July 11, 2017

Rainman ProductsErik Pawson Of Watertight Boatworks here in North Vancouver, BC, is really passionate about the Rainman distillation equipment that he now distributes throughout Canada. What really got him excited, in the first place, on this freshwater making system was the story of how the Rainman equipment came to be.

In 2012, Dave Goldie had just got back from the Mariana Trench, in the north Pacific Ocean where he'd been working as an engineer on film maker James Cameron's Deepsea Challenge project.

He was living on his Beneteau yacht in Sydney Harbour. Spending a lot of time away from marinas, it quickly became apparent he would need a watermaker.

After extensive research into the available systems, his frustration grew. While there are many good quality systems in the market, none of them really met his needs. Some were too complex, raising concerns about long term maintenance. All were too expensive and all required an invasive installation process.

Pondering his options on his boat one afternoon, he looked at his red Honda portable generator. He then asked Ben Deacon, one of his sailing friends, "Why can't someone make a system that's as simple to use as my Honda gen set?" After some bouncing around of ideas and concepts, he saw a challenge. Fortunately his background includes both pressure engineering and industrial design, and he set about creating a system to meet his needs.

The breakthrough idea was all about simplicity, like a portable generator that makes water instead of electricity. It would be a self-contained unit that required no installation. That allowed the elimination of all the electronics, solenoids and control systems that cause so many maintenance problems.

One the guiding principles was that they would only work with top tier suppliers. People would be taking these systems to the furthest corners of the world, so reliability would be a top priority. Working with companies such as Honda, Dow Filmtec and General Pump, components were specified that would give thousands of hours of service in a marine environment.

After several prototypes and extensive testing, Dave and Ben had developed a working pre-production prototype. Dave's attention to detail went beyond the reliability and function of the system and extended to the design. Several hundred hours were spent hand shaping the mould for the original fibreglass shell. Internal components were designed on CAD and prototyped using 3D printing. The first thirty petrol (gasoline) systems were made with the fibreglass shell. Later the design would shift to a rotomoulded polyethylene shell for all systems.

After significant market research and enthusiastic responses from various people in the Australian marine industry, Dave and Ben knew they were on to something. They realised that in order to launch the system to the market, they would require capital for production and greater commercial experience to build Rainman into a viable business.


At the time, entrepreneur Ron Schroeder happened to be looking for an early stage opportunity to invest in and take an active role. After further market research, the three decided to commercialise the Rainman system.

The production ready prototype was launched at the 2014 Sanctuary Cove Boat show on the Gold Coast, Australia. After a massively enthusiastic response at the boat show, production began and first shipments shortly thereafter. Keen to expand their product line, work immediately began on design of the electric versions of the system (230V/50Hz and 115V/60Hz). The first units were marketed across Australia. After achieving local success, they launched internationally later in 2014.

As enthusiasm grew for the Rainman concept, it became apparent that some potential customers wanted a 12VDC Rainman system. Late 2015 and early 2016 was devoted to developing this version of their pressure unit. About 80% of people they spoke with felt strongly about retaining their simple design that includes simple and highly reliable pumps (eg. staying away from energy recovery systems). The 12VDC Rainman was launched in August 2016.
See how easy it is to setup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_G6VjB-AdBQ&feature=youtu.be

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