In late 1954, seventeen individuals came together and discussed having a boat club on the Ipswich River that catered to recreational boaters having a similar interest in boats and wanting to launch each outing versus having a slip or mooring. These seventeen individuals are the charter members. They met at the Paine School at Lord’s Square in Ipswich. These charter members are: Elmer Barth, E. Abel Beaulieu, John Chase, Wayne Eustace, Elmer Dunbar, Herbert MacKinney, John Pickard, Raymond Poirier, Angelo Johnson, Willis Lyman, Richard Ford, Walter Martineau, Fred Saulnier, Louis Saulnier, Ralph Saulnier, Richard Sutherland, and Wilfred Martel, Jr.

• On April 17, 1956, The Ipswich Outboard Club was formed as a non-profit organization under the provisions of Massachusetts Chapter 180. Immediately, land was leased from John Horsman on Water Street (the lower parking lot area) and the ramp area was leased from Ernest Stone. Launching boats started right away for about 30 members and directors. Membership was $10 per year.

• In 1956, land was purchased on County Street for a price of $7500.00 from Dexter and Doris Brown. This land is located from the middle of the present I.O.C. parking lot extending to County Street. A loan of $7500.00 was taken at the Ipswich Savings Bank for ten years.  Almost the entire upper half of the parking lot was wooded and did not allow any access or parking. Only the lower lot and ramp could be used.

• In the late 50’s and early 60’s, the river was dredged from the I.O.C. to the wharf for better access. Ledge between the I.O.C. and Melanson’s was blasted and removed. At the same time, railroad ties were placed as a retaining wall upriver of the ramp and backfill was brought in to make what is now the gravel loading area next to the ramp. Many other members and volunteers helped in these events.

• In the mid 60’s, catwalks, gangways, and floats were built and installed at the ramp for easier access. Later in 1975, the catwalks and cement pilings had to be replaced due to a cold winter and ice destroying the structures. Ron Cameron and Ken Blades, who were directors in 1975, constructed the new catwalks and John Singer installed the new pilings. The cement pilings still stand today.

• In 1981, the club was able to attain a permit to dredge the river at the end of the ramp. The dredging was performed to allow better access. The dredging was later done again in 1990 and 1999.

• In 1985, the club attempted to clear the top lot of trees and debris, but was stopped by town officials who issued a cease and desist order after some nieghbors complained. The town felt this was a wetland area and should not be disturbed. After a civil engineer and the State of Massachusetts representative inspected the property, the I.O.C. was granted all permission to clear the lot. Many board and regular members assisted in the event to keep costs down. The membership could now be increased from 120 to 200 members.

In 1997, the lower lot was purchased from the Stone Family for $44,000. The membership voted unanimously to purchase the lot. A seven year note was taken from the Ipswich Cooperative Bank for the land purchase and made the annual dues increase to $80 per year. This note was paid off in 2004.

• In 2000, after extensive negotiations, the ramp was purchased  from the Stone Family for $95,000. The membership voted unanimously to purchase the property. A ten year note was taken from the Ipswich Cooperative Bank and made the annual dues increase to $160 per year. This note will be paid off in 2011.

• In 2001, the ramp was re-paved and a shed was erected on the property to house all equipment and a portable toilet. This allowed convenience for all members.

• In 2003 the original catwalks and gangways built in the 1970s had to be replaced for a cost of $9500. The new structures insure safety for members when loading and unloading boats. Many trees were also cleared from the parking area to increase space on the sides.

• During the winter of 2006, a contractor requested to park his equipment at the IOC while working on the water/sewer lines on the Water Street area. The IOC negotiated with the contractor to re-dig the swales draining the property and make other grading improvements at no charge in return for parking priviledges. A new float was also built that was damaged by the contractor at mostly his cost.

• Presently, there are 200 regular members, 9 directors, 2 honorary members, and about 45 on the waiting list at the I.O.C.

• There is no more room to grow beyond our two acres of land on the Ipswich River. We still remain a non-profit organization and intend to stay that way. Annual cook-outs / meetings are typically held in May where friends come together and share common interests. The I.O.C. promotes safe boating and a family atmosphere, which is different than some other access locations. We do like our club, and look forward to many years of service to our members in the future.

Some fun facts:

• The I.O.C. did sponsor winter dinner dances at restaurants at a cost of $4 each person to make annual meetings fun. This has not been done in many years but could be arranged.

• The I.O.C. coordinated fall boating trips to Billerica where boats were launched, went underway on the Concord River, and ended up on Wayland Lake. This was a great way to flush boat motors with fresh water, enjoy friends, and view fall foliage. Many wooden speed boats made this excursion.

• Merrimack River runs did start from the I.O.C. to see hydroplane boat races in Newburyport. How anyone made it back is a wonder.

• The I.O.C. floats drifted out close to Little Neck one summer when a gang of young pranksters decided to pull the pins when the river was running out. A few volunteers towed the floats back, pulled the gangways out of the water, and reconnected everything. The culprits were never caught.