Our Story

 

Many of today’s great companies had humble beginnings in a basement or a two car garage with little more than an idea that was “outside the box”. Our founder, Al Baurley is no exception, having worked in the marine industry in South Florida for a number of years.

 

Inspiration . . .

 

One day when Al tried to return to work on a 100 foot Broward, he found that everyone was being turned away. The regular workers were watching some guys in their hazmat suits going aboard instead. We all knew that this yacht had an 11 degree list. This is not unusual on many of the large yachts, but it is balanced out with lead ingots outboard on the higher side, before the boat leaves the yard. And with a major refit going on where bulkheads were being moved, and new granite galley counter tops were about to be installed, this was not too unusual. But when everyone returned the following day, we all heard the story: there had been 35 gallons of red dyed Diesel fuel sitting on the floor of the Master Stateroom yesterday, and we could all still smell it, even after the clean up. On Broward yachts, the floor of the three aft cabins is the top of the Diesel fuel tank, and with the 11 degree list and a full tank, there would be some pressure on the top of the tank on the lower side. How did the fuel leak above the floor? A broken fitting or vent hose? No, it had been the thin tube used in the tank tender system. The tank tender system uses a small hand pump located upstairs at the helm, that the operator uses to pump air down to the selected tank. It then measures the back pressure in order to determine the exact depth of the fuel inside the tank in inches. It’s far more accurate than the average fuel gauge. In the case of the 100 foot Broward, one of these 1/8” tubes, much smaller than a drinking straw in diameter, had been severed while bulkheads were being moved around. It was still about eight feet long laying directly on the floor. Because it had been cut loose, and because the vessel had a list, the fuel started to trickle through the tube above the floor. When this happens on a Friday afternoon, and no one is around all weekend, come Monday morning, 35 gallons had found their way to the top of the floor, as the fuel was actually running down to a lower elevation.

The small tubes, however, with their capability to pull drops of water with air, sparked an idea in Al’s inventive mind. Experiments in that two car garage followed, trials & error, and, eventually: success and a US Patent.

 

Early marine exposure . . .

 

Al had entered the marine industry while his father, the late Al Baurley Sr., had been building a 62’ Sport Cruiser with an ocean racing hull underneath (the Thirsty Lady V). Al helped in the family project doing all the electric, marine electronics, pneumatic, hydraulic and plumbing systems. He designed the engine room hatch lift, systems, antenna mast tilt systems, the automatic retracting entry hatch and a windlass that tucked the Bruce anchor into the underside of the bow, in order to keep the front deck clean. The Thirsty Lady V ended up with many unusual high tech features like Hamilton jet drives, a two-foot-three-inch draft, as well as efficiency numbers not usually seen in the typical mono hull planning vessel. Dad had an appetite for the James Bond movies and often thought outside the box.

 

 

 

After the commissioning . . .

After a few years of watching and smelling the things that deteriorated aboard the Thirsty Lady V, Al designed and placed his first prototype Arid Bilge aboard. The next day, Al Sr. called to say that the odor was much worse. Yes, the “tide” had gone out in the marsh and the engine room was dry for the first time in eight years. All the slime growth was now exposed to air, drying out. It didn’t matter, because the first prototype held together for around 10 days and was then removed. Then began the process of refining and re-engineering the yet un-named system. After two years of changes and testing to see the longevity ever increasing, the genesis of the modern Arid Bilge System was born. Dad left us back in 2012. But the family yacht still has that original two-zone system that eventually morphed into a six zone system. On board today, it keeps six bilge compartments dry, from the anchor windlass compartment all the way aft, to the engine room.

 

Early on in 2004/05, Al produced a few of these huge early systems for friends with large yachts. Then the move to make the system smaller and cheaper for the mass market began. The current Series 9 systems were sold starting with the 2006 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show. Then in March of 2007, Al greatly reduced the size, introducing the Series 4 at the Palm Beach Boat Show. February 2009 witnessed the coming-out of the most popular system, the smaller Series 2. Finally, the Series 1 came out in 2015, and now Arid Bilge has a solution to wet bilges regardless of the size of the boat!