MIAMI — The National Marine Manufacturers Association handed out 16 Innovation Awards and one Environmental Award Thursday morning at the Miami International Boat Show.
The 2015 Innovation Awards were announced at the NMMA’s annual Industry Breakfast at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The winners were selected from a record-high 97 pioneering and inventive new consumer marine products from all fields of the industry, including inboard and outboard engines, safety equipment, electronics and new boats.
The contest saw a 68 percent increase in entries this year. The products will be on display at the show, which continues through Monday.
Navionics won the most heavily contested category, Consumer Electronics, Apps & Software, with its SonarCharts and SonarCharts Live. The SonarCharts Live draws contour maps live and in real time, said Navionics national sales manager Paul Michele.
The product creates 1-foot contours while you’re moving, he said. "You are literally creating your own map as you go."
The contour maps are uploaded to Navionics, and the company uses the data to update all of its consumer products. The products are updated in three to seven days, once the contour information is received.
“It’s cool to watch, it’s innovative and it’s also something everyone can afford,” Michele said. SonarCharts Live retails for $160.
A special Environmental Award was given to Wake WorX for its Mussel Mast’R Aquatic Invasive Species Filter System. The Wake WorX system effectively filters out aquatic invasive species and their larvae before it pumps them into special ballast tanks or bladders commonly used in boats designed for wakeboarding and other wake sports.
Scott Wood, of Wake WorX, developed the system in partnership with the Water Sports Industry Association, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in the Lake Tahoe area, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, the California Department of Fish and Game and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department.
The filter system is available as an option on many 2015 model-year boats from several major manufacturers, including Nautique Boats and Centurion Boats. It is also available as an aftermarket kit.
Scott Wood and Wake WorX owner and president MaryKate Wood were overjoyed by the award announcement.
“We didn’t officially know if we won anything,” Wood said. “We were told it would be in our best interest to be here.”
The other Innovation Award winners are:
• Alternate drive technology (pods, sterndrives): Volvo Penta, Forward Drive
• Deck equipment and hardware: Taco Metals, Rub Rail Mounted LED Light
• Docking and fendering equipment: StormFender LLC, StormFender
• Mechanical and electrical systems: Yamaha Watercraft, Connext Helm Control System
• Inboard engines: Indmar Products, ROUSH Charged Raptor
• Outboard engines: BRP U.S. Inc., Evinrude E-TEC G2
• Consumer safety equipment: Simrad-Navico, Forward Scan
• Water sports equipment: LilliPad Diving Boards, LilliPad Diving Board
• Center console and walkaround fishing boats: Hydra-Sport, 53’ Suenos
• Cuddy cabin and bowrider boats: Rec Boat Holdings/Four Winns, Horizon 440 Bow Cruiser
• Deckboats: Boston Whaler, 320 Vantage
• Jetboats: Chaparral Boats, Aerial Surf Platform
• Personal watercraft: Yamaha Watercraft, Yamaha RiDE System
• Pontoon boats: Apex Marine Inc., Angler Quest
• Towboats: MasterCraft Boat Co., X23
The judging committee is composed of seven BWI members who perform product testing throughout the year and have expertise in marine products and equipment. Zuzana Prochazka chairs the committee. The members are:
Nigel Calder: associate/technical editor with Professional BoatBuilder, Sail, PassageMaker, Yachting Monthly and Ocean Navigator; and author of The Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, Marine Diesel Engines and several other titles.
Alan Jones: executive editor of Boating World magazine.
Liz Pasch: editorial director of Southern Boating.
Lenny Rudow: senior editor for Dominion Marine Media, including Boats.com and Yachtworld.com; electronics editor for BoatUS magazine; and the author of six books.
David Schmidt: electronics editor at Yachting magazine; racing editor at Sail magazine; U.S. racing editor of www.sail-world-com; and owner and founder of Alembic Media LLC.
Ed Sherman: vice president and education director of the American Boat & Yacht Council; contributor to Boating, Cruising World, Soundings, Professional BoatBuilder and Yachting magazines; owner of Ed’s Boat Tips blog; and the author of several books.
Alan Wendt: president of BWI and a frequent contributor to Lakeland Boating.