James Knoska, co-founder of Yacht Watchman International, is bringing the marine industry into the 21st Century to be at the same level as vehicles and homes in terms of monitoring and alarm systems.
"I worked in the healthcare industry for 25 years in sales, marketing and operations, and I was also a boat owner," he said. "When you leave your boat, it is like leaving a member of the family - you never know what is going to happen when you aren't there. When I was transferred to Chicago from Seattle, my peace of mind was gone because I could no longer monitor my boat. I started developing the first of our six patents. It started out as a method patent for a person to monitor and report. Then it evolved into a process to monitor and report back in real time using wireless communications."
Yacht Watchman designs and manufactures devices to monitor marine vessels while the owner is away. "The average owner uses their vessel only 17 times a year and funny things happen to boats," Knoska said. "80% of boats that sink actually sink at the dock. That's a pretty important number for mariners to realize. They think the boat will sink out in open water but that's not where it sinks. It's at the dock because of rain, faulty pumps, faulty float switches and batteries going dead."
Knoska's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is that you need passion, perseverance, vision and significantly more money and time than you think you will need. "First, you have to have passion for what you're doing and the second thing is never quit," he said. "That can be a blessing and a curse. You also have to be a visionary to be able to look at a thing and see something different than most people. People say it will take twice as much money and time as you think it will. That’s a fallacy. It will take five times as much money and time as you think you'll need. The challenge every entrepreneur will face unless they have really deep pockets is you'll run out of money. There is too much month left at the end of the money."