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The Rich Maritime Legacy of Cheoy Lee Boats: A Journey Through Time

For boat enthusiasts and aficionados, the name Cheoy Lee is synonymous with quality, innovation, and elegance. With over a century of experience in shipbuilding, Cheoy Lee has been responsible for producing some of the most recognizable and sought-after vessels in the world. This blog post delves into the history and heritage of Cheoy Lee boats, showcasing their significance in the maritime industry.

A Legacy Born in Shanghai

The Cheoy Lee story began in 1870, when founder Ah Mow, a skilled shipwright, opened a humble shipyard in Shanghai, China. Initially, the company focused on building and repairing commercial sailing vessels made of wood, servicing the local Chinese and international markets.

In the early 20th century, Ah Mow's son, Ah Chor, took over the family business and expanded its offerings. Cheoy Lee began constructing powered vessels, such as steam-powered tugs and coal-fired vessels, to accommodate the growing demand for motorized ships. The company also started to utilize teak and other hardwoods imported from Southeast Asia for its projects, earning a reputation for quality craftsmanship.

The Hong Kong Era

In 1936, Cheoy Lee moved its operations to Hong Kong, seeking greater opportunities and access to international markets. The shipyard quickly established itself as a key player in the industry, known for its innovation and superior quality.

Cheoy Lee's first foray into yacht construction began in the 1950s, when they started producing wooden sailing and motor yachts for the international market. In the 1960s, they embraced fiberglass technology, which revolutionized the industry. They were one of the first companies to use fiberglass in large-scale yacht construction, leading to lighter, stronger, and more cost-effective vessels.

A Pioneer in Innovation and Design

Cheoy Lee has always been at the forefront of innovation and design, collaborating with some of the most prestigious naval architects and designers in the world. They have produced an array of vessels, from commercial ships to luxurious yachts, each showcasing their commitment to craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Some notable Cheoy Lee models include:

  1. The Cheoy Lee Offshore Series: Launched in the 1960s, the Offshore Series comprises elegant cruising yachts, designed by the renowned Raymond C. Hunt and Charles Wittholz. The series features a range of sizes, from 26 to 53 feet, and is known for its timeless, seaworthy designs.

  2. The Cheoy Lee Alpha Series: A line of express cruisers and flybridge yachts, the Alpha Series boasts contemporary styling, luxurious accommodations, and advanced technology. Designed by Michael Peters, these yachts offer a perfect blend of speed, comfort, and sophistication.

  3. The Cheoy Lee Bravo Series: The Bravo Series is a collection of long-range cruising yachts, designed for extended voyages and ocean crossings. With exceptional fuel efficiency and seaworthiness, these yachts feature a semi-displacement hull design, offering both performance and comfort.

Environmental Commitment

Cheoy Lee has a strong commitment to sustainability and environmental preservation. In 2010, they launched the Cheoy Lee Green Shipyard Initiative, aimed at reducing the environmental impact of their shipbuilding process. This initiative includes the use of solar power, waste reduction, and the implementation of eco-friendly materials and technologies in their vessels.


With a history that spans over 150 years, Cheoy Lee has become a symbol of quality, innovation, and elegance in the maritime world. By embracing new technologies and collaborating with world-renowned designers, they continue to produce vessels that are both breathtaking and functional. Whether you are a boat enthusiast, yacht owner, or simply someone who apprec

iates fine craftsmanship, Cheoy Lee boats represent the pinnacle of nautical excellence.

Today, Cheoy Lee remains a family-owned and operated company, with the fifth generation at the helm, continuing their dedication to innovation, quality, and customer satisfaction. Their extensive range of vessels caters to diverse preferences, whether it's a luxurious motor yacht for leisurely cruising or a high-performance express cruiser for thrilling adventures.

As we look towards the future, it is clear that Cheoy Lee will continue to lead the industry, pioneering new technologies and setting new benchmarks in design and craftsmanship. Their unwavering commitment to excellence ensures that Cheoy Lee boats will remain a cherished part of the maritime landscape for generations to come.

The rich history and enduring legacy of Cheoy Lee boats serve as a testament to their dedication to excellence in the maritime industry. With a reputation built on superior craftsmanship, innovative design, and a commitment to sustainability, Cheoy Lee continues to shape the future of boatbuilding and create vessels that capture the hearts and imaginations of boating enthusiasts around the world. 

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