How Buoy Sports Began
Buoy Sports was founded in 2010 by my wife and I with supporting enthusiasm from our three children Katherine, Sydney, and Harrison. The company was created as a vehicle to manufacture and distribute our first product, The Original Buoy Bat. We knew it was big-time fun and we wanted to share it. At the time, no one had ever seen a Buoy Bat because no one had ever made one and taken it to market. Fisherman and their families had been using old lobster buoys to hit balls for decades…but no one ever thought to integrate a real bat handle, include a face-friendly ball, and put a price tag on it. We knew it was fun because we played it ourselves.
We sell wholesale, on our own website, and at fairs and festivals where we set up a booth and introduce our products to people. In 2013 we were featured in Yankee Magazine, The Boston Globe, and Downeast magazine as one of New England’s “best gifts” of the year. In 2014 - we came super close to getting on the hit TV show - Shark Tank but in the end, just missed the boat.
Our products are made from real foam fishing buoys and they’re all made in Maine USA right here at our house. We’re capable of applying custom painted designs on the buoys and love to share our fun products with people.
Listen to Buoy Bill tell the story by clicking here.
We sold the first Buoy Bat in November 2010 but the story of how I came up with the idea for the invention goes back to July, 2008. My father and mother live in East Boothbay Maine on a cove and on a trip to visit them, a lobster buoy washed up on shore and my children and I found it. As we were walking back to the house with our find, we came across the dog playing with a tennis ball. In that instant, I had an idea. I took the ball from the dog and handed the buoy to Katherine while showing her how to hold it like a ball bat. I stepped back and pitched her that slimy, dog drool covered tennis ball. On that first pitch, Katherine hit the ball back at me...and right over my head. Katherine had not at that point in her young life played any sort of organized bat/ball sport but was able to hit the ball easily because of the large buoy on the end of the stick. Katherine hitting the ball easily and having fun doing it would be my motivation for inventing the Buoy Bat…but I wouldn’t realize it for quite some time. We played a few times on that trip then brought the buoy home to South Berwick where it wound up in our barn. Fast forward two years.
In July 2010 our family made plans to take a vacation on Sturdivant Island off Falmouth Maine with two other families. While packing for the trip I went to the barn to look for a tent and came out with that buoy from 2008. It was leaning in a corner and being a multi-tasker, I immediately forgot about the tent when I saw it. I said to myself, “I’ve gotta make a bat out of a buoy to take on vacation with us…the kids will love it!” I set out looking for a good buoy and rugged stick to use for a handle. (That buoy was too nice to sacrifice for a bat) I found a good buoy and drove an old lacrosse stick handle into it with a hammer. I used hockey tape to create a knob at the end of the handle like a real bat and then decorated it with a sharpie. “Maine Buoy Ball”, “Buoyville Slugger”, and “Patent Pending 2010” were some of the markings….I was just having fun.
We took the buoy bat on vacation and played it with our friends. The little ones could hit the ball easily and the adults could hit it a mile…we all loved it and it was fun. For the entire week, I dreamed and schemed to myself and out loud about how I was going to sell millions of the bats…my friends thought I was nuts…I was serious. The moment we got home, I went to the internet and started looking to see if anyone had done it and buying up meaningful website addresses. I was on a mission to create The Original Buoy Bat. I borrowed a wood lathe and began turning prototype handles. After much trial and error, and testing of the bat with different balls, we sold our first batch of Buoy Bats just before Christmas in 2010. (Sounds like it was easy but boy, it was not) So that’s the short version of the story.
The bats are made with hardwood handles and branded with a Buoy Bat logo. A real lobster buoy made of very rugged and firm foam is used on the bat. These bats are indestructible when used as designed because buoys are made to take a beating. The balls are soft and face friendly so they don’t hurt when they hit you. They also don’t break windows and are wicked fun to hit. They travel far and make a cool “thuuuuump” noise when you hit them. There are no formal rules for playing, but we’re certain people have created their own.
After a couple years we started offering cool designs on the buoys including lobsters, stars & stripes, shamrocks, our slugger logo, crab, starfish etc etc. The possibilities are endless.
What set’s us apart is our ability to see in a simple lobster buoy an opportunity to create things that will bring happiness, joy, excitement, fun, exercise, family time, and laughter to people. It’s clear to us that the Buoy Bat is perceived by all ages to be cool, fun, clever, and healthy. We’ve created a need…where there was no need. Bats and balls are everywhere, but there’s only one made from a lobster buoy and people love it.
We are the epitome of a family start-up business in America. Things come together in the entire house…the basement, the garage, and the living room. Everyone helps at times. Mom and Dad a lot, and the children as they can and are able.
We offer other products also…our newest provides more laughs and giggles than the buoy bat. It’s the Bathroom Buoy…a freestanding TP Holder made from a lobster buoy...we call it the Poo-E-Buoy. We also offer decorative buoys we call Welcome Buoys because they’re usually hung near a door as a greeting to visitors. We also offer a bat to hit tennis balls to dogs with called Buoy Bat Go Fetch! It picks the balls up off the ground so the human doesn’t need to bend over to get them.
Buoy Bats…and all our other products are available for you to see on our website.