The Catch’N’Release Anchor Retrieval System could spell the end of stuck anchors forever. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.
Cairns Duo, Margaret and Peter Powell, came up with the idea when they ran into trouble on the reef. A stuck anchor broke the bow sprit and almost sent Margaret overboard. Knowing that anchors were well known for injuries and damaging coral they quickly saw a problem they could fix. The simple, super sturdy system also takes plastic out of the ocean by eliminating the need for plastic zip ties on anchors.
I can see fisherman narrowing their eyes at the screen, wondering what type of fancy equipment it requires to work. However, that’s the beauty of it. Peter and Margaret haven’t found an anchor it can’t be retrofitted to yet. So no fancy equipment, just easy sailing!
It’s also made from 316 marine grade stainless steel and has a breaking limit of 3.6 tonnes. This means you can take it out in the boat you own now, or the luxury rig you plan to buy when you win the lotto.
So how do you use it? Simple. Release the sleeve down the line, let it hit the Catch’N’Release system then pull out the way it went in.
“One guy said he’d have to have it surgically removed before he gives it up,” laughs creator Margaret Powell, as she talks about the great feedback she has heard from customers. “Others have said they just wouldn’t be without it,”
It’s not just fisherman jumping on this great idea either. Dr Glen Richards from Shark Tank Australia gave full support when the product appeared on the show.
Dr Richards offered 100% acquisition of the product, but Margaret and her husband are still the proud owners of Catch’N’Release. They’ve also learnt several lessons along the way that could help other fledgling businesses.
“If you’re creating a physical product, you really need to source manufacturers that are of a like mind,” says Margaret. The duo struggled with finding a manufacturer who would “treat it as a priority”, which encouraged Peter to start his own manufacturing shed. However, creating this meant digging into their precious patent time. They now have just three years left before it expires and someone else can mimic the design.
This is why Margaret says some businesses might benefit from leaving the process until they absolutely have to. Though she adds that support has never been more readily available for budding entrepreneurs, which could potentially mean a smoother ride for our next generation.
Margaret also hit home at a point that many startups struggle with – trust in the product.
“When we started, people were hesitant to purchase. They wanted to see it in action before they parted with their money, which was fair enough. All the television exposure we’ve had and all the awards we’ve won has helped to build credibility in the business,”
“[Finally], always try to have really good people around you who can keep encouraging you to persevere, because it takes a long time.”
If you’d like to see what else is happening on our reef, you’ll love the Museum of Underwater Art video.