BIZ FEATURE: KEY WEST LOCAL AMY CULVER LAUNCHES NAUTICAL-INSPIRED LINE

The dry bags come in three sizes and feature a rollover snap closure to keep water out. CONTRIBUTED

Call them pennants. Call them flags. But if you really want to sound like a seasoned and prudent mariner, call them burgees [bərˈjēz]

“It’s a posh name for a sailing flag,” said Key West resident and business owner Amy Culver, who has amassed quite the collection of burgees during her years of sailing, visiting yacht clubs and doing international boat deliveries.

About a year ago, “while in the throes of delirium COVID,” Culver found herself staring at her growing pile of burgees and wondered what would happen if she started attaching them to clothes and bags instead of hanging them on her walls.

For years she’d given away the colorful triangular pennants, “but they were always received with tepid enthusiasm,” she said. “It seemed like people felt they were similar to those T-shirts that say, ‘My parents went traveling and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.’”

“I dusted off my minimal sewing skills and started experimenting,” she said, adding that she started attaching the burgees to Oxford shirts, canvas bags, polo shirts and tees.

“The first run of burgees uses the Kilo Whiskey moniker for Key West,” she said laughing. “Contrary to popular lore, that does not mean we’ve run through our kilo of cocaine and have resorted to whiskey. Burgeez is a drug-free workplace.”

Culver sent several of her prototypes to family and friends. “This time, they loved them,” she said.”In fact, they had the audacity to request more. Orders started pouring in faster than I could fill them on my own.”

No longer able to meet the demand from her personal stock of burgees, Culver reached out to her longtime sailing buddy, Blaise Besant. Together they designed a custom line of burgees and broadened their line of products to include waterproof, foldover dry bags, quick-dry shirts, hats and other items.

“Burgeez LLC was born,” she said.For more information or to order online, visit burgeezkw.com.

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.