He’s no Russian oligarch, mind you. But when it comes to aquatic motorcraft, nobody in country music or much of anywhere else has ol’ Alan Jackson beat. And no, we’re not just talking about the sheer size or glitz factor of some super yacht with a helipad and servant’s quarters. Forget that nonsense. This is Alan Jackson we’re talking about, after all. So you know his collection of boats will be impressive, but most importantly, it will include a lot of country soul.
Specifically, Alan Jackson prefers wooden boats, or boats with wooden accents, including vintage ones.
Alan Jackson had a huge summer hit in 1993 with the song “Chattahoochee,” and in 1996 he bought a Hickman Wooden Boat Works Gentleman’s Racer model off the royalties, and had it custom inlaid with the the name “Hoochie Coochie, TN,” taken from the “Chattahoochee” song.
The 26-foot speedboat was built with all wood accents inside and out, and is capable of speeds of 57 mph. Though it’s the smallest boat in the Alan Jackson fleet, it’s arguably one of the coolest, with the picture of Jackson behind the wheel (see above) since becoming prolific.
But that’s not the only wooden boat Alan Jackson has owned. “Flat Top” is an vintage collector’s item, and thanks to Alan Jackson, it has forever been preserved. Originally built in 1955 by Chris-Craft, it is 29-foot semi-enclosed wooden boat. Jackson purchased the boat in 2002 when it was in poor condition, and had it transported to Tennessee so that Hickman Boat Works (the same folks that made “Hoochie Coochie”) could do extensive restoration and repairs on the boat.
“Flat Top” is named for the type of flat top guitar Alan Jackson plays, and the boat is both rare and historically significant. It was one of only 36 made, and it took three years for Hickman Boat Works to restore it to original condition. Now this is where the story “Flat Top” and Alan Jackson gets even more cool. Instead of speeding around the lakes of Tennessee in the boat, Alan Jackson donated it to the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, New York in 2013.
“The museum is grateful for Mr. Jackson’s gift of this remarkable boat, and for his continuing dedication to America’s boating history,” said Emmett Smith, the museum’s curator at the time. “Mr. Jackson has been a leader in restoring some of these classics and it is astonishing to see them appreciated by a musician who operates at the highest level of contemporary popular culture.”
“Flat Top” is still on display at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, New York, with a cardboard cutout of Jackson hanging out in the back. And though there’s is no other public record of Alan Jackson’s aquatic altruism, it seems to be at least a possibility that he’s rescued and restored other wooden boats over the years, and made sure they’re preserved for future generations.
But the flagship of the Alan Jackson fleet is the boat called “Hullbilly.” It was made famous in the video for the song “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” with Jimmy Buffett. Basically, the entire video is based around the boat.
But it truth, there hasn’t been just one “Hullbilly.” It’s the continuous name of Alan Jackson’s big ocean fishing boat. It is believed that there have been as many as four separate models of the “Hullbilly,”—a 45-foot model, a 60-foot model, a 68-foot model, and a 75-foot model—all top-of-the-line sport fishing vessels made by Merritt, according to Off The Hook Yachts.
All of Alan Jackson “Hullbilly” models look similar with multi-story fishing decks, multiple cabins, and rear wood accents, calling back to Jackson’s admiration for vintage wooden boats. The one from the “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” video was the 75-foot model made in 2003 by Merritt, and it was eventually sold to a charter company.
Perhaps the reason that Alan Jackson continues to get new models of the “Hullbilly” and eventually sells them is because after he’s owned the vessels, the resale value goes up. In fact, recently a brand new version of “Hullbilly” was just placed on the market according to Northrop & Johnson for a cool $8.2 million. It is a 68-foot model of the boat built in 2022, and the description says,
“HULLBILLY” is a one of kind cold molded 68 footer. This boat is hull #110 by Merritt’s and was built for a very knowledgeable owner who has had many previous Merritt’s and other boats as well. Finished in late 2022 and barely used with only 146 hours. With a replacement value of over $9 million dollars and a seven year wait for a new boat this makes an incredible opportunity for someone in the custom boat market.
We’ll just assume that the “very knowledgeable owner” is the one and only Alan Jackson. The boat has four staterooms and three heads. And of course it includes the “Hullbilly” name inlaid in the back, forever tying it to the Alan Jackson legacy. The boat name is so iconic, when you got to Alan Jackson’s “AJ’s Good Time Bar on Lower Broadway in Nashville, the main bar is built like a replica of the back of “Hullbilly.”
Obviously, boating has been a big part of Alan Jackson’s life. But with his recent diagnosis of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease that has affected his motor skills, Jackson just may not be spending as much time out on the boat fishing as before. Also, Alan Jackson’s son-in-law also died in 2018 after falling from a boat pier and hitting his head.
Either way, Alan Jackson’s enthusiasm for boating hasn’t just been a good way to spend all the money he’s made minting 26 #1 singles and selling some 75 million records. It’s something he’s also given back to, preserving the history of vintage wood hulled boats, not dissimilar to his efforts to preserve country music in it’s original and organic form.