Integrated Marine Docking System

Raising $500K to produce a finished product to display / demonstrate at boat, yacht and trade shows.

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 Raising $500K to produce a finished product  to display / demonstrate at boat, yacht and trade shows.  Already invested $200K.  Prototypes produced.  Utility Patents Granted.  
Payoff -  Sell  business with all rights upon completion of a  finished product or 
- Second  way out – With second round  of  funding, manufacture, market and sell product worldwide.

The Integrated Docking System is a remotely controlled device that will quickly attach or detach a boat or yacht from one or more points on a dock.  All the activities are put into action by the ship’s captain at the touch of a few rocker switches.  There is no need for the captain to leave his station at the helm, for the captain to take his attention off of piloting the vessel, or for any assistance from anyone on the vessel or on a dock.

 Perhaps the greatest repeatable challenge to power boating and sailing is docking or mooring the boat.  Generally every boat owner can readily recall one or more horror stories, near misses or actual collisions in a marina at low power. Often the boat moves into the slip or mooring field but then, due to winds, currents, or human fine-tuning, “gets away.”  The stress and anxiety level only increases in an unfamiliar port.  For experienced single-handed sailors who desire a larger vessel, their ability to go out alone, given docking and casting off requirements, may not be prudently possible.  For commercial, municipal and military applications, the ability to dock and cast off reliably and efficiently under all visual conditions could be vital.  
What if a captain could, without even seeing a cleat, just pull into a slip or shoot for a mooring and then, after pressing a rocker switch, have his or her boat tie up by itself? What if a captain could push a rocker switch and have the same boat untie itself and reel in its lines without anyone lifting a finger?  
The results would be revolutionary.  It would expand freedoms and experiences for tens of thousands of boat owners, their families, friends, and guests.  It would have tremendous military, commercial and municipal impact. It would prevent uncountable injuries and even save lives. These were the objectives in designing IDS. (IDS does not compete with GPS navigation and docking systems nor with joystick controlled multi directional engines, bow thrusters, or any other means of controlling a vessel’s movement.  It controls line management and attachment).

The Powerboat:
On modern powerboats that emphasize maximum interior space at the expense of walkarounds, that are over 25 feet long, or with fly bridges; for many individuals, it’s difficult if not impossible to dock without at least one other person aboard or waiting for the boat on the dock.  If either is absent, the captain effectively cannot use his boat. The result is that the boat owner has to organize and coordinate a time to meet with at least one other individual and often take him or her along for the ride.  Differing schedules and lack of interest among family, friends, and others can be major limiting factors to boat use.  Also the person on board may not be the best due to inexperience, lack of basic skills, strength, inability to balance, or just resistance to directions.  

The Sailboat:
For a sailboat tied to a mooring, the situation can be even more challenging.  One reason is that no one can “stand in the water.”  The sailboat captain can’t throw a line to someone waiting to assist him.  Grabbing a mooring float by leaning over the bow can be exceedingly difficult for a captain with anything larger than a small sailboat.  If he shoots for his mooring and misses, he needs to run back as fast as he can to the helm to avoid hitting other vessels in the mooring field.  When the captain sets out, he must remove the lines from the bow of the boat and, if single-handed, quickly move to the stern to regain control.  These are the major reasons that most sailors will not go out without at least one crew member able to cast off the mooring line to sail away and to pick it up upon returning to port. The sailboater is essentially constrained by many of the issues that power boaters face, including safety.

The captain needs to focus his attention on handling the boat, often in tight quarters, while remaining fully responsible for guests and crew. On popular size cruisers and sailboats with several guests, it can be difficult for the captain, or a crew member, to move around where required.  It can also be hard for the captain to give direction with the added socializing and noise.  Even with an experienced and competent crew member, the inability of the captain to bring the boat near and to keep it stable for the crew member to “jump off” and quickly tie a line to a dock cleat can be challenging.  At worst, he can misstep and fall into the water, a dangerous situation especially if the boat then moves back towards the slip trapping him between the boat and the dock.  
If the captain is the sole person on board, the dangers rise exponentially.  In fact, casting off may be an impossible task to perform single-handedly.  The captain must untie his lines (ropes) from the boat or the slip and then jump on the boat as quickly as possible and return as quickly as possible to the helm.  A failure to do so can result in the boat quickly drifting out of reach and out of control. A slip and fall from the flybridge or a slip on the dock can be fatal.  

