A picture of the Traunsee where Frauscher boats are available for charter. Black and white

The Frauscher history

12. May 2023

When Engelbert Frauscher founded a boat-building company in Vienna in 1927, he probably never would have dreamed that Frauscher would set standards for international boat building 90 years later.

Engelbert Frauscher was born in 1903 in Aspach, in Upper Austria’s Innviertel district. After a carpentry apprenticeship with his uncle and his first experience in boat building at the Ratz company in St. Gilgen, he discovered his love of boats. He knew this was his calling, so from 1923 to 1926, he trained at various companies, never losing sight of his dream. In a time of political turbulence, Engelbert Frauscher took over a “boat building shop” in 1927 in the Old Danube area of Vienna. In 1933, he tried his luck in South America, where there was a high demand for European workers. After a few months of hard work, followed by a serious illness, he escaped onto a cargo ship that took him back to Austria. Back on the Old Danube, Engelbert Frauscher attempted a new ­beginning. With his manual skills, he built rowing boats and sailing boats, including two vessels of the Olympia-Jolle class for the Austrian Sailing Team that were used in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

 Frauscher familie

But the turmoil of World War II also cast a shadow on the life of the Frauscher family. In 1944 the Old Danube shop in Vienna was heavily damaged in an air raid, together with the flat next door. His son Kurt, who was only 17 years old, was conscripted into military service and was listed as missing after the war. Fanny Frauscher, Engelbert’s wife, had moved with the two other sons, Ernst and Hans, to live with relatives in Geinberg in Upper Austria. After the war, Engelbert Frauscher left the shipyards grounds on the Old  ­Danube to his long-time apprentice, and joined his family in Geinberg.

The post-war years and a major upturn

In the post-war years Gmunden was the location of the American command headquarters, and the American occupying forces took over the yacht club. A position opened for a boat builder who could service the boats, and Engelbert Frauscher was the man for the job. His workplace and accommodations were at the shipyard in the Weyer district of Gmunden, where the company now has its harbour. Engelbert Frauscher worked in an old shop of the Wicke company, which had gone bankrupt. After the withdrawal of the American troops from Gmunden, the boats were returned to their owners and the shipyard was shut down. Mr. Schmid, a member of the yacht club, became the new owner, and sold the shipyard to Engelbert Frauscher for a very reasonable price. He wanted to have a boat builder near the yacht club. During that time, there were only wooden boats, and an expert like Frauscher was hard to find. He did the repairs, built small rowing boats, and started building the O-Jolle boats again. His wife Fanny managed the finances.

The upturn began when Mr. Jany, owner of an ironmonger’s shop, sold his rowing boat rental business to Engelbert Frauscher. Jany was on the bank committee of the industrial bank in Gmunden and helped Frauscher to get a start-up loan. The children, Ernst and Hans, worked in the company and ran the boat rental in the summer. The first wooden electric boats were built during that time. Additionally two boats of the Kiel-Zugvogel class from in-house production, and a water-skiing school was also established. Hans Frauscher, the youngest son, was a water-skiing enthusiast. He won numerous titles and was famous in Gmunden for his pyramid and barefoot acts.


Für die norwegische Yngling hatte währendessen die Bootswerft die Vertretung übernommen. Mit diesem über hundert Mal verkauften Boot wurden viele Regatten gesegelt und gewonnen.Der ältere Sohn Ernst Frauscher begann nach der Hauptschule als Lehrling im Betrieb des Vaters zu arbeiten. Im Jahr 1954 kam auch der jüngere Bruder Hans in die Firma. Die Werft war jetzt bereits ein florierender Betrieb. Ruderboote und Holzelektroboote liefen vom Stapel und die ersten Motorboote „Fish“ und „Starfish“ ergänzten die Palette.

