Seven marine manufacturers were honored today for innovative achievement by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) at the 68th Annual Miami International Boat Show. Winning companies received their 2009 Miami Innovation Awards during NMMA's Industry Update and Innovation Awards Presentation, held this afternoon at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The Innovation Awards, organized by NMMA and judged by BWI, recognize 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.
"We had an exceptional bank of entries this year, with a total of 41 products entered in eight categories," says Zuzana Prochazka, Miami Innovation Awards chair, member of the BWI Board of Directors and staff writer for Latitudes & Attitudes magazine. "The judges were impressed with the products entered and able to recognize winners in six categories, including an Environmental Award and two 'Honorable Mentions.'"
In addition to Prochazka, BWI members rounding out the judging panel include: Charles J. Doane, editor-at-large for SAIL magazine; Alan Jones, executive editor of Boating World magazine; Jan Mundy, co-founder and editor of DIY Boat Owner magazine; Lenny Rudow, author and freelance writer for Marlin, Salt Water Sportsman, Boating World and Chesapeake Bay magazines; Tim Queeney, editor of Ocean Navigator magazine; and, Alan Wendt, editor, Marine CEO and Adventures magazines.
Miami Innovation Awards were presented to the following companies in these categories:
Consumer Electronics & Software: Simrad Broadband Radar BR-24. The BR-24's low power requirements, low emissions and enhanced short-range resolution deliver state of the art radar performance. Judge Tim Queeney comments, "This is the most significant advance in radar since World War II."
Consumer Electronics Software (Honorable Mention): CrossRate eLGPS 1110. The eL GPS 1110 was recognized for its innovative blend of Loran and GPS technology.
Consumer Installed Non-Electronic Hardware: Vetus Easy Tank. The Easy Tank has the flexibility of a bladder, but the durability of an integrated metal or fiberglass tank. Judge Jan Mundy adds, "This is perfect for a retrofit or for those seeking additional potable and waste water storage."
Inboard & Outboard Power Cruisers (Co-Winner): Aspen Power Catamarans L80 Launch. The L80's radical asymmetric hull design uses a single engine to significantly improve fuel economy. Judge Lenny Rudow notes, "When was the last time you saw a 26' boat that could break 20 knots with a single 110hp engine and boast a 3,000 mile range?"
Inboard & Outboard Power Cruisers (Co-Winner): Marlow 70E. The 70E's unique and proprietary laminating process, known as Full Stack Infusion, allows an open concept interior design without additional structural farming and employs numerous environmentally-friendly techniques. Judge Alan Wendt states, "This yacht is an impressive blend of innovation and craftsmanship."
Inboard & Outboard Power Cruisers (Honorable Mention): Boston Whaler 280. The 280 was recognized for its integrated hardtop, console and windshield system and convertible seating.
PWC, Jet Boats & Pontoon Boats: Sea Doo GTX iS PWC. The GTX iS PWC's active suspension and first on-water braking system puts it in a class of its own. Judge Alan Jones, after riding it through a three-foot chop says, "It's good enough to make an average rider, like me, feel like a pro and it allowed me to get out of bed the next day without a backache."
Runabouts & Fishing Craft to 24': Mako 18 Light Tackle Skiff. The LTS Rapid Planing System's unique rear vent enables low speed, shallow water planing with no bow rise. Judge Rudow says, "This boat gets out of the hole quickly in skinny water and does so at an affordable price."
Environmental Award: Island Pilot DSE 12m Hybrid. The judges found this design to be a positive step for the boating industry and alternative energy propulsion systems with its Steyer hybrid engines and vast solar array. Judge Prochazka notes, "This is a boat for those who want to be self-sufficient on the hook for extended periods, while staying 'green' and keeping all the onboard toys."