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Judges named for MAATS Innovation Awards

The National Marine Manufacturers Association and Boating Writers International have named judges for the 2009 Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show Innovation Awards.

The awards will be presented from 6-7:30 p.m. July 15 during the annual MAATS Welcome Reception and Innovation Awards' presentation in Orlando, Fla., at the Orange County Convention Center.

The judging panel is comprised of BWI members who perform product testing throughout the year and have specific expertise in marine accessories.

Serving as judges for this year's MAATS Innovation Awards are:

* Zuzana Prochazka (MAATS awards chair), technical editor, Latitudes & Attitudes/Seafaring magazine, and contributor to Mad Mariner

* Frank Lanier, marine surveyor and contributor to Practical Sailor, Southern Boating, Chesapeake Bay, and Northeast Boating magazines

* Ben Elison, senior electronics editor, Bonnier Marine Group, and editor and owner of Panbo Marine Electronics Blog

* Alan Wendt, editor, Marine CEO magazine

* Robert Buller, equipment editor, Pacific Yachting magazine

* David Seidman, former executive editor at Boating magazine, and author

* Alan Jones, executive editor, Boating World magazine

"We selected a group of individuals that will bring a unique perspective and expertise to this year's MAATS Innovation Awards," Prochazka said in a statement. "Our panel represents a well-balanced mix of boating journalists skilled in the evaluation of marine accessories, and we're excited to review what we anticipate to be a wide variety of new and exciting products from the 2009 exhibitors."

The NMMA and BWI will recognize up to nine new products at this year's Innovation Awards, and one exhibitor can receive the Environmental Innovation Award. Exhibiting companies can submit products for consideration in the following categories until June 3:

* Interior Parts (seating, lighting, galley, plumbing, electrical, ventilation)

* Aftermarket Electronics, Electrical Equipment, Instrumentation, Navigation  Equipment, including software

* Boat Care, Coatings, Chemicals, Maintenance Tools

* Deck Equipment (rigging, rope, docking and anchoring equipment, boat covers, canvas work, mooring gear)

* Propulsion Parts, Propellers (engine equipment, trim tabs, engine maintenance, trolling motors, engine oils, other engine maintenance products)

* Personal Gear, Soft Goods

* Safety Products (all safety products that can be added aftermarket)

* Trailers, Parts & Accessories

* Water Sports & Equipment (fun, non-safety products, dinghies, inflatables, fishing products)

In its ninth year as the premier gathering for the accessories aftermarket, the 2009 installment of MAATS, set for July 15-17, brings together hundreds of exhibitors displaying products for the marine aftermarket.

MAATS is continuing its longstanding involvement with the National Marine Distributors Association's S.T.E.P. Conference, being held July 13-14 at the Westin Imagine Hotel in Orlando, and will co-locate with the American Sportfishing Association's ICAST, taking place simultaneously at the Orange County Convention Center.

For information on submitting a product for consideration in the MAATS Innovation Awards program, contact NMMA trade events project manager Melissa Gurniewicz at (312) 946-6281.

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