Bernie Rau: Serving His Country

Evinrude owner Bernie Rau is a proud member of E-NATION and an even prouder former member of the United States Military.  He took the time to share his story, his passion for boating, and his love for his Evinrude E-TEC engine. 


I was born and raised in Continental, Ohio. I joined the Air Force in 1992 at the age of 22 and became a Special Purpose Mechanic.  This entails working on any equipment that has a specific purpose (i.e. a backhoe, an aircraft cargo loader, high reach trucks, dozer, etc.)

I have been stationed in Texas, Illinois, Japan, Las Vegas, Korea & California.  My years in California were spent as an instructor for new folks entering my career field and as an advanced instructor traveling around teaching experienced mechanics. I have been to England, Germany, Okinawa, Iwo Jima and all over the USA. I got out of the active Air Force after 13 years and then worked with the Air National Guard in Fort Wayne, Indiana for 3 years. I was then offered a State technician position in 2007 and then an Active Guard job (putting me back on active duty) in 2008. I now have over 20 years in the military.

I also have a father that is a Vietnam Vet and very much involved in our local American Legion. To me initially, the military was a steady job with benefits for me and my future family.  I also had a desire to serve my country and one day be involved in the American Legion also.  Oddly enough, I am currently the Commander of that same American Legion Post 541 in Continental, OH. I no longer serve the federal government but still serve the state and local government and communities.

I have been fishing in Lake Erie, ponds, oceans and rivers since I was a child. My favorite fishing has been for walleye, crappie, yellow fin tuna and catfish.

My wife and I bought a cottage on the river 2 years ago. Our first boat was a beautiful 20-foot v-bottom open bow with a 150hp Evinrude OceanPro. We are both in our 40s and quickly realized a pontoon is more our speed and lifestyle. Last September, we took the plunge. We bought a 24-foot 2012 Crest pontoon with a 115hp Evinrude E-TEC. This boat is exactly what we should have bought from the start. Most of our friends have pontoons for cruising and relaxing. There is a sandbar on our river where people meet up at, and this boat set up is perfect.

Summer is approaching fast and we are ready to get the boat out for the first time since October. It is still brand new to us. What I love about my E-Tec thus far is the ease of winterization. I also have power when I want it and easy start-ups.  The only other pontoon I drove on a regular basis was my dad’s 20-foot 2004 Starcraft with a 50hp Bigfoot Mercury. I know it is comparing apples and oranges, but I love my 2 stroke E-Tec over his 4 stroke.  I don’t think there is much size difference but I have another 65 horses on mine. I bought my E-TEC at Clark’s Landing Marina on Hamilton Lake in Indiana. They have been wonderful, and the owner of Crest Pontoon Manufacturing personally called me to get my take on the boat. If I put that baby on the water and it fires right up, I am going to be sold for life.

The only thing I need to do is get some Evinrude gear (shirts, hats, stickers, etc.). I have to get on the Evinrude website and do some shopping. There is a Mercury dealer close to where our cottage is located, so I would like to sport E-Tec/Evinrude gear in the area.

Thanks for asking for my story. It is just Chapter 1 at the moment. I hope to have many enjoyable years with my E-TEC.

-Bernie Rau