 1980 Nationals, The Red Bank National Sweepstakes Regatta 1985, National Modified “Thunder in the Hills” 1997 in Rocky Fork Lake Hillsboro, Ohio, and the National Modified 1998 Summer Nationals in Hampton, Virginia.
On top of all this he became a top mechanic in Freeport. He is Mercruiser certified, as well as a master welder. Wes has also become a licensed Captain, an accomplished scuba diver, diving on numerous wrecks such as the Andrea Doria, German Submarine U-853, Republic, and the Oregon, as well as becoming recently involved in world of cave diving.
Douglas Carman is very knowledgeable on HydroHoist/HydroPort installations. With 31 years experience, he is quick with repairs as well as unusual dock installations. He had the wonderful opportunity to put in a HydroHoist for former President George H.W. Bush.
Becky Carman was no stranger to the boating world before becoming a part of the Carman marina business. Her grandfather Tudor Owen (“Ted”) Jones had the greatest influence on post-World War II unlimited hydroplane racing. Between 1950 and 1966, Jones-designed unlimiteds won 75 major races, including 14 Gold Cups, and claimed an unprecedented 10 consecutive National High Point championships. In addition to Slo-Mo, Jones designed Shanty I (his personal favorite), Maverick, Miss Thriftway, Miss Bardahl, Miss Wahoo, Hawaii Kai III and others. Jones was put on the map when Slo-Mo IV set a mile straightaway record of 160.323 miles per hour on Lake Washington Sand Point. Her father, Ronald Jones, revolutionized the sport dramatically throughout his years. Starting in high school, Jones built Limited hydroplanes in 1950. He later built his first Unlimited, the Miss Bardahl, which his dad had designed, in 1958. The boat won its first race, the Lake Chelan Apple Cup, and went on to win the Season High Point Championship. By far the most successful of his boats was the famed “Winged Wonder” Pay ‘n Pak, which ranks among the all-time great Thunderboats with 22 race victories. It stands with Ron’s other big winner, the 1980 Rolls-Royce Griffon-powered Miss Budweiser, which likewise captured 22 first-place trophies.
Becky met Wesley while his boat was in her father’s shop in Seattle in 1979. The rest is history.