Longtime Florida yacht broker Polly Fulton dies

Oct 7, 2018 by To the Triton

Longtime Florida yacht broker Paula “Polly” Janssen Fulton died after a long illness on July 27. She was 75.

In 1977, Ms. Fulton became one of Florida’s first licensed yacht brokers.

“Polly was a true professional and a pioneer for woman in an exclusive, male-dominated industry,” said friend David Carswell wrote on The Triton’s Facebook post announcing her death. “She has a ground-breaking and incredible history, not to mention she was a warm and wonderful soul.”

Yacht broker Paula “Polly” Janssen Fulton

She began her brokerage career with Bill Dunne Yacht Brokerage and then with Bradford Yacht Sales where she was a top broker for five years.

“Polly was a wonderful person as well as business woman,” said colleague Maria Palacios wrote on Facebook. “She was my mentor. When I first became a yacht salesperson, I put my license with her at World Class Yachts. She set the standard for other women brokers.”

Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Delaware, Ms. Fulton met her soon-to-be husband, sportfish Capt. Charles “Whitey” Fulton when she was 20. They married after she graduated college in 1964.

The two opened two Fulton Fish Market locations in South Florida. Recognized the growing yachting industry, she obtained her yacht brokerage license, becoming perhaps the first woman to have that title in Florida.

She and her husband later founded World Class Yachts and, during the 1983 America’s Cup, hosted the Australian yacht builder, Lloyd Ships, importing two 105-foot yachts for the legendary race off Newport.

“Polly was right in the thick of yachting history when the Australian team upset [Dennis] Conner’s American team,” her family noted in her obituary.

While still working as a broker, Ms. Fulton and Capt. Fulton went into a partnership on a 134-foot charter yacht in the Caribbean. Her passion for yachting waned after her husband died suddenly in 1995.

She is survived by her children (Charles, Paula Marnie, and Rodney Dean) and grandchildren.

“Even from a young age, Polly was very social and loved being the center of attention,” her family wrote. “She cherished her family and the friendships she made over her lifetime. She was grateful for all of the love she was given, the opportunities taken, and adventures shared. Her distinctive laugh will echo in our hearts forever.”

A celebration of her life will be held in mid-October. For more information contact pollymemorial2018@gmail.com. Donations may be made in Ms. Fulton’s name to the American Heart Association and the Humane Society of Broward County.

Click for more in legacy.com or read below:

After a long illness, Paula “Polly” Janssen Fulton passed away at her home on July 27, 2018. She was 75. Polly was born October 19, 1942 in Darby, PA, to parents Joseph William Sr. and Paula Quinn Janssen. Polly grew up near Wilmington, DE with her brother Joseph Janssen, Jr. At the age of 20, in Margate, NJ, Polly met her soul mate and partner for life, Captain Charles “Whitey” Fulton of Miami, FL. They married in 1964 after Polly graduated from Chestnut Hill College.   

Together, Whitey and Polly were an amazing team. Whitey was a sport fisherman and Polly an entrepreneur. They opened Fulton Fish Markets with two locations in Broward County FL in the early 70’s. In 1977, after recognizing an opportunity in the burgeoning yachting industry, Polly became one of the first state licensed yacht brokers as well as the first female yacht broker in Florida. She began her brokering career with Bill Dunne Yacht Brokerage, then moved to Bradford Yacht Sales where, for over 5 years, she was one of their top brokers. Later, Polly and Whitey founded World Class Yachts with an eye on the international market. During the 1983 America’s Cup, Polly and Whitey hosted the Australian yacht builder, Lloyd Ships, importing two 105 foot yachts for the legendary race off Newport. Polly was right in the thick of yachting history when the Australian team upset the Conner’s American team. Polly then worked with Fort Lauderdale Mayor Bob Cox and established a relationship with the Italian yacht builders of Viareggio, Italy, introducing them to the South Florida market. While continuing to sell boats, Polly and Whitey went into a partnership on a 134 foot yacht to charter in the Caribbean, offering amenities that were before their time, like spa services.

Polly’s passion for the yachting industry waned after Whitey’s sudden death in 1995. In her later years, she focused on spending quality time with her children and grandchildren: Charles Kean Fulton, his wife Amy and their children, Charles Tucker and Sawyer David; Paula Marnie Fulton; and Rodney Dean Fulton, his wife Kenia and their children Madison Quinn, Kayla Isley Andrade, her husband Steve Andrade, and Jade Isley.

Even from a young age, Polly was very social and loved being the center of attention.  She cherished her family and the friendships she made over her lifetime. She was grateful for all of the love she was given, the opportunities taken, and adventures shared. Her distinctive laugh will echo in our hearts forever.

A Celebration of Polly’s life will be held mid-October 2018. For more information contact pollymemorial2018@gmail.com. Donations may be made in Polly’s name to the American Heart Association and the Humane Society of Broward County.

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