40 Years and 10 Grady-Whites: Joe Besnard's Grady Fanatic Story
When Joe Besnard and his wife began their search for a boat, they were focused on safety. They wanted a boat that would not only be good for fishing but also for spending the day on the water with their five-year-old son. Planning for more children in their future, they also wanted a place where a baby could get out of the sun and nap. Having heard about the seaworthiness of Grady-White boats, they purchased a 20-foot walkaround cabin, the Gulfstream 205 in 1979. A year later their daughter was born, and the boat they purchased with a growing family in mind served them well. “We loved this boat! It did everything we needed and brought us home safely every time,” noted Joe.
As the children grew, the cabin became unnecessary, leading Joe to purchase a 20-foot Grady-White center console Fisherman 204 in 1990. Not only did he enjoy driving a center console, he liked that this boat offered a better setup for fishing. The family caught a lot of fish and enjoyed snorkeling and other boating activities as they trailered this boat all over Florida, including the Keys.
When Grady-White came out with the 24-foot center console with a stand-up head in 1996, it was time for the Besnards to invest in a new boat, and they quickly purchased the Advance 247–their first twin engine boat. It ran smoothly in chop and was very fast, making it great for offshore fishing trips. It was while he owned this boat that Joe noted how well Grady-White’s boats held up in the sun and salt air. “Grady uses the best stainless,” said Joe, “and their fiberglass keeps looking good for years.”
After buying a house on the Anclote River in 2000 and using the boat more for day cruising around the many islands off the west coast of Florida, they traded the center console for a Tournament 223, a 22-foot dual console. This boat was designed with better and more comfortable seating options and offered room for not only their family but also the many friends the children often brought with them.
In 2003, they traded the 223 for a newer version of the same model. This new boat included a bracket-mounted motor and full transom, but what really sold Joe on the new model were the many upgrades Grady was adding to the boats. This boat was even better looking and more comfortable than the previous boats they had owned. More amenities became standard, and while they still made good fishing boats, Grady was now focusing even more on family comforts as well.
Today the Besnards are grandparents to five grandchildren and recently purchased their 8th Grady-White–a 2019 Freedom 285. While Joe only has a few hours on her, he has already exclaimed, “This is my best Grady ever!” Joe shares that the family's brand loyalty comes from their experience and the fact that Grady-White makes safe, durable boats that stand up very well in the harsh saltwater environment. “I’m sure we will enjoy this Grady like the many others we have owned,” says Joe. And true to family form, when Joe’s son was ready to purchase his first boat, what did he buy? A 20-foot center console, the Grady-White Fisherman 209, of course. Family tradition, living The Grady Life!