A 40th birthday, for those of us past that point, doesn't seem like much of a milestone but, for a boat company, it's a remarkable achievement when you consider the rollercoaster ride of the boating industry over the past four decades.

Flip through the pages of a 1955 boating magazine, and you'll find names that are that are not only long gone but barely remembered. It was just 10 years after World War II ended that a little company called Highway Products was launched in Canby, a suburb of Portland, Oregon.

Taking advantage of the newfangled fiberglass technology as well as the popularity of outboard engines, the company produced a line of car-top and small trailerable boats under the brand name Seaswirl.

By 1961,the company had grown enough to purchased by a larger company, Bramco, which expanded the line during the boating boom of the 1970s. The company grew to the point where they attracted the attention of the huge Outboard Marine Corporation, which was increasing its market share for Johnson and Evinrude outboards by acquiring boat companies and, in 1987, the renamed Seaswirl Boats came under the OMC corporate umbrella.

Now located in Culver, a small town on the Crooked River in mid-Oregon, the 230 person workforce at Seaswirl builds a line of fiberglass runabouts, walkarounds, center consoles and cuddies ranging from 17 up to 25 feet.

Happy anniversary, Seaswirl! We'll look forward to your Golden Anniversary in 2005!