Fishing & Boating News

Products Honored For Innovation At IBEX

by: Lindsey Savin Johnson,

(Oct. 25, 2005 - Miami, FL) Ten companies were recognized with IBEX Innovation Awards at the 2005 International BoatBuilders' Exhibition and Conference. National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) presented the awards Friday, October 21 during the IBEX Industry Awards Breakfast & Keynote Presentation, held in Miami Beach, Florida, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Nine of the award winners received Innovation Awards, while the tenth recipient was presented with the NMMA Environmental Innovation Award, introduced into the Innovation Awards program earlier this year.

The Innovation Awards program, organized by NMMA and judged by Boating Writers International (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
  • Cost-effectiveness

BWI provides judges for the program, each having a particular expertise in an individual award category. Judges for this year's awards include: Roger Marshall, editor for Boatbuilder magazine and technical editor of Dockwalk and Boat International magazines; Jan Mundy, Editor, DIY Boat Owner magazine; James R. Barron, Technical Editor and writer for Trailer Boats magazine; Lenny Rudow, Senior Technical Editor, Boating; Dean Travis Clarke, Executive Editor, Sport Fishing, Marlin, Fly Fishing in Salt Waters and Boating Life magazines, and host of Sport Fishing Magazine TV on The Outdoor Life Network (OLN); Zuzana Prohaska, Technical Editor, Latitudes and Attitudes; Bill Pike, Senior Editor, Power & Motoryacht magazine and author of "The Complete Book of Motorboating."

"This year there are some really great products and we're giving an award in every category," said Marshall, Innovations Awards Chair and BWI President. Marshall and NMMA president Thom Dammrich presented Innovation Awards to companies recognizing nine different product categories:

Category Company Product
Boatbuilding Methods & Materials Bayview Edison Industries BEI's Reusable Infusion Port
Electrical Systems Blue Sea Systems Dual Circuit PLUS Battery Switch
Inboard Engines Volvo Penta Volvo Penta Inboard Performance System
Furnishings & Finishes Attwood Corporations VisionAir Seat
Hardware & Fittings Auto Anchor Panel Mount Rode-Counter System
Mechanical Systems AvXcel Inc. TropiKool 40 marine refrigerator
OEM Electronics & Electronic Systems Mercury Marine Shadow Technology Digital Throttle & Shift
Outboard Engines Yamaha Motor Corp. Multifunction Tiller Handle
Yard & Boat Construction Hardware & Software Forest City Tool Inc.  Forest City Tool Marine Line Quick Change Hole Boring System

In the Boatbuilding Methods & Materials category, the award was presented to Bayview Edison Industries for its BEI Reusable Infusion Port. BEI's port features a reusable aluminum bushing, allowing set up to be simple and efficient

"This part is a new, inexpensive and practical solution to some of the problems that can often hold up a job's progress," says Mundy. Auto Anchor Systems was selected in the Hardware & Fittings category for its Panel Mount Rode-Counter System. "These counters tell a boat owner precisely how much anchor line is out and is capable of resetting itself if the anchor line slips," says Marshall.

There was a lot of tough competition in the OEM Electronics Category, says Marshall, but the judges selected Mercury Marine's Shadow Technology Digital Throttle & Shift. The digital system allows a boater to control his or her engines with just two throttle controls.

"It is totally electronic and can have a plug-and-play installing for a second control station," says judge Jim Barron.

In the Mechanical Systems category, AvXcel Inc. won the judges over with its TropiKool 40 marine refrigerator. The refrigerator employs a reverse stirling cycle engine and natural refrigerants such as helium and carbon dioxide to cool the unit, and contains only two moving parts.

Judges say many companies entering products in the Outboard Engines category selected smaller versions of existing engines for consideration. Since the technology of the engines was largely the same, judges decided to give the Innovation Award to an engine component instead. The winner was Yamaha Motor Corp. for its Multifunction Tiller Handle.

Attwood Corporations was recognized for its VisionAir Seat in the Furnishings & Finishes category. The seat uses an elastomeric mesh to help distribute a person's weight evenly and relieving pressure from concentrated areas.

"I've been enjoying an Aeron chair in my office for a long time, commented judge Bill Pike. "Now there's a VisionAir chair for boats that uses the same technology."

In the Yard & Boat Construction Hardware & Software category, judges all agreed the award belonged to Forest City Tool for its Quick Change Hole Boring System. The system features a unique bit capable of drilling through gel coat without it chipping. The hole saw is also self-cleaning, says Marshall. "No longer does a boat owner have to lose time digging a plug out of the saw," he comments.

Blue Sea Systems' Dual Circuit PLUS Battery Switch, which simplifies switching between two battery banks won for the Electrical Systems category. "This is the product for individuals who always turn their battery switch to 'both' because they don't know which is the 'house' and which is the 'engine,'" says Barron.

In the Inboard Engines category, Volvo Penta was chose for its Inboard Performance System. "It is the first new drive system in more than 40 years, says Rudow.

In addition to the Innovation Awards, NMMA also presented its Environmental Innovation Award during the breakfast. The award, which was presented for the second time ever at this year's IBEX, recognizes companies that go above and beyond in terms of environmental responsibility in the recreational boating industry.

The 2005 IBEX Environmental Award was presented to Royce Industries for its Smart Cap, a marine tank monitoring system that virtually eliminates the possibility of overfilling the tank. "It is easy to use and solves a lot of problems plaguing older systems," says Marshall. To be considered for the Environmental Innovation Award, exhibitors at the three NMMA shows (IBEX, the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show and the Miami International Boat Show) must submit their new product for consideration in the Innovation Awards program.  Winning products will receive a separate award to honor their achievement, and do not necessarily have to come from the pool of those products honored with an Innovation Award.

For more information contact NMMA Trade Communications Manager Lindsey Savin at (312) 946-6204;