Robert “Bob” Roscioli, who began his 50-plus-year yachting career in his 20s sanding boats on the New River in Fort Lauderdale, died yesterday. He was 76 years old.
Raised in Philadelphia, Roscioli arrived in South Florida with his mother at the age of 12. After high school, he spent his early working years splitting time between there and New Jersey. During the summers, he worked along the Jersey Shore, while in the winters he performed odd jobs in Florida. In fact, he held a variety of positions, including delivering ice to docks and loading trucks at Port Everglades. A pivotal moment came in 1962. Roscioli received a call about a position sanding boats at a small yard on the New River. The job was an apprenticeship, where over the course of nine months he worked his way up to painting boats. Upon asking his boss for a 10-cent pay raise at that point, however, he was fired.
Undeterred, Roscioli pounded the proverbial pavement, walking docks in pursuit of cleaning, painting, and varnishing jobs. The results are the stuff of legends: Within a few years, he arguably became one of the best brush painters and sprayers in yachting. Indeed, the techniques he learned laid the groundwork for Roscioli Yachting Center. It opened its doors in 1968, going on to service some of the biggest yachts and most well-known yacht owners in the world. Then, in the late 1980s, he acquired the custom sportfishing brand Donzi Yachts, after having been a dealer.
Not only that, but Roscioli himself still showed up for work on a daily basis through this year, long past the age when most people would have retired. He was a fixture on the shop floors, too. Notably, the staff at Roscioli Yachting Center says that his mantra was “today’s the day.”
That attitude extended to the employees as well. Roscioli was well-known for seeking veterans to hire. Furthermore, he advocated training them, as well as individuals released from prison who he believed deserved a second chance.
Roscioli leaves behind his wife of 51 years, Sharon, plus two children, Robert Jr. and Heather, who all worked alongside him at the shipyard. He additionally had three granddaughters.
Roscioli Yachting Center rycshipyard.com