The Norwegian Yngling was meanwhile distributed through the shipyard. More than one hundred of these boats were sold, and they won many races. The elder son Ernst Frauscher started working as an apprentice in his ­father’s company after he completed school. In 1954, the younger brother, Hans, also joined the company. The shipyard was already a flourishing operation. Rowing boats and wooden electric boats were launched and the first motor boats – “Fish” and “Starfish” – were added to the product line. The founding of a successful sailing school by Hans and Dorothea ­Frauscher, and the construction of a second boathouse in 1964, gave the company fresh impetus. Later, a shop for sailing and motor boat accessories and sailing apparel was added. In 1968 Ernst Frauscher built a large building, right at the lake, with a workshop. The building also contained the private living quarters of the family, the shipyard office, and a yachtsman lodge set up on the upper floor. His wife, Elisabeth, was in charge of the office and the lodge.

In 1971, Hans Frauscher had the idea to build polyester boats. This decision brought a change to the company. With the help of the employee, Mr. ­Gaber, who already had experience in the building of polyester boats, a new era ­began at Frauscher. In 1972, the two brothers merged their companies and did business in the boat market as Ernst und Hans Frauscher OHG. Ernst was responsible for production and finances, while Hans was the sales specialist. The legal prohibition of motor boats on Lake Traunsee, in the late seventies, was a heavy blow to the enterprise, and also the beginning of a new era. The motor boat trade was discontinued, and the electric boat began its triumphal progress. A key factor in the success of the Frauscher electric boat was the Gmunden-based Preiners­torfer company, which had developed a very robust engine. In the years that followed, several hundred electric boats left the new shipyard that was built in 1976, in Moosham in the Gmunden ­municipality. Many of them are still in
­service today.

Milestones in the company’s history

The acquisition of the H-boat license, from the Finnish Sailing Association in 1979, was a milestone in the company’s history. More than 600 of the popular boats were sold, and they were quite successful in sporting events. Hans Frauscher became world champion in 1982 with that boat, and his son Stefan ­Frauscher followed in his footsteps in 2002. Altogether, 4 world champion titles were won with the H-boat.


The third generation of the Frauscher family joined the company in 1982. Michael Frauscher, another certified boat builder and the eldest son of Hans Frauscher, reinforced the team. The Weyer sailing boat harbour in Gmunden was rebuilt in the early eighties, and in 1988 construction began on the building at Traunsteinstraße 10, the long-time location of the office, as well as the exhibition hall and sales centre. Right next door, at Traunsteinstraße 14, is now the location of a showroom and the harbour office, where Andrea Frauscher-Oberfrank manages the company. The daughter of Ernst Frauscher has been with the company since 1996, and is the first point of contact for both existing and potential Frauscher customers on lake Traunsee. Frauscher Bootswerft GmbH & Co KG was established in 1993 after a reorganisation of the company. In 1996, Stefan Frauscher, the youngest son of Hans Frauscher, came on board. After a fire in 2001, which destroyed the entire boathouse and 60 boats, the new boathouse built in 2002 dominates the overall view of the Frauscher Harbour, where the last extension was completed in 2015. At the beginning of the new millennium, the company launched ­important electric and motor yachts – the St. Tropez, Valencia, Lido, Riviera, and ­Benaco models – which set new design trends. Finally, the Frauscher 717 GT was distinguished as Powerboat of the Year in 2010.

The construction of a modern shipyard in Ohlsdorf

The construction of a modern shipyard in Ohlsdorf, in 2012, is the expression of a new organisational structure. In a period that was considered a time of economic crisis it was decided to expand. The optimization of the processes and the decision to enter the luxury sector in boat building resulted in a decisive breakthrough. In the same year the sales location opened at Port Adriano in Mallorca.

In 2016, the luxury yacht 1414 Demon took a further step away from the lake to the sea and marked the beginning of a new chapter in the company’s history. With the opening of an additional subsidiary in Port Grimaud on the French Riviera, there are now three Frauscher-managed sites for boat enthusiasts in Europe since 2019. Seven years after the opening of the Mallorca location, the Frauscher shipyard launched its next offensive in the Mediterranean.