Besides the obvious players in the high-performance marine industry, many of the innovative boater-friendly products available to enthusiasts nowadays have been created by boaters just like you who found a void in the market to fill or made a better version of something for ease of use, security, performance gains, etc.
Motor Monkey from Kort Wittich of Covington, La., is the latest example of a unique product I’ve reported on from boaters who ran with one of their ideas. Another somewhat recent successful case in point is the man behind the DriveGuardian and DriveSync products, Mike Clesceri, who founded Marine Design Corporation as a side gig several years ago and has since created a full-fledged business out of the innovative components that make driving a performance boat easier and safer.
My friend Terry Sobo of Deep Impact Boats created an outboard line tender that’s pretty cool and useful; lifelong boat racer Shaun Torrente, who I’ve watched climb to the pinnacle of his sport over the past decade, built an outboard bracket business with recent growth that’s far exceeded his expectations and I’ve met many people who have invented retractable cover fasteners, drain plug wrenches, dual-purpose PFDs, cleaning supplies, drink holders and more — not to mention the different technological applications for connecting with boaters or monitoring equipment.
Hang around the performance boat community long enough and you’ll realize many of the products you’ve come to appreciate were invented out of a boater’s necessity. That’s exactly why Wittich went to work on his outboard engine guard.
Wittich, who owns a Sunsation Boats 34 CCX with triple Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines and a 38-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran powered by twin Sterling Performance engines, said he quickly realized that he needed to figure out a way to keep his outboard engines from getting banged up at the docks. What he came up with is a lightweight shield for the rear section of the engine cowling that is made of a series of durable foam core panels and has “arms” that wrap around the cowling and attach with Velcro and suction cups to give the Motor Monkey its snug, secure fit at the docks or while running at speed.
Wittich’s design is patent pending and also can be used as a side fender with the included rope attachment.
“What we’re rolling out is the fourth generation of this idea I had to protect my outboards and so far it’s been well received by everyone who has seen them,” said Wittich, admitting that next week’s Miami International Boat Show (Motor Monkey is in E Tent, booth E164 ) should be a good indicator, especially since he’ll have a pair on two new boats in the water at the show, a Sunsation 32 CCX and a Wright Performance 360 cat. “We should have a good idea of the pulse of Motor Monkey after the boat show, and not just in the performance segment. We see this as being useful in the sport fishing market, the smaller single-engine class and even the cruiser market where many companies are building boats with outboard power now.”
Wittich said his company — KT Marine Services is the overarching business — made sure the product did its job on his Sunsation and a variety of other boats.
“We did testing with various sport cats and center consoles with different engines and configurations and the Motor Monkey worked on all of them,” Wittich said. “I also did extensive testing with my boat on the Tickfaw River in Louisiana. I found the roughest dock I could find and left the boat there for 48 hours through very windy conditions and boat traffic and came back to not a single scratch on any of the motors. I did this several times with tide fluctuating up and down and windy conditions and the results were all the same. Once you see one in person and in action you will understand the value of the product.
“We just started with pre-orders on the website this week and we’ll have 750 units ready for shipping on March 1,” he continued. “We’ll see where it goes from there. The Motor Monkey brand has more in store—we have a few things we’re looking into that could make boating easier and simpler.”
Currently, the Motor Monkey is available in two standard colors, black and blue, and is for sale on the website for $299.
Former Powerboat editor Jason Johnson was an integral part of the magazine staff from 2005 through 2011, utilizing journalistic integrity and experience in and around performance boats to report on all aspects of the go-fast lifestyle. The award-winning writer resides in Southern California and is the executive editor and co-publisher of speedonthewater.com.