MAATS innovation awards announced

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Ten marine aftermarket products were honored for innovation Wednesday night at the ninth annual Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show reception at the Orange County Convention Center.

Sponsored by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and judged by a panel of Boating Writers International members, the awards were given out in nine categories, in addition to an Environmental Award. There were 33 entries in this year's program.

"The recreational boating industry has always been resilient. We've experienced peaks and valleys, and weak and strong economic conditions in the past," NMMA president Thom Dammrich said at the welcome reception and awards ceremony. "In challenging economic times like these it's important that we continue to focus on innovation and new technologies to make boating more affordable, efficient and fun."

"This will better position us for new growth, as consumer confidence improves and we come out of this recession stronger than ever," he added.

Judging panel chairwoman Zuzana Prochazka, technical editor for Latitudes & Attitudes magazine, as well as contributing editor to Mad Mariner and Circumnavigator magazine, said although 2009 has been a rough year, "we're really pleased to see that the spirit of innovation continues."

To qualify for the awards, products had to meet the following criteria: innovative distinction from other products currently being manufactured, benefit to the marine industry or consumer, practicality and cost-effectiveness, and availability to the consumer within 60 days of the show's conclusion.

The winners were:

• Aftermarket Electronics: Navionics Mobile 2.0

• Electrical Systems and Equipment: Rule Charge N' Flow portable pump kit by ITT

• Boat Care, Coatings, Chemicals and Maintenance Tools: Shurhold's Dual action polisher (Honorable Mention: Star brite's Spider Away)

• Deck Equipment: Smarte Jack by Smarte Jack Inc.

• Interior Parts and Equipment: PulseCode Lock by MasterLock Co. (Honorable Mention: Supersub Smart 650 by Whale Water Systems)

• Personal Gear and Soft Goods: Nanuk by Plasticase Inc.

• Safety Products: McMurdo FastFind 210 personal locator beacon (Honorable Mention: AquaFlare by AquaFlare)

• Trailers, Trailer Parts and Accessories: Safety 800 trailer tongue weight jack by Unified Marine

• Propulsion Parts and Propellers: P3 palm pump priming system by BluSkies International (Honorable Mention: Cruise 4.0 R by Torqeedo)

• Environmental Award: Kill the Spill Boat Wash by Enviromonde Network

In addition to Prochazka, other judges included Alan Jones, executive editor of Boating World magazine; Alan Wendt, editor of Marine CEO magazine, David Seidman, editor-at-large of Boating magazine; Robert Buller, equipment editor of Pacific Yachting magazine; Frank Lanier, surveyor and contributing editor to Southern Boating, Practical Sailor and Australian Yachting magazines and Ben Ellison, senior electronics editor for Bonnier Marine Group and editor of Panbo Marine Electronics blog.

— Beth Rosenberg

b.rosenberg@tradeonlytoday.com

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