Alan Kinkead is a life-long resident of Missouri. Alan was born in Mexico, Missouri and lived in Centralia. Alan still considers earning his Eagle Scout Award one of his proudest accomplishments. He graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia and since has resided in Columbia with his wife of 47 years, Sandy. After 25 years in pharmaceutical sales, love of the outdoors, golf, and then boating pulled him in a different direction. Alan’s interest in boating at the Lake of the Ozarks and his desire to keep his boat in pristine condition led to his designing a boat fender that would protect his boat, and, so… AKUA Marine Products was started in 1995 with a fender for bass boats. One fender led to another and several products were developed for specific types of boats- always with Made in the USA components. That was 20 years ago. Alan still oversees the daily production of every boat fender and personally inspects each fender that leaves the manufacturing facility and plans to do so for quite some time.

Boat Lifts & Winterizing Your Boat

It's October...time to think about winterizing your boat.  Rule of thumb in Missouri--winterize no later than Halloween.  But, right before Halloween, in September and October, is some of the best boating.  The summer crowd is gone; they've buttoned up their cabins and  winterized their boats.  So, this is the ideal time to see the fall foliage and to have the water all to yourself.  If you can, take some time to enjoy the last of the boating season.

Now, after the final hooray, it is time to winterize.  A lot of people take their boats out of the water and store them in dry storage facilities.  My boat sits on a lift so I boat until the first sign of cold weather.  I remember a year past when I was stretching the boating season until the last possible day when  a quick cold freeze came through. I was in a panic...I had to drive 1 1/2 hours to my slip and winterize that day.  At that time my boat was a 1982 IMP with a 350 cubic inch engine...easy to drain the water and winterize.  I was messing around with my out-drive (This IMP did not have a power outdrive) when, in a flash, the outdrive dropped on the center fiberglass pontoon of my lift.   The drop gouged a hole in the pontoon and air was hissing out. Now I was really in trouble. The only thing to do was to go to the nearest hardware store, buy a fiberglass patch and resin, and fix the hole.  Let me remind you, the weather was cold.  Not only did I have to buy the patch, I had to buy a hair dryer to dry the patch quickly.  I pumped the lift up and put a board across the width of the slip under the lift arm to keep the lift from sinking.  I patched the hole and sat there with the hair dryer drying the resin.  After more than an hour of waving the hairdryer over  the sticky resin, the resin finally dried enough for the pontoon to hold air. I finished my winterizing task and left for home tired and cold to await April 1 and a new year of boating.

Boat lifts are amazing. A small electiric motor about the size of a vacuum sweep can pump up almost any weight boat.  and keeps your boat out of the water with little effort.  Just make sure you don't punch a hole in cold weather.

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What to Look For

I have boated for over 25 years, mainly on the Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri.  My boating life started when I visited a friend whose parents had a cabin and a boat.  I'd go down for the week-end, and we'd spend the time riding on his boat.  At an early age, I "took note" of things to do and not to do on the boat.  My friend's dad, Hamm, was very strict on how to tie the boat to the dock and the proper knot to use on the cleat when docking.  That was my job--to make sure we were tied up correctly, and I definitely took notes on how, when, and where to do my job.

Hamm also taught us about fenders.  He was always telling us when to put the fenders out and when to bring them in.  To this day I "take note" of how boaters use their fenders.  It has been my observation that there are a lot of boaters that leave their fenders out all of the time. I see pontoon boats with their fenders dangling over the side of the boat running up and down the lake.  I don't know why this bothers me, but it does.  I would like to share part of a quote that I saved from West Marine's catalog several years ago.  Read it and see if you agree:

      "What to look for: 'Can we speak frankly?  Fenders protect your boat and that can be a good thing, except that every one of us risks ridicule every boating weekend for one reason.  Never, never operate  your boat more than a boat length away from your slip with your fenders over the side.  This is like wearing a Kick Me sign on your boat's transom.  This is a sign of a landlubber, a neophyte, a novice.  Blue-blooded yachtspersons have been kicked out of posh yacht clubs for much less."  West Marine 1995 Master Catalog

Now, I don't know if I agree with the severity of all of this statement, but it sure is something to think about.  The quote certainly made an impression on me!  Please feel free to comment; we would love to hear from you!

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Powerboating VS Sailboating

I’ve been boating now for over 25 years and the boat always had a motor behind it.  I like the sound of a motor when I’m on a boat.  This last month that all changed.

My daughter is into sail boating.  She keeps talking about how great sail boating is. She has sailed the British Virgin Islands, Florida, and San Diego so she has some pretty good experience with sailing.  She popped the question to me a few months ago—would I like to go sailing?  As a family we have gone camping to Colorado the last couple of years which I truly enjoyed.  With little time to think, I said yes.  To my surprise she rented a 35 foot sailboat on Lake Superior.  We would sail around the Apostle Islands off of northern Wisconsin.  Being from the Midwest and wanting to get out of this awful heat, I agreed.

The first day out with sunny skies I was impressed with how she managed the sail and headed toward the Apostle Islands.  With little warning the weather changed. Rain, wind, with the water white capping I wondered what I was doing.  Where was that sound of an engine that I had grown accustomed to.  My daughter was working the main sail; her husband was at the wheel.  With 40 knot winds the sailboat was heeling and I was hanging on for dear life.  I was truly impressed with how they managed that boat—reefing the main sail (sail half up), steering the boat even though the rudder was almost impossible to turn. 

The next day the weather was better so they opened the front sail (jib).  The way they both worked the jib and main sail was amazing.  The power of the wind and the way we plowed through the water was strangely quiet.  No sound of a motor but we were going 4-5 knots.  The third day the weather was sunny and warm.  The only problem was that there was hardly any wind.  This was totally different than the first 2 days.  Watching my daughter and son-in-law working the jib from one side of the boat to the other (tacking) allowed us to sail with almost no wind.  When there was wind, we were against it (upwind)—the no go zone.  They patiently managed to pull 1-2 knots against the wind.

I have to admit I enjoyed this kind of boating--the sheer power of the wind—the sound of the boat going through the water—with no motor.  I guess you are never too old to enjoy a new experience.  And, by the way, I was able to try a new fender I designed especially for sailboats. 

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Fender or Bumper - What's the Difference?

I’ve been boating for over 30 years. I always knew protection for my boat was needed when tied to a dock. This was a major concern at the Lake of the Ozarks because of the rough water. I thought a boat fender was the same as a boat bumper. When I started my own company manufacturing bass boat fenders for Ranger bass boats and others, I called them bumpers. After all these years I have learned a fender is a protection device for a boat; a bumper is something that provides protection for a boat but is fastened to the dock.  

Just goes to show you that you are never too old to learn something new. 

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Welcome to Our Home on the Web!

We are very pleased to announce that we have launched our very first website!  We created this website for the purpose of providing you, the bass boat enthusiast, with information on how to protect your boat using AKUA Boat Fenders.  We will also be using our blog to discuss various boating, fishing, and many other topics.  In fact, if you have any ideas, please contact us or comment on our blog posts.  We would love to hear from you!

If you would like to purchase AKUA boat fenders, please proceed to our product page for product details and purchasing information.

You can also view a short promotional video of our product in action on the home page of our website.

Thanks again, and we look forward to hearing from you!

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