• 2015

  • Product
    Sport and Lifestyle

Commissioned By:

Evan Caprioli

Designed In:


The Retract-a-Float is a simple solution to a myriad of problems. Crab pot floats have become synonymous with masses of knots and tangles, ropes being cut by propellers or tangled in mangroves, and boats becoming spaghetti like messes with floats looking like meatballs in a rope infested fettuccine. Retract-a-floats keep 7m of rope neatly coiled under tension within the float itself, only uncoiling enough to keep the float directly above the pot. Pots can be dropped directly into the water with no need for uncoiling or estimating of how much rope will be needed regardless of tides or waves. The Retract-a-Float also keeps the rope free of tangles and knots by internally recoiling the rope as the pot is drawn in.

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  • The Retract-a-Float has been designed to still resemble a traditional float but be intuitive to use without any need for instructions. The handle on the top and the round rope retainer on the bottom invokes users to pull the rope and understand the intended function of the unit. The small flat sections on the side allow the Retract-a-Float to be sat upright without being affected by the rope while also acting as a means to display the unit neatly on retail shelves. All fasteners are hidden and multi-use, for instance the foam retaining cap acts also acts as a bump protector and area for user details while the stainless steel pin keeps the handle area together and is also a strong tie-off point.

  • A custom stainless steel spring was designed to deliver consistent tension throughout the 7m of rope travel. This allows the Retract-a-Float to sit atop the water without being pulled under when close to the maximum rope extension. The Retract-a-Float was designed to be as small as possible to allow for as many as possible to be packed into smaller sized boats where space is at a premium. An overall diameter of 180mm was arrived at after experimenting with rope diameters and lengths, handle sizes and placements as well as the required buoyancy to keep it all afloat. Designated marking spots for user details and a stainless steel tie-off point allow for easy user customization and identification.

  • All parts except the spiral spring are made in QLD, Australia where the Retract-a-Float is also assembled. ASA was chosen for the material due to its good price point and suitability for harsh outdoor environments. The rope is a braided nylon marine rope that has been designed for use in coastal environments. The Retract-a-Float has been subjected to extensive salt water testing and repeated drop tests to ensure it can easily survive in its intended environment.

  • RRP's of $29.95 for a single unit and 4 for $99.95 were identified at the project initiation as ideal price points and given initial market feedback these appear to be on par. Retract-a-Float is the first product of a range of marine based products that are intended to be released gradually over the coming years. Plans are already underway for smart based products to be sewn into the range and all existing products have been designed with internal spaces to allow for chips and sensors to be fitted at a later date. Due to the family tool design employed ROI is relatively low and on track to be profitable within the first year of release.

    The Retract-a-Float has taken a few existing technologies and married them into a product that solves a lot of problems which have been taken for granted for years. The spiral spring has been developed off industrial tape measures while the part and tool design were a culmination of years of experience in injection molding. The beautiful simplicity of the function combined with the smart production of the unit combine to make a neat product that delivers its function in a compact, well priced package.