Josh Bremmerer is the CEO at Komodo boat covers, a revolutionary mooring system that keeps boats dry and climate-controlled. Launching this month, Komodo is changing the game for boat protection, offering a cover that is guaranteed to keep boats dry whether they are moored, parked, or stored. Startup Beat spoke to Bremmerer about his inspiration for his product as well as what makes his product the first of its kind.
What is Komodo?
“We have had boats ever since I was born,” says Bremmerer. “And we always had an issue winterizing and storing our boats since I can remember. We don’t put our own boats away for the year until November and we were dealing with boat covers where the boat stays soaking wet. One day we were drying out the kite after kitesurfing next to the boat and we were looking at our sagging boat cover and we thought, ‘Do you think we could give the boat cover an airframe?’”
That is how it all began. Bremmerer and his team of engineers have executed a solution to ineffective and unstructured boat covers. Based in the rainy and humid Pacific Northwest, Komodo was inspired by the scaly skin and expanding rib cage of the komodo dragon. Their covers are designed to withstand the elements and their accompanying app allows boat owners to rest assured that their boat is dry and climatized when not in use.
A climate-controlled boat mooring system
Bremmerer says the root of most of all the problems boat owners face is moisture. Moisture corrodes connectors and engines and destroys upholstery. Some of the engineering challenges that Bremmerer and his team tackled were how to keep the air pressure constant underneath the frame at all times and how to keep it from deflating with a changing climate outside.
Bremmerer says they took it one design step at a time – engineering around all the different problems. “In order to make a cover work we had to develop our own technology suite with high capacity pumps, dehumidifiers, and then figure out how we were going to control them with humidity sensors, temperature sensors, and accelerometers.”
With expanding beams that truly act like a rib cage, the cover is easy to pull over and the cover automatically tightens up any slack. The control unit, called the Kommander, keeps the cover taut and the interior dry with integrated heat and dehumidification. No matter the time of year, a boat with a Komodo cover is a stress free, self-regulating option.
How is it different?
Current options for boat covers are expensive or temporary and often require either a professional installation or constant manual adjusting.
One option is shrink wrapping, a tight cover installed by professionals, which does not sag but also cannot be reused. Another is a canvas cover, which is the highest cost and also must be manually retightened to prevent sagging. Additionally, because of the unreliability of covers, many boat owners opt to store their boats during the rainy months, an expensive solution which does not allow for spontaneous use of the boat.
The Komodo style of covering has a waterproof frame that sits on top of the boat. As the frame is inflated, it becomes like a tent overtop the boat. From the boat rail down there are steep angles so when it rains there is nowhere for the water to go. Sagging solved.
Traditionally, water often not only pools on the outside of boat covers, but underneath as well, damaging the boat. This hinders many boaters from taking their boats out on the water during the rainy season.“If you take your boat out on the water in early spring in the Pacific Northwest you will be experiencing storms and wetness. With a traditional cover on a boat, moisture is still going to be trapped inside and your boat is just going to stay wet. This is a big deterrent for people to get out there from March to May. You can put our cover on a wet boat and our system will dry it out,” Bremmerer explains. With a cover from Komodo, taking the boat out at any point of the year is less of a hassle for boat owners.
There is yet another perk to an airframe cover. According to Bremmerer, the top mistake that people make when putting a boat cover on is leaving their cellphone inside the boat once the cover is on. “In a traditional cover style you have to uncover the entire boat,” he points out. “With our hardcover design you can unzip the back tent door, walk in, grab your phone, zip it back up without taking the cover off the boat.”
A “set it and forget it” attitude
The Kommander control unit puts owners completely in charge and in the know. “With other covers you would not know your boat was wet unless you went and looked under the cover,” says Bremmerer. The combined dehumidifier and heating unit will take care of the humidity in the air on its own. Users can set customized alerts and notifications for humidity, temperature, pressure, and battery voltage of the boat.
The app that accompanies the control unit from Komodo is truly what makes the brand stand out. The 4G enabled unit has an LCD touch screen and can also be regulated from a smart device. The app monitors the pressure underneath the frame within the correct pressure range of 1.5 PSI. Even if you’re not ready to purchase a cover from Komodo, it is still possible to get a Kommander for your boat, download the app, and rest assured your boat is protected.
Ahead of the game
In general, there is not much competition out there for Komodo boat covers. Nothing that Amazon or WalMart offers can compare. The most popular alternatives are the boat manufacturer covers that can be ordered with the boat and are custom-fitted. However, none offer all the features of the Komodo product. “We are doing this in a completely different way – we have an innovative product,” says Bremmerer.
Komodo is patent pending and with that patent they shouldn’t worry about competition for the next twenty years. The Komodo team can say with confidence that they have an edge on the market. There is nothing out there like it.
Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.