Knoxville boaters develop award-winning boat attachment Dripper Guard

Yacht broker Colin Daley and marine technician Dale Branch were on a boat in 2016 when they noticed a stain from wastewater dripping out of the boat's thru-hull.

"We thought, 'There has to be a way to fix this,'" Daley said.

By the time they returned to the marina they had drawn what would become the Dripper Guard on a piece of paper. Soon after, they bought a rubber mat and glued it together to create their first prototype for the product.

The team then bought a 3D printer, learned how to use computer-aided drawing software and made the next prototype.

"We stuck it on the boat, and it worked great," Daley said.

The Dripper Guard is a rubber attachment that sticks to the boat under the thru-hull. It sticks out about an inch, preventing water from dripping down the side of the boat and causing a stain that has to be cleaned every few months.

In 2017, the team began manufacturing the Dripper Guard at Innovate Manufacturing in Hardin Valley and went to market. The product is distributed globally including the U.S., Europe, Japan and Australia.

Daley and Branch released the second version of the product, the Dripper Guard Pro, in October 2018. The first version is made for the user to install the guard with adhesive, and the Dripper Guard Pro is made for boat manufacturers to install as a standard feature of the boat.

The Dripper Guard Pro won the International BoatBuilders' Exhibition's 2018 Innovation Award in the deck equipment and hardware category.

"There's nothing on the market like this," Daley said. "We're solving a problem that's been around for decades."

Daley is "baffled" at the progress he and Branch made with the product in the past three years.

"Just a couple of guys out of Tennessee come up with this idea and expand it to where it is now," he said. "We had to learn everything from the manufacturing to the distribution."

The Dripper Guard is $15 for one or $39.99 for a three-pack.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Courtney Roark

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Published December 28, 2018