History

TIME-TESTED DESIGNS. UPDATED MATERIALS. A LIFETIME OF MEMORIES.

For more than 45 years anglers, adventurers and river runners have been using Ray’s River Dories to get them to that perfect spot on the water. Built using the same timeless designs and handcrafted attention to detail, the natural beauty of a Ray’s River Dory means that you’re rowing a drift boat with a deep connection to Oregon’s fabled wooden boat legacy and handles the river as comfortably and beautifully now as it did nearly five decades ago.    

1960’s

Our founder, Ray Heater, grew up on the Oregon Coast in a family that was involved with the wood products industry since the turn of the century. Ray spent much of his youth boating and fishing on the coastal Oregon rivers, taking his first-hand river running experience and applying it to his original boat models, functionalities and designs. Everything Ray developed informs each boat we build today. Currently, Ray is happily retired in Bend, Oregon.

1980’s

Ray met Cyrus Happy—a fishing guide on the Deschutes River—in the late 1980’s and a lasting friendship was formed over a shared love of fishing and wooden boats. Cyrus grew up on the lakes around Puget Sound with boating in his blood. Prior to guiding, Cy had worked as a luthier, building and repairing acoustic instruments. This experience brought his unique woodworking skill to Ray’s River Dory boat construction. Cy decided that life was too short to spend any more river time in anything but a wood boat so Cy and Ray officially teamed up in 1988.

 2020’s

David Hayes grew up in Portland where a love of fishing and boating rivers started at age 6. Dave’s father took him steelhead and salmon fishing throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, most often exploring rivers and estuaries from a wooden boat. As he continued to grow up, Dave’s devotion to fishing was matched only by his passion for working with his hands and creating in the wood shop. This led him to co-own and operate a home construction business for over a decade where he primarily focused on finish carpentry. Today, Cy and Dave work together in the shop to carry on the legacy of expert craftsmanship and timeless design that Ray Heater established in 1975. They work at the beautiful and practical intersection where function and form merge, a signature of every Ray’s River Dory boat.