Current docking and casting off technology probably dates back tens of thousands of years. Until now, IDS had not been invented because this is the first time that all the technology to produce it exists, has been commercialized, is reliable, and is in regular daily use.  The components, materials, and applications are all purchasable, but no one has constructed, modified and assembled them in a manner to create IDS.  
IDS will open a new era in vessel control.  Like automatic braking systems, backup cameras, and low-tire pressure sensors on automobiles, IDS will become a standard marine product feature.  Someday, IDS, like so many features on an automobile, will be taken for granted.


The Product:
IDS is a highly reliable, high-quality, functionally elegant and attractively packaged piece of equipment that makes docking, mooring, and casting off an easy, controllable, fully automatic one-man operation achieved simply by the push of a rocker switch.

 IDS has Broad Commercial and Military Applications:
Currently, boats are tied and untied to the dock with lines tied or lassoed to a piling or dock cleat.  This is performed by at least one crew member.     The cost of IDS, in comparison to general commercial vessel costs, is minimal.  With IDS, end-user payback will occur in safety and comfort (no tying or untying in inclement weather, on frozen deck and dock surfaces, in darkness, etc.), by potentially lowering insurance costs, by possibly resulting in a reduction in paid crew, and by saving on fuel  costs through a reduction in docking time.  For many commercial, coast guard, and military vessels, IDS will become a standard feature.

IDS will satisfy a definite need.  It will enable an individual to perform docking and mooring tasks with confidence and without the aid of another person.
IDS will remove a limiting factor in tens of thousands of boaters lives that prevents them from using and enjoying their vessels.
IDS is very easy to use with a very short learning curve.  In most cases, it could be put to use almost immediately.   
IDS may eventually become a must-have non-option standard piece of equipment.
IDS offers the end user state-of-the-art docking assistance, vessel control, convenience, and safety.
IDS has a “Wow” aspect.  Seeing it in action for the first time will be an unforgettable experience.  

Product Demand:
IDS will be in demand internationally.  Vessel manufacturers will have to offer it to remain competitive.  It will eventually be standard equipment.  Demand will remain long after the product cycle becomes mature.  

The new boat buyer is relatively affluent, less price sensitive due to the discretionary nature of the purchase, the most willing to buy new equipment, and very interested in acquiring value-added options.  
For existing boat owners, with wireless control, IDS can be cleanly retrofitted to an existing vessel. There is minimal, if any, invasiveness to boat interiors.  This avoids additional installation costs, materials, and time.  The only external connection is a power line to the mechanism (which may be obviated with the integration of rechargeable batteries).  This means that IDS will be installed on new vessels and existing vessels irrespective of age.  IDS should generate substantial revenue from its sale to boat manufacturers, retailers and service and supply companies.  Sovereign governments and the US military are strong candidates for large orders.  IDS is scalable.  It can be fitted on small leisure boats up to large yachts.  Virtually all owners of boats and yachts are viable and fertile end-user target markets.  The result will be steady and reliable aftermarket absorption.  

Net Profits:
Since there are reliable and readily available sales and ownership data on the US leisure market, conservative financial projections were made based on estimates of US leisure market demand. Cumulative earnings before taxes and depreciation from this segment alone during the first ten years of production should exceed 300 million dollars.  Value, using a capitalization rate of ten-percent on a projected tenth-year NOI, will exceed three -quarters of a billion dollars.  Adding in worldwide leisure sales, commercial sales, and military sales, IDS’s profit potential is significantly multiplied.

Additional Benefits:
In addition to direct profits from IDS sales, vessel manufactures should be able to markedly increase their unit sales volume and profitability by selling more vessels and by selling larger, more profitable vessels to a heretofore unexploited market. This, in turn, will increase demand for IDS.  Once manufacturers realize the profit potential generated by the installation of IDS into their product line, adaption will be rapid.   

IDS should evolve and differentiate at least through the first few years after its introduction.  Evolution will include limited custom production lines which should establish profitable sectors especially in the larger yacht and commercial markets. Innovations may include lighter and/or stronger materials, more efficient rapid operation, and combining IDS with other technologies.  From time to time, units may be replaced with “later” models thereby establishing a reliable replacement market.  

