News & Projects

Fishing to Remember Taylor Harrison


Every year, the Dare County Boat Builders Foundation hosts the Carolina Boat Builders Fishing Tournament to raise funds for prospective and current college students to further their education, in memory of Taylor Harrison.

In 2003, Taylor Harrison, a respected and talented boat builder in the Dare County Community, lost his battle with cancer, leaving behind two children. During his life, Harrison was an advocate for continued education and known as a friend to all in the community. After his passing, John Bayliss and Mike Merritt wanted to help Harrison’s children with upcoming education expenses. They began an offshore fishing tournament featuring Dare County boat builders to fund a scholarship for the two children.

Once the tournament gathered enough financial support, the scholarship program expanded in 2007 to continue aiding families in the community through the newly established Dare County Boat Builders Foundation. Each year, the foundation awards financial aid to those seeking assistance in obtaining a degree in higher education through the annual Carolina Boat Builders Fishing Tournament. The Dare County Boat Builders Foundation’s goal is to “support educational opportunities for students” while developing, encouraging, and promoting “public awareness of the historical and cultural heritage of boat building in Dare County.”

We at Western Branch Diesel are honored to be a sponsor of this year’s 16th Annual Tournament. We will be in Manteo, NC at the Pirate’s Cove Marina Tournament Pavilion from July 24th to the 27th, eager to meet with boat builders and answer any questions regarding MTU and Volvo Penta marine engines.

Additionally, we would like to recognize and thank our partners for their continued friendship and support as they participate in next week’s tournament: Bayliss BoatworksBlackwell BoatsBriggs BoatworksCroswait CustomHarrison BoatworksMann Custom BoatsScarborough Boatworks, and Spencer Yachts.

We wish all the participants luck and are looking forward to the tournament later this week!