Fishing & Boating News

Seven Products Honored for Innovation at 2007 Miami International Boat Show

Companies receive Innovation Awards during Miami Media Breakfast

by: Lindsey Savin Johnson,

(Feb. 15, 2007 - Miami, FL) Seven marine manufacturers were honored this morning for innovative achievement by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) at the Miami International Boat Show. Winning companies received their 2007 Miami Innovation Awards during the Miami Media Breakfast, held Thursday, February 15 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The Innovation Awards, organized by NMMA and judged by BWI, recognize 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; and availability to the consumer within 60 days of award receipt. "This year, a total of 50 products were entered in eight different categories," says Zuzana Prochazka, Innovation Awards co-chair and member of the BWI Board of Directors. "There were some exceptional entries this year, and it made the judging process a challenge." BWI president Roger Marshall, who typically chairs the Innovation Awards, was called away on a family emergency and was unable to attend this year's event. In his absence, the awards were co-chaired by Prochazka and Jan Mundy, editor of DIY Boat Owner magazine. Additional BWI members rounding out the judging panel include: Jim Barron, technical editor and writer, Trailer Boats magazine; Phil Draper, editor, European Boatbuilder magazine and special reports editor, IBI magazine; Duncan McIntosh, publisher, Sea and Go Boating magazines; and Lenny Rudow, senior technical editor, Boating magazine. In the Consumer Electronics & Software category, the judges selected the CannonLink by Johnson Outdoors. The CannonLink module enables any Humminbird fishing system to simultaneously or individually control the operation of up to six Cannon downriggers. The user can automatically deploy or retrieve outriggers, monitor downrigger depth off the bottom and view temperature at depth and speed through water. "The only thing it doesn't do is put the bait on the hook and drop it over the side," says judge McIntosh. An Honorable Mention in the Consumer Electronics & Software category was also presented to the GB 60 Glass Bridge System by Simrad. The One Touch Winch Handle from Lewmar was the winner in the Consumer Installed Non-Electronic Hardware category, according to the judges. By simply squeezing the locking mechanism anywhere on the shaft, the user quickly engages or releases the winch handle. "To be able to improve on something so simple, and that's been around for decades, is quite a feat," says Draper. "Priced right and well designed, it's a clear winner." In the Consumer Personal Gear category, the Innovation Award was presented to the Windmate 350 from Speedtech. The Windmate is a comprehensive wind and weather monitor that gives digital wind speed, wind direction, a digital compass, temperature, barometric pressure, humidity and an audio storm alarm. "Lots of features in a compact package," commented Mundy. "It's a complete weather station bundled in one ergonomic unit." The No Profile Boat Lift by Way Marine Design took home the Innovation Award in the Daysailing Equipment category. An alternative to the conventional metal boatlift, the auto-leveling No Profile 18K Platform Boatlift creates extra dock space and provides easy access for boat servicing and maintenance. "Aesthetically clean and completely out of the box thinking, it makes for easy launch and easy load," according to judge Barron. Glacier Bay's Isle Runner was the winner in the Inboard & Outboard Cruisers category. The 30-foot Isle Runner combines a patent pending hull design, surface piercing rails and "Super Chines" to provide a soft and dry ride. Features include a unique sunken offside galley, port side entry, convertible helm and dual bait well locations. "Reduced rolling, increased stability and tracking in rough seas are just some of this unique boat's features, which also offers great livability and fishability," says Rudow. In the Runabouts & Fishing Craft category, judges presented the Innovation Award to Chris-Craft for its Catalina 23. The Catalina 23 Center Console offers good looks and a serious fishing platform all in a family-friendly sport boat. "The blind mounted T-top ensures no toe stubbing, while the roomy head provides lots of comfort," Prochazka notes. "It's loaded with features for a serious day of fishing," echoes Rudow. "Now you can cast with class." Finally, the SP Cruiser by Island Packet Yachts was awarded the Innovation Award in the Sailboats category. The SP Cruiser combines good sail keeping with all the comforts of a trawler. Two cockpits, push-button sail control with the StoWinch sheeting system and a dry interior helm connecting to the forward cockpit are just a few of the unique features of this design. "This boat raises the bar on convenience and comfort in order to keep new and seasoned boaters sailing longer," Prochazka says. For more information on the Miami Innovation Awards program, contact Melissa Skomedal at (312) 946-6281; National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers in the United States. The association is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy, market research and data, product quality assurance and marketing communications.