A genius way to secure hot tubs

The following article appeared in
Sun Peaks Independent News Magazine - July 2005

He doesn’t look like your typical mad scientist—he looks like your average guy as he holds his two-and-a-half-year old son at his home in Sun Peaks. Dan Stebner is a family guy—he owns a hot tub maintenance and retail company, Mountain Water Works, and volunteers at the local fire department, but more recently he’s become an inventor.

After seven years servicing hot tubs at the resort, Stebner has devised an ingenious safety belt called a Spa-Lash—a locking mechanism for hot tubs. The Spa-Lash is a simple solution to deter people stealing a soak in their neighbour’s hot tub, as well as preventing kids putting their lives in danger by gaining unattended access.

And Stebner’s one-of-a-kind invention is patent-pending.

“It’s kind of weird to think you’ve come up with an invention—it’s just weird,” Stebner says, his face lighting up with a smile. “It’s just a process I’ve carried farther than anyone else has, put some thought in, and now it’s come to fruition. I laugh because it’s a funny thing being an inventor, and I always laugh at that because I’m not into titles much, but it makes me feel good to contribute something positive—something that may save a life.”

Following a visit to last year’s spa and hot tub exposition in Las Vegas, Stebner found there are no other locking devices on the market, other than the four standard locks on the lids of hot tubs—an impractical system, he says, that’s often ignored by owners and can be readily cut by people determined to gain entry.

Spurred on by his extensive research into the lack of hot tub safety devices on the market, and his concerns about unauthorized use, especially the danger faced by children, he decided to fabricate his own quality product.

“I made an effort through what I do everyday to make sure all of the components of the Spa-Lash are weatherproof and that it’s a really usable product,” explains Stebner, who says he spent months thinking about this project, researching it on the Internet into the early hours of the morning.

“It was built out of necessity,” he continues. “I started getting annoyed with people poaching hot tubs. I wanted to protect people from the health risks involved of not knowing if someone else has been using their hot tub in their absence. Then once I started looking at the incident of poaching, I started thinking about child safety. What happens if a child fell in? I didn’t want to hear those stories. I got motivated and started looking into the Spa-Lash. I wanted to create a user-friendly system so anyone can operate it—to design a system that works in our weather and was usable and durable.”

The Spa-Lash resembles a belt and is composed of yellow and blue UV protected webbing, stainless steel plates, some wire and a key-entry lock—it’s strong, climate tolerant and scissor resistant. Since its launch last winter it’s been snapped up by over 50 customers, including sales in Toronto. Stebner says he’s had inquiries from Portland, Seattle and Big White, and this is only the beginning—Stebner’s goal is to capture the North American market, in particular the 87 ski resorts located in that market.

Presently, he says, there are an estimated 17 million hot tubs in North America and the industry is putting them out at a rate of 500,000 a year. Stebner admits he has a lot of work ahead of him if his creation takes off, and he’s getting prepared, because, he says, the public support for his patent-pending brainwave has so far been encouraging.

“We’ve had really good response to the Spa-Lash. I’ve had people genuinely love it, saying ‘my wife is going to like this because she’s constantly in fear of the kid getting in the hot tub’,” he explains enthusiastically. “It’s kept me motivated, it’s inspired me a bit more because other people believe in it. I think if everyone said ‘yeah okay Dan’, then I’d be saying, ‘okay, this is kind of stupid’, but it’s got some real merit to it.”

Even with all of the interest his Spa-Lash has received to date, Stebner’s feet are firmly on the ground. He insists he’s just a normal family guy with a vision—one that turned into an invention of a simple and effective way to protect the cleanliness of spas and possibly save someone’s life.

“My mission is if we can contribute to save a life, we have achieved our goal,” Stebner says. “It’s very simple, and that’s how I want to approach it. I’m just going to play it by ear and see where it goes—it’s a fun process coming up with a neat idea and it’s been an experience.”


Spa Lash Safety Systems • Ph: 250-578- 8669 •

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