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15 Jul


A Family’s Vision And Effort To Making Boating And Beaches Safer

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a gentleman in Durham, NC, by the name of Jay Harris. He was introducing me to a new concept in shore anchors for boats. I decided to take a closer look at the company’s website since we at Saltwater Angler & Sportsman are forever looking at new innovations for fishing and boating gear. After checking out the website, I was impressed to say the least. I replied to his email and asked Jay if we could have a Zoom meeting for me to learn more about what he called the SHAC, a shallow water anchor for beachgoers. Jay agreed and asked if his family could join the call. Certainly, I agreed but I was unprepared for the Zoom call to be as it was. Quite an eye-opening surprise I might say.  

When the call began, it was just Jay and then family members joined a few minutes later. During that time, Jay began telling me more about his family’s anchor innovation and how it came about. As it turns out, the Harris family has spent many days on the North Carolina coast near Morehead City, where Jay’s wife Julie, had been raised. Places like Cape Lookout,

 Shackleford Banks and Carrot Island became their family gathering places where they could enjoy the salty water and all it had to offer like boating, fishing and just family togetherness. It was a tradition that started years ago and remains strong today.  Sometime back when they were at the beach, Jay and his family took notice of how the boats near the beach were anchored. They all used the basic anchors with the pointed flukes. An anchor is designed to be submerged in deeper water rather than on or near a beach. This was leaving the ”crown” and  “stock” exposed to beachgoers, creating a safety hazard. While many boat owners tried using buckets and other paraphernalia to lessen or even remove the hazard, nothing really worked well. It was when a family friend, while visiting the beach, accidentally fell on an anchor resulting in a significant injury, that Jay realized it was time to seek a solution to this dangerous problem. Jay and Julie decided that the solution should be created by him alone, but instead it became a project that would be taken on by the entire family. The task could be a great learning experience for their children as well. With Jay Harris being the successful owner of a large beverage distributorship in Durham, NC, he fully understood business development and management. This was a skill that he felt was important to pass along to his children.  

For many families this might have proven to be a challenge, but not for the Harris family! This became clear when the kids popped into the Zoom meeting room where I met them for the first time. Even though it was a video conference, I couldn’t help but be impressed and rightfully so. The Harris kids came not only with staggering resumes, but with a presence that is oftentimes not found in today’s younger generation.  

The eldest is Trey that resides in Arlington, VA, with his wife Katherine. Trey is brilliant having graduated from Davidson College where he was a collegiate swimmer. He’s worked with Wells Fargo as an investment banker but is now the M&A Manager for a large publicly-traded food company.  

Mason, Jay and Julie’s daughter, graduated from Furman for undergrad and then completing her BSN at Duke University where she serves as an ER nurse. A career that takes a special kind person. Mason is known both in and outside the Harris family for her kindness and hard work.  

The youngest of the family, Bennett, is a junior in high school at Durham Academy where he takes part in club swimming. He’s still looking at options for his next move after high school. Just like the rest of the family, Bennett shares in their passion for the coastal waters.  

After 2 years of hard work, the Harris family’s project to create a safer onshore anchor has achieved success. It took what seemed to be countless hours of design changes and improvements before it met the strict expectations of Jay and his family. This meant several failed trials and errors before the final design was handed over to Tyler Hagler of the Trigg design firm in Chapel Hill, NC for final development. The SHAC has gotten a great welcome and not only from boaters along the Carolina coast. In the fall The Harris crew will be hitting the boat show circuit with the SHAC at Annapolis and Fort Lauderdale shows in the fall.  

 Along with the successful development of the SHAC, there came the positive experience that comes with a family working together. It was a growth experience as well an education in business development and management and most of all, togetherness for the Harris family. The development of the SHAC was driven by the desire of a family to make boating safer, and any beachgoer enjoying the sandy shores. The project demonstrated character, determination, teamwork, and vision. From my perspective, SHAC is an excellent product created to target an important need. Most importantly, its creations were by a family seeing a need and going for the solution. Could that be a better scenario? 

In the weeks to come, Saltwater Angler & Sportsman Magazine will post a product review about the SHAC. This review will detail all aspects and uses, and will be a great time to learn more about this new boating product.  

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