Pontoon Fender Invention

    I have been asked, more than once, "How did you think of the pontoon fender?"  So, I thought I'd give a brief history of AKUA's pontoon fender and how it was developed. 

    My area of expertise is fishing boats and providing protection for them.   In the early 2000's (and before), I noticed how many pontoon boats were running with their fenders blowing in the wind.  One of my pet peeves:  seeing any boat with fenders hanging over the side of the boat flying in the breeze while away from the dock. (See my blog on 'What to Look For")  That "messiness" inspired me to develop a fender specifically for pontoon boats.

    Lowe Boats, a pontoon boat company, happened to be right down the road less than 2 hours from where I live.  I had developed a prototype of my idea for a pontoon fender and took it down to Lowe for their review.  They liked my idea and said I was on the right track.  Lowe's advice: the fender must fit on the top rail of the pontoon and extend down to the decking area allowing the fender "to bridge" from the top down to protect the delicated corrugated fence that goes around pontoon boats.  The fender needed to be sturdy enough to prevent any contact against the fence.  With that advice in mind, I created the "fence saver" pontoon fender.  Unlike conventional fenders the fence saver gives protection and looks good even when left on the pontoon and the pontoon is away from the dock.  To see what I mean, take a look at the product information and picture on this website. 

     I am pleased to say that the AKUA pontoon fender works as good as it looks. What started out as a way to solve a pet peeve has given many pontoon owners protection for a delicate area of their boat.  I am proud to be a part of providing protection to pontoon boat owners.

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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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Twenty Years Ago Today

Twenty years ago today.  1995.  Twenty years ago today I came up with the idea for my first marine product.  It was a bow guard for run-about boats.  How times have changed when it comes to getting a product on the market.  When I started the development process, computer usage was not as common place as it is now.  Back then the word was, "Check the Thomas Register," not "Just Google it" or "Search the Internet."    Most of the research I did was by telephone.  People took the time to answer and to talk.  It was not easy to view the parts I wanted to use as my component parts, but manufacturers would gladly send me samples.  Even pareents were difficult to research--generally you had to hire an attorney to do a patent search.  Now you can fine out online.  Looking back, I think its' easier to "streamline" the time it takes, but I'm not sure if it is easier than it was twenty years ago.  Getting a new product on the market is not easy--now or twenty years ago.  Thanks for your support of AKUA Marine Products.

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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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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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