About Us

Oquawka Boats started in 1985 in a garage, with a bet. Delbert Thompson Sr. and his daughter-in-law worked day and night to design and complete the building of a boat. Once, the boat was completed the gentleman that made the bet paid up. This took place thirty-two years ago and the boat is still in use today. This sparked the inspiration of the business we have today, Oquawka Boats. Mother and son help continue the family tradition of Oquawka Boats. We are located in a small town, next to the Mississippi River, in Illinois. We believe in American tradition and family values, and this shows in our business and boats. Our employees are made up of family and friends. We go the extra mile for our customers.


From Detroit, MI, one visit and Carmen fell in love with Oquawka, IL. Carmen was studying to be a nurse when she realized her father in law needed her help to see the dream of Oquawka Boats succeed. Carmen help develop Oquawka Boats in 1992, she brings a warm smile and thirty plus years of boating business to all her customers. Carmen is a hands on type president, she sees every boat from start to finish. " Every single boat that we manufacture is important to me." She takes pride in her family built business, just as she takes pride in being a mother and grandmother. She has watched her company grow from five boats a year to more than five boats a month. Carmen is both proud of her family and her business.

Terry Carr

Sales Manager

Terry came to Oquawka Boats to help her sister-in-law Carmen in the office in October 2002. Terry, "loves her job and getting to work with all the customers and vendors." Every project we do big or small, as a team member of Oquawka Boats we take pride in delivering quality product and service."

As a customer you can look forward with talking to Terry. She begins the process of building the boats. She helps you take what you want and put it into words. Terry will talk with you and start the process of building your boat. Andrew can deliver the picture, but Terry starts the concept.

Andrew Peterson

CAD drawer

After Graduating high school, Andrew served 8 1/2 Years in the US Army, during this time Andrew did two tours in Iraq and another one in Bosnia Herzegovina. Andy furthered his education at Carl Sandburg College. He then graduated with a degree in Engineering drafting and design. Some of his classes consisted of Solidworks Cad/Cam software, Auto CAD Software, CNC Programing and operation, and EnRoute programming. Before finishing college Andrew came to work at Oquawka Boats in 2010. Andrew's favorite part of his job is "seeing a boat go from a customers' concept, computer model, and finally a boat streaking across the water." Andrew enjoys every boat, but his favorite part is, "the beautiful lines."

Andrew is the one who will make your dream boat a reality! Once Terry gives Andrew the paperwork he begins to draw out your boat. Andrew and you will have a few conversations before the boat goes into production. When the time is right Andrew hands the paperwork off to Dennis and sends the rest to the CNC Router, where Brad begins the cutting out of the boat .

dennis yates

Marine Electrician / Technician

Dennis started working in the boating industry in 1977. Dennis came to Oquawka Boats in 1994. Dennis is a proud father of five children and nine grandchildren. He also enjoys hitting the green. He has a 10-handicap in golf. He brings that drive to his work.

Once, Dennis gets the go ahead he begins ordering all the fun parts to your new boat. Anything from a hummingbird to blue LED lights, you want it Dennis will find it and install it. Dennis works with your boat through out the whole process. While Dennis works on getting the equipment, Dean begins to put the boat together.

Dean Nickols

Marine Assembler/Fabricator

Dean started in the boating industry in 1980. He has a degree in drafting and blue print reading. Dean joined the Oquawka Boats team in 2003. Dean is an Army Veteran. Dean's favorite thing is, "anything I haven't done." He takes pride in his work. Dean challenged himself by building his own home by hand!

Once the boat has been cut out Brad gives the parts to Dean and its time to start putting it together. Dean and Blake begin forming your boat. During this process Terry comes over and takes pictures and will send you daily updates on your boat. You get to watch your boat come to life.

Delbert Thompson III

Vice President/Welder/Fabrication shop manager

Delbert's grandfather designed and created the first Oquawka Boat. Delbert was hired in 1997 to weld. He started welding with his dad when he was 8 years old. Delbert's core values, coming from his father, every boat is to be unsinkable and have the best welds. It is important for each boat to be safe, dependable, and appealing to the eye. Delbert is a certified CCE Level II ASNT Welder, he can weld aluminum and steel mig or tig. He is also a fabricator and runs the shop floor. He said, "One of my favorite projects to work on was T-Mack. We created the boats that help clean up the BP's oil spill in 2010. The rushing around, late nights, and completing boats to help the environment. It was satisfying to know that I contributed to the clean up the earth."

Delbert and Dean work together fabricating and welding to start forming your boat. Mike helps Dennis rig all the extra goodies that go in your boat. Tim and Eddie put together your trailer for your boat. Leah creates the vinyl stickers that go on your boat and trailer. Once the boat is complete, Shannon finishes the paperwork for you to get your boat.

Shannon Bigger

Human Resource Manager

Shannon's grandfather help build the first boat. Shannon started working in the office with Terry in 2012. Shannon takes pride in raising her children, being a loving daughter, sister, and continuing the family tradition. She is the friendly voice that answers the phones. She also processes your paperwork for your boat. She makes sure that all the t's are crossed and i's are dotted. When your boat is done Shannon gets the finale paperwork for your boat, motor, and trailer. You can look forward to a phone call from her to arrange the pick up or delivery of your purchase.

We at Oquawka Boats appreciate all our employees and the dedication they bring every day. Also, like to show our appreciation to our employees who are Veterans.

Eddie Wooters, started in 2001, Vietnam Army Veteran, Trailer Builder and Painter

Brad Hunter, started in 2004, Army Ranger Veteran, CNC Tech

Tim Freerksen, started in 2012, Trailer Welder and Painter

Mike Thacker, started in 2013, Marine Rigger

Blake Stewart, started in 2017, Marine Veteran, Welder

Leah McConnell, started in 2017, Graphic Designer

Barbara Thompson, started in 2017, Sales Associate and Communications Manager