The brainchild of Robert Henderson, MacRiver Boats concept was hatched many years ago on an isolated British Columbia grizzly bear path! Bob had been dropped off by float plane at the head of Butte Inlet for a solo week-long wilderness camping adventure. The beach might have offered a good tent site; however the incoming tide soon made that impractical. Above high tide, the only available site was a fairly worn trail.
While he slept like a babe the first night, the second night, he was awakened by a snuffling outside the tent and all thought of sleep vanished. Five more nights before the float plane returned – he was not a happy camper!
For the remainder of his trip, he spent his days puttering around in his small Zodiac inflatable dreaming of ways to pitch a tent on a boat. The idea of a floating camp grew from the initial concern for safety into a platform that not only would add comfort but also would make camp breakdown so much faster and easier.
Over the years, the camp boat concept mostly went on the back burner—until it was time for a personal adventure trip down the Mackenzie River in Canada’s Northwest Territories. That is when the first “Expedition” boat was built.
EXPEDITION Mk1 was constructed as a contained, 20-foot raft fitted with a car-top shelter, galley, rowing station, overhead canopy and outboard motor.
The concept has since been refined and redefined. Today MacRiver Boats offers a unique series of inflatable pontoon-based boats that provide maximum freedom of movement, safety, and comfort for people of all ages and mobility levels. Whether you’re boating with a baby, or a loved-one confined to a wheelchair, we have the accessories and adaptations necessary to make your adventure better than you ever imagined! From fishing to camping, duck hunting, photography, scuba diving or big game hunters’ base camp, these vessels can be outfitted for most every type of outdoor, water-based adventure.
While each boat model has its own form and function, they do, obviously, have some common architectural features—an aluminum pipe frame with patented fittings; inflatable pontoon tubes for flotation; proprietary paneling for flooring; transportability; and breakdown into manageable units for storage and remote transport.
Bob attended Oregon State University, the University of Montana, and the University of Washington in undergraduate and graduate programs specializing in mechanical engineering. He spent 15 years in British Columbia as a research scientist for the Canadian Forestry Service and as a faculty member at the University of British Columbia where he was responsible for the forest fire management program.
Bob developed a contracting firm in the forest fire field, served as an expert witness and forest fire investigator and finally did extensive consulting for a major Canadian bank division based in Hong Kong. Much of the forest fire contracting was in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Canadian National Parks and remote areas of British Columbia and Alberta. A passion for the great rivers and lakes of this area provided the spark for the concept of MacRiver Boats.
Fiona Macdonald Henderson
Fiona was born in Scotland and has a degree in English and Psychology. She worked in university administration before moving to the United States and launching a successful career in the newspaper industry. She worked both in advertising and editorial fields, becoming general manager and editor of a high-growth weekly newspaper before retiring to spend more time in the family stone business.
In recent years, Fiona has developed a passion for wildlife photography. She sees The EXPEDITION as a perfect vehicle to transport her into some of the country’s most beautiful and remote places and looks forward to recording those experiences in a MacRiver Boats ADVENTURE BLOG.
John’s role in our organization is constantly evolving as we discover more and more of his valuable skill sets! He impresses everyone with his infectious smile, easy charm, low-key salesmanship and get-it-done attitude.
John was born in CA and then moved to OR, trading in beach-bum life for mountain-bum life as he so characteristically puts it! His love of the outdoors and fitness led him to attend college in Bend on a decathlon scholarship. He served four years in the Air Force where he obviously nurtured a love of flying, later training as a commercial pilot.
In recent years, John has sported the “brown,” working as a local and much-loved UPS driver. More than a few of his “customers” have stopped by to tell us just how much they miss him and how fortunate we are to have him working for us! And yes, we already know that!
Jacob graduated from MSU in 2017 with a dual degree in mechanical engineering and mechanical engineering technology. He most recently was employed as a field engineer and assistant project manager for an electrical construction company in Billings, MT, working on various wind farm projects.
Jacob grew up in Wasilla, Alaska, moving to Bozeman in 2012 to pursue his degrees. During college he had summer jobs working for local machine shops with an interest in manufacturing. He also spent some time doing amateur fabrication with friends.
Jacob likes to spend his free time wrenching on cars, racing mountain bikes, and skiing around Montana. A self-professed “engi-nerd” at heart, he is looking forward to applying his engineering and project management skills here at MacRiver Boats.
Mike graduated from the University of Colorado at Denver with a bachelor’s degree in political science. After college he went to work as a sales manager for a building supply company and in 2017 acquired his own manufacturer’s rep agency, turning it into a successful multi-million-dollar company serving the Rocky Mountain region.
Mike is based in Colorado and is active in all markets. When he is not being a road warrior, he can be found chasing trout with a flyrod in Colorado or Montana.
Combining his innate sales skills with his passion for flyfishing, the position of sales director at MacRiver Boats is a perfect fit.
Kenna has worked for MacRiver Boats since she was a senior in Belgrade High School. She has a commendable work ethic and is a fast learner – just two of the many qualities that have made her a valuable member of our team.
Currently Kenna is attending Carroll College in Helena on a softball scholarship and is pursuing a degree in Biology. With a huge interest in math and science she aspires to be a biomedical engineer.
In her free time, she loves the outdoors and spending time with friends and family.
She enjoys working at MacRiver Boats because “I love challenging my brain and getting creative!”
Tayler is going to be a senior at Belgrade High School this year. Like her cousin, Kenna, she has worked for MacRiver Boats after school and during summers since she was a junior. She too has inherited the Thomas work ethic and fast learning skills.
She was born and raised in Belgrade and is a star athlete for the Panthers, helping (along with Kenna) to lead the girl’s softball team to win the Class AA softball varsity championship in 2021.
Tayler plans to study medicine at college.
She likes working at MacRiver Boats “because I get to learn something new every day and I also get to see how happy everyone is when they see our boats!”