A History of Boat Protection

If you have a Megaware KeelGuard on your boat, you know your boat is protected. But do you know what makes Megaware KeelGuard the premium boat protector? Read on about the evolution of Megaware and their role in boat protection history.

Boat Protection History – The ’90s

It was a dark time in boat protection history until 1992. That year, master boat builder Ron Gibbs founded the protector of watercraft and Fiberglass boats: Megaware KeelGuard. Gibbs brought his knowledge of boats and ingenuity to address a common and aggravating problem – damage on the keel. Boat owners were spending thousands to repair common problems caused by hidden debris, or even by beaching the boat on the shore or ramp. Gibbs created the original 4 ½ inch wide model keel guard to provide reliable performance at an affordable cost.

This was the first time in boat protection history that protecting your investment was both affordable, and offered a do-it-yourself option. When Gibbs released the Model 100 KeelGuard with 3M adhesive to ensure security to the boat, the industry took notice. Knockoffs quickly followed suit.

1998 was another important year for Megaware. On April 1 that year, David Shumway and family took ownership of the company. “The KeelGuard was already a proven product. It sells itself,” he insisted. “So, I was confident that by combining it with our marketing expertise, we could improve sales.”

The original Megaware KeelGuard Model 100 in white.

With the business transition, Megaware discontinued Models 100 and 101, to focus on Model 102. This was another key time in boat protection history. “The 102 made the other models obsolete,” Shumway explained. The new model was a half inch wider, and boasted numerous improvements with more surface area and patented hydrodynamic grooves. Plus, it was comparable in price. That made it the best value. David added, “This is a never-ending process as we are vigilant at researching ways to improve it.” Indeed, they have.

Close-up of Megaware KeelGuard Model 102 in red.

Boat Protection History – The 2000’s

David’s son, Ryan is the Director of Operations for the business. When interviewed, he shared, “We continue to innovate and constantly update our products. We are committed to testing and researching to ensure we are using the latest and best materials available. Our products are constantly evolving with the industry.” History has proven this. In 2006, superior UV inhibitors were added to prevent discoloration from sun exposure. While other keel  protectors on the market begin turning yellow due to sun exposure, the KeelGuard maintained its luster.

Then, after working with 3M engineers, Megaware introduced a new stronger adhesive in 2013. This new adhesive not only made the bond stronger, it entirely eradicated delamination. David quipped, “It’s easy to offer our 100% hassle-free warranty when we do not encounter problems!”

Megaware has continued to refine Model 102. While other keel protectors on the market are based on the original Model 100, they have remained largely unchanged. Ryan affirmed, “Our KeelGuard is the only do-it-yourself keel protector to offer a self-sealing contoured edge. This patented design, eliminates the need to apply messy sealants along the edge as is recommended by competing products. Furthermore, we’ve also added extensive anti-fungal agents to make it perfect for the harsh marine environment.” Megaware’s line of keel protectors fit nearly any boat. The come in nine different sizes to accommodate boats between 14 and 30 feet in length. And if your boat doesn’t fit those measurements, they also offer custom lengths. The Megaware KeelGuard also offers a wide array of colors with 11 color options to match almost any boat.


Boat Protection Today

Boat protection with Megaware doesn’t end there. In 2016, pontoon boat owners were offered an innovative product from Megaware to protect pontoons with the Pontoon Guard. “This product goes down the side of the pontoon. It provides protection to the side of the tubes against abrasion and chafing caused by dock, other pontoons, and hidden obstacles.” David explained. “We incorporated a special 3M reflective strip into the design for safety. This reflective strip improves visibility at night or in low-light conditions.” The Pontoon Guard is 3 ½ inches wide and comes in pairs of 16’ and 20’ in length. There are four color options to choose from.

Megaware has not sat idle in other ways to protect boats. In addition to the KeelGuard, Megaware introduced the SkegGuard and SkegPro to their line of products. Both the SkegGuard and the SkegPro protect motors against wear and breakage. You can also use the skeg products to inexpensively replace a broken skeg.


Later, Megaware added two additional products. The ScuffBuster was added to protect against unsightly marring from the trailer roller on the bow. And in 2017, Megaware released the FlexStep Pro, an adjustable trailer step. The FlexStep Pro not only makes getting in and out of the boat easier, but makes it safer as well.

The Megaware motif is protection and Megaware has been at the center of boat protection history. Over 25 years of producing boat protection products has brought satisfaction and loyalty that the Shumway family does not take lightly. “We believe in our products,” Ryan said, “and greatly appreciate the trust our customers and business partners put in us.”

You can find all of Megaware’s boat protection products online or in major retailers throughout the country. Make sure to follow Megaware on social media to keep up-to-date with their latest advances and new products.

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Andrew Buss

Andrew Buss resides with his family in the great state of Indiana. When he’s not fishing, creating YouTube videos or running the R&B Bass Circuit, he poses as a school teacher. If you’d like to see more from the #hunteroffish check out his social media channels.


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