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IBEX opens with hope among exhibitors

MIAMI BEACH — Just four hours into this year's International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference, Lumitec already had picked up two new OEMs, president John Kujawa said outside his booth yesterday afternoon.

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"It's been a great show," he said, noting it is the first for his new company, which offers a line of LED lighting. "I'm not a doom-and-gloom person. There's always going to be people building boats and buying boats."

Lumitec, of Delray Beach, Fla., is one of approximately 800 exhibitors at the 18th annual IBEX, which runs through Wednesday at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

"It's a great number of companies," said show co-director Kathleen Clickett, of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The event, she noted, is about 95 percent sold out, with approximately 100 new companies exhibiting this year.

"I think the vibe has been great on the floor," she said.

Carl Cramer, publisher of Professional BoatBuilder magazine and IBEX co-director, called this year's event "the most exciting one ever."

"The exhibitors seem pleased with the turnout," he added. "If we can continue like this for the next couple of days I'll be happy."

Phil Fram, of Marinco Electrical Group, said his company was introducing 11 new products at the show, up from previous years. CZONE, from its BEP Marine brand, is its main new product, a networked power control monitoring system designed to integrate and simplify on-board electrical and mechanical systems.

"The key is simplicity for the boat manufacturer," Fram said. "It enhances the boating experience."

The product is up for one of several Innovation Awards, which will be announced Wednesday morning.

"[The show] is slower than last year, but the quality is still there," Fram said, adding now is a good time to introduce new products because builders are always interested in value, regardless of economic conditions.

In addition to the exhibitors, IBEX is offering attendees more than 50 seminars and an outdoor demonstration area.

The industry breakfast, which includes the NMMA's presentation of the Hall of Fame Award, the Alan Freedman Award and the IBEX Innovation Awards — judged by Boating Writers International — is set for Wednesday morning.

— Beth Rosenberg
b.rosenberg@tradeonlytoday.com

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