Identifying a Lakensea/Lake ‘n Sea boat can be rewarding and accurate if you use the following steps.
Step 1. If your boat is a 1956-1957 Lakensea Boat Corporation (manufactured for Southern Plastics Corporation) look for the red and white Lakensea Boat serial data sticker located on the inside of the engine well facing toward the stern and/or the Lakensea brand sticker located on either side of the boat toward the stern with the words “Boca Raton, Florida” in the bottom portion of the “L”.
The Lakensea Boat models might also include two types of Plexiglas windshield corner hardware. Some surviving boats have simple corner hardware and at least one has more elaborate corner hardware that includes a small, separate piece of hinged Plexiglas that serves as a vent for circulation. These elaborate windshield hardware corners also appear on some Chris-Craft-made models and might have been a late year style change made by the original company before the 1957 sale. Neither company or the much later Parsons Corporation brochures include these corners. They might also have been aftermarket additions or replacements.
Lastly, the Lakensea models have a distinctive transom that did not survive in the Chris-Craft-made boats. The deck piece curves down on the transom where the outboard motor would rest and the curves back up whereas it is straight across on the Chris-Craft and Parsons Corporation-built boats.
Step 2. The 1957 Chris-Craft Corporation era 15-ft. Pleasure Runabout also used a sticker on both sides of the boat near the stern. Chris-Craft models are branded as Lake ‘n Sea and include the words “Chris-Craft Corporation” in the sticker inside the tail of the “S”.
The Chris-Craft models might also include a serial data number inside the transom or elsewhere that looks like this: L-S-15-A2001- through L-S-15A-2266-. In all 266 hulls were made.
After the January 7, 1958 purchase of the 15-ft Lake ‘n Sea molds and trademark from the Chris-Craft Corporation by the Parsons Corporation, Parsons kept the model name and even the brochure for the 1958 model year. They also retained the boca white deck color and colorful hull colors.
If you are lucky, you might find a small, metal serial data tag with numbers stamped into it on the inside of the transom which identifies it as a 1958 model. Those numbers will read like this: 8400-0000. For the 1959 and 1960 model years 15-ft Pleasure Runabout as changed to the Biscayne model. The Lake ‘n Sea stickers changed to a metal name plate and the hull number was stamped on the inside of the metal transom protector upside down like the image below.
The 1958 Parsons Corporation era stickers are identical to the Chris-Craft era and include the manufacturer’s name in the “S”, too, but reads “Division Parsons Corporation.”
For the 1959 model year they changed the model name to the 15-ft Biscayne, flipped the color scheme for the deck and hull pieces, and added a Lake ‘n Sea metal name plate which includes “Division Parsons Corporation” in small letters below the logo. If you don’t see that name then you have a 1961 Michigan Fiberglass Company era boat since they used the same name plate style, but deleted the corporation for obvious reasons, by grinding out the the “Division Parsons Corporation” wording. Like the serial data plates they must have received extra name plates and reused them.
The 1959-1960 models include an aluminum windshield bracket in the shape of a triangle and the windshield will have an aluminum strip around it. Factory memos from the Parsons Corporation list the windshields used on their boats as being made by the N.A. Taylor Company, Inc. of Gloversville, New York (Model 272FV and later Model 7217).
Step 3. If those pieces are missing, which is not unusual, try the serial data plate which should be located in the front cockpit, usually on the opposite side of the steering wheel and shift/throttle control. If it is there, it will either say Parsons Corporation or Michigan Fiberglass Company. One owner’s boat has BOTH plates on it. The Parsons Corporation serial data plate was mounted on the starboard side while the stamped Michigan Fiberglass Company plate was mounted on the port side. Since Michigan Fiberglass made boats for Parsons in 1960 (the last four numbers up to 999 were made in Traverse City by Parsons and numbers 1000-on were made by Michigan Fiberlglass Company but still sold under the Parsons name).
If you are lucky enough to find a serial data plate, from either company, then you should look for stamped hull numbers on the plate. I have not found one boat, yet, that had the hull numbers stamped anywhere else, except for the Biscayne model, which is stamped on the transom protector where the outboard motor would rest or inside the transom on a small metal plate. Most likely both companies opted to make the boats and then stamp them once they had been ordered or sold just in case they had to hold them over to the next model year, when they would stamp the hull with a different year number, at least that is the case with the Parsons Corporation-built boats. If your boat’s hull number starts with a “9” it was built in 1959 or the last months of 1958 for inclusion the 1959 model year, just like car manufactures do (14-ft Caribbean = 9475 #### or 16-ft Arrowhead = 9575 ####. If it starts in a “0” then it was built in 1960 or the last part of 1959 (16′ Arrowhead = 0575 ####). One instance seems to prove that they also made at least one model in 1961, a 15-ft Biscayne, with a Parsons Corporation serial data plate and name plate has been documented with the hull number 10932168. This information comes right from the Blue Book for outboard boats, 1963, which also lists, as does a boating magazine article from 1960, the four models made that year. They included: 15-ft Biscayne, lengthened in name only 15-ft Caribbean, lengthened in name only 17-ft Arrowhead and lengthened in name only 19-ft Saratoga. The 12-ft Manistee and 14-ft Au Sable models were discontinued as was the 18-ft Grand Traverse model. Only two Grand Traverse cruisers were made. One was sold to a dealer at the 1959 New York Boat Show, never to be seen again. The second one was still in inventory in late 1959 but its location is unknown.
No listing for Michigan Fiberglass Company was found in that same publication, but there is a numbering system you can use. The Caribbean models = 5### (5038). The Arrowhead models = 7### (7023). That makes it simple to identify, but does not give a particular year for you to date your boat. Other than they made boats, for sure, in 1961, your boat could date anywhere from 1961-1963. Examples of post 1961 Lake ‘n Sea boats have yet to surface if they were ever made.
Step 4. One of the most striking differences of the Lake ‘n Sea boat line is the addition of the 1960 patented transom design introduced by the Parsons Corporation in the 1959 model year. This ribbed design was used on the Caribbean and Arrowhead models through 1961. The larger Saratoga and Grand Traverse models used a grid like design.
The small 15-ft Pleasure Runabout/Biscayne model retained the same transom design from 1958-1961 and resembles the Chris-Craft-built models.
A rare 1959 14-ft Au Sable model will have a transom with the raised outline but not the separate louvered detail piece, like one shown below.
Step 5. If the previous four steps do not help you in identifying your boat as a Lakensea/Lake ‘n Sea then contact Geoffrey Reynolds at email@example.com and I will work with you.