Thirteen marine products were honored last week by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) at the 2014 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show; the product manufacturers took home 2014 Innovation Awards during NMMA’s State of Recreational Boating Industry Breakfast at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The Innovation Awards, organized by NMMA and judged by BWI, recognize products that demonstrate innovative distinction, benefit to the marine industry and/or consumer, practicality, cost-effectiveness, and availability within 60 days of award receipt.
“As judges, every year we debate the idea of innovation amongst many great products,” said Zuzana Prochazka, Innovation Awards judge chair, freelance writer and photographer for various boating publications. “We look forward to seeing how these products adapt in the marketplace and advance recreational boating.”
In addition to Prochazka, the panel of judges for this year’s Miami International Boat Show included: Nigel Calder, author of Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual and Marine Diesel Engines; Alan Jones, writer and editor for Boating World magazine; Ann Dermody, managing editor of BoatUS magazine; Lenny Rudow, senior editor for Dominion Marine Media; Alan Wendt, first vice president of BWI and contributor to various marine industry publications; and, Roger McAfee, regular contributor to Pacific Yachting, Sea, Southern Boating, Lakeland Boating, and ShowBoats International.
Thirteen Innovation Awards were presented today in the following categories. (Saltwater-fishing-related products that won awards included SeaVee’s new Z Series 390, the dynamic cabin system aboard the Boston Whaler 345 Conquest, and Simrad’s NSO16 evo2.):
Boat Care & Maintenance
EZPoxy2, by Pettit: Single-serving gel pouches of hardener and a longer pot life make this paint more user friendly, even for the do-it-yourselfer, potentially lowering the cost of boat maintenance and upkeep. Judge Lenny Rudow said, “If you love your boat, Pettit.”
Docking and Fendering Equipment
ShoreStation Boat Hoist, by Midwest Industries: A well-designed and well-executed hoist, it solves many problems and minimizes cable ware. “It is fast and low maintenance,” noted Alan Jones.
Furnishings & Interior Parts
Dynamic Cabin System on the Boston Whaler 345 Conquest, by Boston Whaler: This sleeping arrangement of retractable cushions solves the big issue of where to store the cushions when not in use. “At the press of a button you can turn a double bed into a dining room. It’s the James Bond of beds!” exclaimed Nigel Calder.
Mechanical & Electrical Systems – Co-winners
EZ-Mount Battery Switch, by Marinco Mastervolt
SNAPP Fuel Filter/Water Separator, by Racor/Parker Hannifin
Both of these products are solving traditional installation and maintenance challenges. “These will save you time and your knuckles,” said Lenny Rudow.
Personal Gear, Soft Goods, Watersports and Fishing Equipment
Zayak Sea Sled, by Tropical Paradise Plastics: For kids, older folks or anyone with a fear of snorkeling, the Zayak Sea Sled opens up a whole new world of underwater exploration. Judge Ann Dermody summed it up by saying, “it has all the advantages of snorkeling without the need for a mask and tube.”
**Pontoon and Deck Boats **
Expanding Pontoon Boat, by Island Boats: This is the first expandable-width pontoon boat that goes from 7′ 4″ to 10′ wide. “With a narrow beam for storage and trailering, this boat expands to optimize social space for everyone aboard – it’s not a pontoon; it’s a dance floor,” noted judge Alan Jones.
**Boats (25′ to 60′ including Fishing Craft) **
390Z, by Sea Vee: This 39-footer pops up on plane with minimal bow rise, turns like a ski boat, and delivers higher top speeds than conventional hulls. “One look at the hull will make you want to do the sea trial, and one ride will convince you this is a new kind of stepped hull,” said Alan Wendt.
**Propulsion Inboard and Outboard **
Gen2 Surf System, by MasterCraft: The Gen2 Surf System combines advanced hull design, weight distribution, custom wake shaping devices and onboard software to create a wide range of wake options. “It doesn’t matter how big or small or young or old you are, with this system, Mastercraft gives you the perfect wake,” said Lenny Rudow.
**PWCs and Jet Boats **
Spark PWC, by Sea-Doo: Welcome to the water – Sea Doo is expanding the entry level of boating. For half the weight, half the power and half the price, you can still have maximum fun on the water. “Four hours later, I can still taste the adrenaline,” said Ann Dermody.
Runabouts and Fishing Craft to 24’
ProStar, by Mastercraft: With innovations like a convertible bow, an intriguing storage system for your skis and an even flatter wake, Mastercarft gives serious water-skiers the best of all worlds. “Mastercraft’s passion for performance on the water is contagious,” noted Alan Wendt.
Oceanis 38, by Beneteau: Beneteau has found a way to attract younger families to sailing with this convertible boat that grows with you. “It’s almost enough to turn you from power to sail,” said Roger McAfee.
Consumer Electronics, Mobile Applications and Software
NSO16 evo2, by Simrad: The NSO16 evo2 brings big boat glass bridge style to midsized power and sportfishing boats. With one black box running two completely independent screens, the NSO16 also adds affordability to the navigation suite. “More computing power, less installation complexity and incredible functionality is a winning combination,” said Chairperson Zuzana Prochazka.