History of Firstmate Controls

“Necessity, the Mother of Invention” ~ Plato

Being boaters on the Mississippi during our dating years, our agreement when putting the boat away was that John would clean the outside of the boat while Julie cleaned the inside. Worked great until the day the spokes came off ~ John had the boat up on the lift while Julie was cleaning the inside like any other time. John stepped away and Julie decided to try and jump from the boat, in the air, to the dock. Not making the dock and falling between the lift and the dock. From those injuries came the invention of the Firstmate® remote control system. “If I could have had something inside the boat to lower it by myself, I would have never got hurt”. So John and his team went to work and created a blower box system that was not only safe for boating passengers, but easy to use as a second set of hands getting the boat on and off the lift. We continue to strive to make safe, easy to use, and reliable blower boxes for all boaters ~ since we are boaters ourselves.

~ John and Julie Figura


Our manufacturing facility is in Labadie, Missouri. Everything is built from the ground up from the time you place your order until it goes out the door. We begin with heavy gauge steel frame design. Welded and powder painted. Any electronic components are tested in pre-production and again prior to shipping. As your system goes down the line, it is spot checked for Quality Control and put together by our knowledgeable staff. Prior to shipping, all systems are fully tested, valves pressure checked, and packaged ready to be delivered to your door or your dock. We are thankful to have a staff of dedicated employees who all have the same goal in mind. They are encouraged to be inventive; always look for improvements in design for what makes a better product; input is key. Most importantly ~ what comes out our facility is only a quality product.


Starting out in satellite communications, our company’s path has made many twists and turns since becoming Firstmate Controls in 2005. We continue to do contract engineering from larger firms and offer engineering services for the smaller inventor as well. We have aided in bringing products to market not only in the marine market but also in the drive-through industry, trucking industry and hold multiple patents in communications. We have always learned to do what we can to keep inventing, producing and manufacturing to keep America going!


“Of all the things I have bought at the lake, this was my best purchase!”
~ Tom S., Sunrise Beach, MO

“Safety  - with the remote system, there is no need to leave someone on the dock to raise the lift”    ~ Jim H., Lake St. Louis, MO

“Able to raise lifts to protect them when boating”  ~ Ken E., Rocky Mount, MO

 “The Firstmate has operated flawlessly since day one. It’s one part of boating that I don’t have to worry about. It adds piece of mind.”  ~ Jeffrey L., St. Charles, MO

“Cool product”  ~ Joe L., Shawnee, KS

“State of the art system & dependability”  ~ James M., St. Louis, MO

“A good safety feature for older people & some disabled”  ~ Dr. W. Edward L., St. Louis, MO

“Convenience”  ~ Robert C., Smithville, MO

“Dependable – good range – good service – the boarding level is great” 
~ Robert T., Kansas City, MO

“Great product. Would recommend to anyone” ~ Keith S., Sunrise Beach, MO

“Product performs exactly as promised… makes lifting and launching my bass boat much easier.” ~ Ron D., Overland Park, KS

“Fast, well installed, happy with unit.”  ~ Phil R., Sunrise Beach, MO

“I have used the Pro and it has worked flawlessly. It makes docking absolutely effortless.” ~ Wm. G., St. Louis, MO

“Cool! Works great.” ~ Gary G., St. Louis, MO

“works great - love the remote - fast curtious service” ~ George O., Ballwin, MO

“Better than I expected” ~ Larry G, Lake St. Louis, MO

“Convenience and Safety” ~ Craig A., Rolla, MO

“Great system!” ~ Denver, NC



Firstmate Controls

130 Century Commerce Loop
Labadie, MO 63055



Copyright 2018. Firstmate Controls. All rights reserved.
Website design and hosting by MSW Interactive Designs LLC. We put the web to work for you!