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Owens Yachts is a family-owned business that dates to the early 20th century. Mr. Owens started the custom boat-building business in 1925 and built about 20 boats per year. After his death in 1933, the business passed to his three sons: John “Jack” B. Owens, Charles Owens Jr. and Norman Owens. In 1936, John and his brothers purchased 8 acres on Bear Creek in Dundalk, where they built a state-of-the-art industrial plant. They adapted the mass-production methods used by the auto industry to boat building. John Owens was in charge of the company's finances and purchasing, Charles was in charge of advertising and sales and Norman designed the boats. During its first year in Dundalk, 50 employees built 40 single-design cabin cruisers, and in 1940, 275 workers constructed 150 boats. Their first major new product was a 32-foot Owens Cruiser that gained the attention of the public and press at the 1937 New York Boat Show. In a 2007 Style Magazine article, Mary K. Zajac wrote that Owens was known for using top-quality materials in their boats such as "white oak for the stern and framing, copper and brass fastenings, and mahogany imported from the Philippines for planking and finishing work."

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