LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thirteen marine manufacturers were honored earlier today for innovative achievement by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Boating Writers International at the 2010 International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference Innovation Awards in Louisville.
Winning companies received their 2010 IBEX Innovation Awards during the annual IBEX Industry Breakfast at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
The Innovation Awards, organized by NMMA and judged by BWI, recognize those products that best meet the following criteria: innovative distinction from other products currently being manufactured; benefit to the marine industry and/or consumer; practicality; cost-effectiveness; and availability to the consumer within 60 days of award receipt. A total of 67 new products were entered in this year’s IBEX Innovation Awards program.
“The winners recognized at IBEX today are a testament to the ongoing commitment to boating advancements and ingenuity necessary to the future of boating,” NMMA President Thom Dammrich said in a release. “It’s encouraging to see companies focus their efforts on creative solutions to help their customers and further the industry, and I’m excited to see how these products adapt in the market.”
“Judges found a solid mix of affordable maintenance products for boaters and game-changing technology in two propulsion applications,” stated Alan Wendt, IBEX Innovation Awards committee chair and editor of Marine CEO. “With the move to Louisville and the combination of IBEX and MAATS, we were expecting to see a lot of impressive entries for the 2010 Innovation Awards. This year’s participation exceeded our expectations with nearly twice the amount of entries than last year – a great sign for the future of boating innovation.”
This year's judging panel included: Alan Wendt, IBEX Innovation Awards committee chair and editor of Marine CEO; Zuzana Prochazka, technical editor, Latitudes & Attitudes and blogger for Boatermouth.com; Frank Lanier, marine surveyor and contributor to Practical Sailor and Southern Boating; Dave Mull, editor, Great Lakes Angler; Alan Jones, executive editor, Boating World magazine; Tom Tripp, freelancer, publisher and editor, OceanLines; and Chris Caswell, author and senior editor, Yachting Magazine.
The following list is excerpted from the NMMA release announcing this year's winners:
Boatbuilding Methods and Materials
Winner: Structural Composites
Judges selected Structural Composites for their Prisma SPT Strip Plank Technology. “Using the strip plank technology, replacing a deck becomes less expensive for custom boat builders or consumers,” said judge Frank Lanier.
Deck Equipment and Hardware
Winner: Sawgrass Distributors
Sawgrass Distributors solved an age-old problem that nearly every angler faces – where to put the beverage when the fish bite. The solution is a combination rod and drink holder. “Slap yourself in the forehead, why didn’t I think of that,” stated judge Dave Mull. “They have created 13 different versions addressing any number of transom configurations at various price points.”
Furnishings and Interior Parts
Winner: Corium Urethane Technology
One of the newer advancements in construction techniques, “Corium Urethane Technology brings big time molding technology at affordable prices for small runs,” said judge Chris Caswell. “Their system creates seats, dashboards and interior wall finishing by using the molded PU-Skin and foam technology.”
Winner 1: Dometic
Dometic took home the Innovation Award for their In-Duct Breathe Easy Air Purifier. “Easily retrofitable, this system helps improve the air inside a closed boat, removing noxious fumes and odors,” according to Wendt.
Winner 2: Whale Water Systems
The second winning entry is for Whale Water Systems Gulley IC. According to Lanier, “With no impeller to jam, this compact pump eliminates the hairy, sticky sumps for showers on board.”
Winner: Professional Mariner
With the ever changing technology in batteries, the ability to mix newer types like Lithium with existing technology is a problem that Professional Mariner solved with the Pro Nautic P. “Setting up a variety of profiles to charge these batteries safely and easily will future proof battery maintenance for the average boater,” said judge Tom Tripp.
Honorable mention: Blue Sea Systems for the Safety Hub
Yamaha took home the trophy for its new VF250 outboard engine. “This represents the most significant breakthrough in Four Stroke technology that allows the fast hole shots bass boaters demand,” according to judge Alan Jones. “The V6 is as light or lighter than two strokes, yet with distinct benefits of clean emissions, fuel economy and quietness of a four stroke.”
Winner: Kasco Marine
Kasco Marine took top honors for its Robust-Aire Marine Diffuser. “This is the Don Ho of tiny bubbles,” quipped Caswell. “With regulators requiring stricter water quality discharge standards in marinas, this version improves water flow 10 to 40 percent and solves several design challenges other manufacturers face trying to improve aquatic conditions.
Honorable mention: Pier Vantage for its affordable, web-based boatyard maintenance software package
Propulsion Parts, Propellers
Winner: Power Tech Propellers
Judges found innovation in Power Tech Propellers’ Safety Torque Hub and Drive Line Protector system. “Anyone who has replaced a lot of hubs will love this one and it will get you home,” said Caswell.
Garmin is the winner in the OEM Electronics category for its GPS Map 7215. “This big and bright 15-inch touch screen chart plotter delivers smooth map panning and zooming thanks to a built-in second processor with double the graphics power of traditional systems,” according to Tripp.
Trailers, Parts and Trailer Accessories
Winner: Quality Mark
Quality Mark took the award for its ingenuity that comes from addressing experiences boaters encounter while enjoying the water with its new trailer add-on, the Lever Jack. “Using leverage gained from a handle you can pivot a loaded trailer in any direction to lift it onto the ball with ease,” observed judge Zuzana Prochaska.
Honorable mention: Safety Sentry for its dual-purpose trailer hitch with theft deterrent
One product that will show up better at night than in day wins the Innovation Award for Safety. PlasDeck’s synthetic teak decking blends phosphorescent technology in the caulk line. After being charged by normal daylight it glows a soft azure blue at night. “For an entire deck or just steps from the bridge, this helps you see the boundaries of safe passage,” noted Lanier.
Winner: Energy Tech Marine Group
Energy Tech Marine Group’s Power Core Hybrid-Ion Energy Propulsion System took home this year’s Environmental Award, being recognized as a game changer for not only the boat industry but other industries that rely on propulsion. “The real genius of the Power Core Hybrid – Ion Energy Propulsion System is in the electrical management that automatically handles charging and balancing while underway,” noted Prochaska. “Not just an electric motor with lithium-ion batteries, this hybrid drive system is the only complete end-to-end commercial-grade hybrid energy and propulsion system for marine vessels.”
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