Judging Innovation Awards was no easy task

Posted on Written by Reagan Haynes

There was no shortage of marine industry inventiveness this year, says the chairman of the IBEX Innovation Awards judging panel.

“From a $5 part to highly engineered superyacht technology, the judges found innovation for all classes of boating,” says Alan Wendt, who chaired the panel made up of Boating Writers International members. “These are the products that make boating not only more affordable but also easier for the consumer.”

The winners are:

Boat care maintenance: Dolphinite GelMatch Gelcoat Color Matching System. “Being able to access a database of thousands of gelcoat colors from dozens of manufacturers is impressive, but the innovation may well be in the method of injecting catalyst into an aerosol can for easy spray-on gelcoat repair for the DIY at a low cost,” says judge Roger McAfee.

Electrical systems: Indel Webasto Marine Isotherm Smart Energy Controller Kit. “The smart energy controller is a simple-to-install kit that can be retrofitted to any brand of DC refrigerator, reducing refrigerator battery consumption up to 50 percent,” says judge Lou Gainor.

Engines: Volvo V8-380 engine sterndrive. “The V8-380 brings new-generation engine technology to the sterndrive market,” says judge Alan Jones.  “Its performance, fuel economy and CARB [California Air Resources Board] 4-star rating raise the bar for sterndrive engines.”

An honorable mention in the engine category went to Suzuki for its DF20A/DF15A.

Furnishings and parts: Syntec Industries – CoolTouch Vinyl Technology – Don’t burn your buns.  “Syntec’s proprietary cooling feature removes prior interior design restrictions, allowing boatbuilders to introduce dark colors to vinyl seating,” says judge Zuzana Prochazka.

An honorable mention in this category went to Caframo Ltd. for its Taku hatch fan.

Mechanical systems: Teleflex Marine Xtreme mechanical system. “Teleflex bridges the gap between hydraulic and conventional cable steering with an affordable, easy-to-install steering system that makes driving mid-sized boats a pleasure,” says judge Milt Rosko.

Dometic Marine picked up an honorable mention.

OEM electronics: Teleflex Marine Optimus EPS/360 joystick docking system. “Easily the most anticipated and exciting product category at this year’s show, joystick docking for outboards will do for outboards what pod drives have done for inboards,” says Wendt.

Propulsion parts, propellers: PowerTech Propellers and the PowerTech! Safety Prop. ”While acknowledging that this prop is not for the tournament or performance market, PowerTech has a rather convincing presentation that the words safer blade edge design and props can be mentioned in the same sentence,” says judge Fred Davis.

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