 Overview-How IDS Functions:
IDS is a remotely controlled device that will quickly attach or detach a boat or yacht from one or multiple dock points. All the activities are done by the ship’s captain without the help of a crew member, the captain leaving his station, or the captain taking his attention off of piloting the vessel. 
The captain has a small control panel at his station with at least two buttons or switches.  It is envisioned that “rocker switches” which are common on modern boats will be used.  One switch on the left side of the panel operates the port side and an identical switch on the right side of the panel operates the starboard side (the panel can accommodate four switches, six switches, or more equally divided between the port and starboard sides).  At a minimum, two switches are required to operate at least two “Devices” – one for the port side and one for the starboard side (each “Device” is made up of Product components that in an automated controlled sequence work to establish a single connection between the boat and the dock).  When the vessel gets near the slip or dock, for example, on the port side (left side of the boat), the captain hits the top of the rocker switch (switches if the boat is set up with more than one port and one starboard Device) on the left side of the panel.  A cable extends from the boat, securely attaches itself to the dock cleat, and pulls the boat a precise distance close into the dock.  If the boat approaches on the starboard side, the captain hits the top of the rocker switch on the right side for the same result.  IDS performs all of these functions automatically.(In this presentation, tying up to a dock cleat is emphasized.  This is because it is a relatively standard and easily recognizable attachment point worldwide and because an essential value of IDS is that it does not require any modifications to docks or cleats.  Moorings and pilings may need slight modifications for IDS to perform - i.e. attaching a standard dock cleat to the piling or mooring).
When the captain wishes to leave the dock or slip he pushes the bottom of the rocker switch and the cable detaches from the cleat and draws back into the boat.  Once retracted, the Device is out of the way.  For safety, the control panel has an on/off switch, a light indicating when IDS is turned on and ready for use, and a light that indicates when the cable is securely fastened to the dock cleat.  All signals from and to the control panel will be carried via wireless transmission.

 How IDS Works:
Docking - A telescopic arm is threaded with a cable.   The purpose of the telescopic arm is to guide the cable to a docking cleat or a mooring. It does not provide any connection between the docking point and the vessel.  The   telescopic arm is maneuvered by servos.  The cable acts as a dock line providing only tensile strength.  One end of the cable is ultimately anchored to the vessel.  The other end of the cable is attached to a “cleat engager.” When the cleat engager comes in contact with its target (the dock cleat) it automatically closes around it.  If the vessel is far from the dock edge, the cable slowly pulls the boat to a predetermined distance to the dock.  The distance is monitored by the guidance system.  If the boat is close in, then no adjustment is made. The guidance of the cable, the telescopic arm, and the actuation of the cleat engager are fully automatic-they involve no human direction or intervention.  
An essential feature of IDS is that it will lock onto a “standard” dock cleat without requiring any modifications to the cleat.  This means that IDS can be used worldwide immediately at almost all marinas.    

Casting Away - When the captain wishes to leave the slip, he pushes the bottom of the rocker switch.  Immediately, the guidance system determines the exact location of the cleat engager and the telescopic arm is aimed directly at it. Upon the telescopic arm coupling with the cleat engager, the engager releases from the cleat.  The telescopic arm lifts the engager above the dock cleat.  Then the cable and telescopic arm collapse back into the device’s housing. 

 Wireless Operation:
The IDS’s control panel has only a few easily identifiable rocker switches.  Signals to the devices are by wireless transmission.  The device can also be controlled by a portable handheld transmitter.

Identification, tracking, and guidance with absolute precision is possible through existing technology.  The hardware, algorithms, code and programming have been developed over several years.   

Start-up to mass production requires multiple resources. It will take planning, organization coordination and capital to bring IDS to market.  Lead time is anticipated to be one to two years. 
Initially, it may be decided that several product sizes will need to be introduced depending on the determination of the scope of the primary target market.  This may delay product introduction, but will ultimately broaden initial demand and profitability.
Risks from competitors are mitigated by patent protection in the United States, the UK, Italy, and Australia; initial development work has been done; and the complexity of IDS which requires a fair level of sophistication, research, design, and financial capital to produce.    
New boat manufacturers will need convincing of IDS’s smooth function and reliability. Independent testing may be necessary.  Manufacturers will need lead time before integrating IDS into their line. 
Product liability stemming from failure or misuse may be an issue.  This is true with any new product introduction.  An attorney can address this.

 A chance to participate in an exciting, new, and perhaps “revolutionary” product that within a few years will change the way vessels dock and cast off worldwide.  The anticipated return on investment will be extraordinary.

A partner or partners who recognize and understand the risks and rewards in developing and launching a new product.  

 Please get in touch with me through email or by phone.
 Ira Nachem


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