by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
Jeff Lewis and Mark Matriotti no longer are just "regular" guys.
Five years ago, the two friends set out to fix a common fishing problem: Not being able to lift a cooler full of fish in and out of the boat. The cooler was simply too heavy to lift when full. The solution was to create a metal "Boat-Tote" that attaches to the boat trailer for easy access and hauling.
Little did Lewis and Matriotti know what started out as a home project one day would turn into a patented invention. A patent for the universal hanger cargo carrier for a boat trailer was issued through the office of Virginia P. Shogren - whom both Lewis and Matriotti highly recommend - on Sept. 28, 2010.
"It's neat that this finally came to a close but that it opened a whole new door," Matriotti said. "Marketing is the hardest part."
The Boat-Tote frame can be used for hauling firewood, spare gas cans, coolers, etc. The invention weighs 30 pounds, can haul up to 250 pounds and doesn't exceed the width of the trailer. The standard size is 41.5 inches by 18.5 inches by 4 inches. Custom sizes are available upon request.
Mounting the Boat-Tote is simple, according to Lewis. The invention is attached to the trailer frame with patented J-hooks - no drilling necessary! It's then secured to the trailer with two locking bolts. A bike lock and padlock easily can prevent theft.
For more storage space, a Boat-Tote can be attached to each side of the trailer. That's what Matriotti does at least.
Lewis co-owns and operates Arrow Septic, Inc. Matriotti works as a heavy equipment operator. The two families are very close. In fact, Lewis and Matriotti are at it again.
"We may have another invention in the future," Matriotti said, declining to say anything else about the project.
For more information or to purchase a patented Boat-Tote, call Mark Matriotti at 460-7004 or Jeff Lewis at 461-1501.