About AKUA Boat Fenders
Shown on a Nitro boat
The AKUA Boat Fender – Born of Necessity
Think back...your first day as a boat owner...your boat—all shiny and new—bobbing in the water...not a smudge, scratch, or ding in sight. How do you keep your boat looking like new? That was the question that led to the founding of AKUA Marine Products in 1996. Alan Kinkead, the inventor of AKUA Boat Fenders, wanted to protect his boat, and what was on the market didn't work to his satisfaction. After observing boats at the 55,000 acre Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, he realized that the typical bass boat was in dire need for a fender that would fit the special needs of a bass fisherman.
Design and Experimentation
Conventional boat fenders hang from a rope attached to a cleat. They float sideways or ride up—they do not stay in place. Through trial and error, we came up with the idea of a boat fender that attaches to the top of the gunwale and curves down over the rub rail.
The next problem that presented itself was how to attach the bass boat fender to the gunwale. After experimentation, we decided to use suction cups because of the ease of attaching and taking them off. Suction cups could also be used anywhere along the gunwale—they were not dependent on cleat location. The new shape and suction cup attachment truly set AKUA's bass boat fender apart from the other bass boat fenders. After more testing and further adjustments, we were ready to enter the market. The AKUA fender also prevents costly gel coat repairs. Because bass boats sit low in the water, it is easy for the boat to get caught under a floating dock. Conventional boat fenders provide inferior protection in comparison to the AKUA Boat Fender.
Manufacturing AKUA Boat Bumpers
Our first contacts were bass boat manufacturers. When the manufacturers saw how AKUA's bass boat fender worked, they were fascinated. This was the first boat fender developed exclusively for bass boats. Soon our AKUA bass boat fender was marketed by almost every major bass boat manufacturer. Keeping up with manufacturing was difficult, and in 2002, we leased the bass boat fender patent to a bigger manufacturing company. Due to rising manufacturing costs at the large manufacturing facility and the disappearance of some of the major bass boat companies due to the recession, we decided to get back into the bass boat fender manufacturing business.
AKUA Boat Fenders Today
AKUA Marine fenders were again assembled, inspected, and mailed from Columbia, Missouri. Since taking back the manufacturing business, we have developed new boat fenders and fender attachments for other styles of boats. With the surge of interest in aluminum fishing boats due to affordability and the high quality of the aluminum boats, most of the major boat manufacturers now have an aluminum bass boat line. Most of those aluminum boats have a painted hull with elaborate graphics that are expensive to replace so we developed a fender to work on small and large aluminum boats with smooth gunwales. AKUA also has fenders for the boats with gunwales that are not smooth; i.e. bayboats. We have also developed an attachment or mount for Taylor Made Products Low Freeboard Boat Fender. AKUA’s Attachment fastens to Taylor’s boat fender so now the fender can be attached anywhere along the gunwale. The fender no longer hangs from a rope or ties to a cleat.
For no rope, no cleat and the best protection for your boat, choose AKUA Boat Fenders!