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2023 IBEX Innovation Award Interview with WIF-Pro

The Ultimate Water-In-Fuel Monitoring System for Outboard Boats

Innovation Award judges see dozens, sometimes hundreds of new marine products in a year. Some of those are solutions to contrived problems that never really existed in the first place. Or maybe the solution is proportionally way too big or heavy or costly for the problem it was meant to solve. Some products introduce new safety hazards that have never occurred before. Still, others just plain won’t work in the marine environment, or not for long.

It’s against that backdrop that the standouts really shine. At IBEX 2023, the WIF-Pro was exactly that kind of standout—a product whose designers had identified a real-world problem and invented a solution exquisitely adapted to the world it lives in. The world, in this case, is fuel systems, particularly systems designed to deliver clean fuel to outboard engines on center-console boats. The “WIF” in the product’s title stands for “water in fuel,” one of the central problems boat operators contend with every time they’re underway. Fitting neatly into the standard fuel/water separators that are already installed on most boats, the WIF-Pro provides ample warning well before water threatens to shut an engine down.

“The float/sensor technology of the WIF-Pro offers outboard boat owners a safety feature when out at sea through a fuel filter system with an externally mounted sensor ring that detects and alarms the captain when five ounces of water gets in the fuel system,” said Innovation Award judge Ed Sherman. “Once the filter bowl is drained, the system clears and you’re back underway.”

What problem was WIF-Pro designed to solve?

To provide effective, reliable water-in-fuel detection at the fuel filter before the water reaches the motor(s).

Who is the target market for WIF-Pro?

Currently, any gasoline outboard boat with as many as four motors.

Who is currently using WIF-Pro? What feedback have you received?

Predominantly owners of center-console outboard boats. In the short time since introducing our product to the market, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from boaters as well as industry professionals (e.g. boat mechanics, outboard dealers, and so on.) Most people compliment the product on its simple, effective design and the market need for the product.

What kind of boats is WIF-Pro being used on? How has it changed the boatbuilding process?

Predominantly center console outboard boats. It hasn’t yet changed anything in the boat building process but we anticipate having our complete system ABYC approved by the summer of 2024 and, sometime shortly thereafter, boat builders will be able to offer WIF-Pro as an option to the boat buyer or simply incorporate WIF-Pro into their build.

What obstacles arose during the R&D process?

Because we embarked on a novel (now patented) approach to this age-old issue, just about every step of the design/build process presented challenges. We identified 5 critical aspects of the design that could not be compromised:

1. Reliability
2. Self-testing system
3. Redundant alerts (audible & visual)
4. Durable with no-wear parts or required maintenance.
5. Simple user-interface.

What plans are in place for the future of WIF-Pro?

We have quite a bit in the works. Our system control panels will be NMEA compatible by May 2024 with multiple mounting options. We anticipate having the complete system ABYC certified for gasoline OEM applications by the summer of 2024. And by the end of this year, we will have diesel systems available for the Racor Turbine series 500/900/1000 filters.

The IBEX Innovation Awards showcase outstanding marine product development to the recreational boating industry and beyond. The program, managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and judged by Boating Writers International (BWI), is one of the marine industry’s most prestigious honors recognizing manufacturers and suppliers who bring new, innovative products to market.

WIF-Pro

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The “ULTIMATE” Water-In-Fuel Monitoring system for outboard boats! Located in Palm Beach Florida, WIF-Pro is proudly designed, engineered, and assembled in the U.S.A.

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