MIAMI – The National Marine Manufacturers Association and Boating Writers International honored three new boats and three consumer products for innovative achievement at the Miami International Boat Show, according to a statement from NMMA yesterday. The six winning companies were recognized with Innovation Awards during the annual Miami Media Breakfast yesterday morning.
The Innovation Awards program, organized by NMMA and judged by BWI, recognizes 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 and cost-effectiveness.
“This year, we had a record-number of entries in the Miami Innovation Awards program—upwards of 75,” said Roger Marshall, Innovation Awards chairman and president of BWI.
Additional BWI members rounding out the judging panel this year include James R. Barron, technical editor/writer, Trailer Boats; Jam Mundy, editor, DIY Boat Owner; Zuzana Prochazka, staff writer, Latitudes & Attitudes; Bill Pike, senior editor, Power & Motoryacht; Lenny Rudow, senior technical writer, Boating; and Alan Wendt, editor, Marine CEO.
Marshall, along with NMMA president Thom Dammrich, presented Innovation Awards to companies recognizing four different categories.
In the Inflatables, Small Boats and Tenders category, the judges presented awards to two products: the Genesis 310 from Walker Bay Boats and the Escape Electric Fun Boat from Johnson Outdoors-Watercraft Leisure Group.
“We had two strong contenders in this category, and both are so different that the judges felt giving each an award would be appropriate,” Marshall said.
The self draining floor, trim flaps, injection molded polypropylene hard bottom, folding transom and a host of other features make the Genesis 310 a truly innovative vessel, according to the judges.
“The Walker Bay has innovative features not seen in RIBs this small before,” Mundy said.
Judge Alan Wendt agreed. “Walker Bay has been bringing fresh ideas to the market for some time, and this collection on the Genesis 310 is worthy of an award,” Wendt said.
In the case of the Escape, judges said it redefines the entry level boat for youngsters and is an ideal vessel to get new people into the industry.
“The 10-year-old child in the Escape will be the 16-year-old who buys a 16-footer, and the 30-year-old who buys a 30-footer,” Rudow said. “This boat reaches to the very core of our industry’s biggest challenge—bringing new boaters into the fold.”
In the Fishing Boat category, the Innovation Award was given to Pursuit’s 3480 Drummond Island Sportfish.
“It is obviously designed by people that have been building fishing boats for a long time and are thoroughly familiar with the sport,” Pike said.
The Consumer Electronics category had two winners: Simrad’s WR20 Remote Commander and Brunswick New Technologies Marine Electronics’ Northstar 8000i.
The WR20 allows a captain to control his or her vessel from anywhere on the boat. It also has a built-in VHF radio that gives the captain instant communication with other captains without having to visit the bridge.
The 8000i offers video, navigation, radar display, CD player and up to 20 other electronic devices, including Mercury Marine’s SmartCraft engine sensors technology, in one easy-to-use waterproof touch screen unit. Each 12-inch display has its own CPU so if one screen sustains damage, the user can simply move to another screen and continue navigating or checking engine controls with no loss of data.
Finally, in the Consumer Installed Non-Electronic Hardware category, the winner was the Racor Filter Pump from Parker Hannifin Racor Division. The filter pump addresses an old problem plaguing mid-range to large boats, the judges said: the messy job of changing filter housings.
“It is user installable and retrofitable to older units,” Marshall said. “It also eliminates getting air into the injection system by pressuring the injector system while filling the cylinder.”
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