NMEA members name 2015 Product of Excellence Award winners

The marine electronics industry celebrated its best and brightest products at the annual National Marine Electronics Association International Marine Electronics Conference & Expo, held this year at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, MD, Sept. 29-Oct. 1. Top products were named for both the NMEA Product of Excellence Awards and the NMEA Technology Award. More than 450 leading marine electronics manufacturers, dealers, distributors, media and others from the United States and abroad attended the event.

Winners of the NMEA Product of Excellence Awards are selected by the NMEA membership in an online voting process based on specific eligibility requirements defined by the NMEA Awards Committee. This year the awards included several new categories of products (Marine Apps, AIS, NMEA 2000, Cameras, and Underwater Lights).

The Manufacturer of the Year for best support of products in the field was awarded to Garmin.

Product category winners are as follows:

Autopilot
Garmin GHP Reactor

Multi-Function Display
Garmin GPSMAP 7616xsv

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Radar
Furuno FR8065

Fish Finder
Furuno DFF1-UHD

Marine VHF Radio
ICOM IC-M506

Satellite Communications Antenna
KVH TracPhone V3IP

Underwater Lights
Lumishore EOS Series

Satellite TV Antenna
KVH TracVision TV3

AIS
Furuno FA150

NMEA 2000® Sensor
Actisense EMU-1

Marine App Aid to Navigation
Garmin BlueChart App

Marine App End User Utility
Garmin Helm App

Marine App Technical Utility
KVH TracVision Series App

Marine Cameras
FLIR M265

Simrad's revolutionary Halo radar took top honors in the 2015 NMEA Technology Award from among 13 nominated products. The annual award scores new products based on innovation, benefit to boaters, practicality and value. A three-person panel of judges, comprised of members of Boating Writers International, selected the winner. This year Panbo blog Editor Ben Ellison served as head judge. Joining him were Bill Bishop, a marine electronics installer who writes The Marine Installer's Rant blog, and Marine Electronics Journal Editor Jim Fullilove. "This first use of pulse compression technology in a recreational marine radar uses a rare earth Gallium Nitride amplifier instead of a traditional magnetron, which makes it safe for nearby humans and promises an extended service life," the judges said. "The technology also lends itself to an easy interface with remarkable dual-range performance."

Also honored during the Conference & Expo was Ralph Sponar, Jr., a longtime NMEA dealer member and chair of the GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) Implementation Task Force's Service Agents & Manufacturers Group. The founder of United Radio Service in Baltimore, MD, was presented with NMEA's 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.

"On behalf of the entire NMEA membership, we congratulate all award category recipients," said Mark Reedenauer, President & Executive Director of NMEA. "The membership voted and the turnout this year was better than ever. The additional categories allowed new manufacturers to be recognized. We look forward to further improving the awards process in 2016."

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