Sometimes tradition has more power than you know. When Yoshi and Simon Takashina’s grandfather, Tadayoshi, started making life jackets in Japan back in the 1930s little did he know that his grandsons and their American mother Dorothy would start a company in Boston in 1991 making PFDs for paddling a canoe, kayak, or raft.
Those years of experience have helped make MTI one of the best paddlesport brands in America. We are a small company still owned by the Takashina family, and now managed by Gordon Colby - former product manager for Voyageur and Mad River Canoe - and his experienced team based in southern Massachusetts near Cape Cod. They oversee all aspects of the MTI brand, from product design, Coast Guard approvals, and production in a modern factory in Shanghai that is owned by the Takashina family. The sales, marketing and distribution headquarters are located in Plympton, Massachusetts – just a stones throw from THE ROCK in Plymouth.
With dealers across the country, MTI is deeply committed to supplying product to specialty paddlesports and outdoor retailers across the country, and constantly strives to offer customers exceptional product features and quality at great value.
It’s a tradition that makes us who we are.
Why Buy MTI
We specialize in making PFDs. Our attention and resources don’t wander off to making boats or selling paddles. Our focus is on Coast Guard approved PFD designs and manufacturing them in an ISO9000 certified factory in modern Shanghai that is owned by the Takashina family. Our move into the Plympton sales and distribution facility in 2006 transformed our ability to better serve our dealer network across the country. Together this allows us to bring superior products at affordable prices to the market.
We spend a lot of time considering what people need and want in a PFD, often bringing the experience of our own staff to the design table. Our IT manager, Justin, is an ACA open boat canoe & sea kayak instructor. Our sales manager, Kevin, is a competitive sailor on the famous 12-meter Intrepid, a two-time winner of the America's Cup. Our president, Gordon, and his wife, Lili, our marketing director, met while working for Mad River Canoe. The idea for the PFDiva came from Lili’s visit to a well known lingerie store. “If they can make the “perfect bra” with soft neoprene, what can we learn from that for making a better fitting PFD for women?” A number of the staff have kids who spend their summers “on-water” and “in-boats”– the perfect test subjects for designing for “performance family paddling”. Our VP of Sales and Marketing, John, has years of paddlesports experience (more years than he wants to admit). His most recent on-water adventure? A month rafting the Grand Canyon with his wife on a private permit with good friends. Product testing doesn’t get better than that. Did we mention that we love what we do?
In addition to our own staff, we draw on the wealth of experience that our dealers, reps, customers, and pro paddlers share with us. Some ideas are not possible due to strict Coast Guard regulations. But many of our most successful ideas have come from people like you who took the time to write, call, or email us. How you use a jacket, how it fits, what features you want, what colors, what price can you afford? If we can build a jacket that you will wear, then we have succeeded in one of our fundamental goals.
Our slogan is “for a water planet” because we want you to be able to go out and have fun on the water with the added safety of wearing your PFD. An accident really spoils everything. Is it too much to hope for that everyone will wear their PFDs when they recreate on water? We want MTI to be the “one you’ll wear.” So here’s our simple formula:
- 1. Make it comfortable so you’ll wear it.
- 2. Make it look good so you’ll wear it.
- 3. Give it features that are practical and useful.
- 4. Make it affordable so you can buy it.
- 5. Meet or exceed all Coast Guard regulations.
- 6. Build it well so that it lasts for years and years of enjoyment.