LAS VEGAS — Six marine aftermarket products were honored for innovation Thursday night during a ceremony at the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show.
Also last night, Steve Sprole of Ritchie Navigation, was honored by the National Marine Representatives Association with the Mel Barr Award for his dedication to the marine industry.
A total of 60 new products were entered into the Innovation Awards, with winners chosen in six of eight possible categories.
Jan Mundy, Innovation Awards chair and editor of DIY Boat Owner magazine, said it's not unusual to not have winners in all possible categories, because the criteria for the awards are very specific and strict. Award winners may not be products that have been slightly upgraded; they must be substantially different from other products being manufactured.
Award winners also must be cost-effective, practical and beneficial to the marine industry and to consumers. Also, the products must be made available to consumers within 60 days of the conclusion of the show.
"The variety of highly competitive products made for some stiff competition," Mundy said. "This year’s selection process was the most intense I've seen since I first began participating in the awards program.”
This year's winners and those receiving honorable mention are:
* Aftermarket Electronics: Lowrance-Navico for the Broadband Sounder I. Lowrance also received the honorable mention in this category for the LVR-880 fixed radio.
* Boat Care/Coatings/Chemicals and Maintenance Tools: Mark Silvey Marine Services for its Re-Structure Marine Polish.
* Deck Equipment: Anzus Imports for the Wrino Boat Mooring System. Eclipse Marine Products' T-Top Extender received an honorable mention.
* Interior Parts: Delta T Systems for its Dry Boat DC powered dehumidifier system. An honorable mention was awarded to Comfort-Mate toilet from Thetford Marine.
* Safety Products: Aqualuma Brakelight System. Honorable mention was given to ACR's GlobalFix iPRO 406 EPIRB.
* Trailer Parts and Accessories: Cequent Performance's F2 2000, a full-featured winch. Honorable mention was given to The Big Stick from How Do We Do It.
Sprole, the NMRA's award winner, grew up racing sailboats on the East Coast and continues to sail today. He has been with his company since 1988, and serves as vice president of sales and marketing for Ritchie Navigation.
"This is definitely a surprise, it makes me feel old," he said jokingly upon accepting the honor. "I love the industry and I'll be around for a little while, even though I'm old."
MAATS, in conjunction with ICAST, runs through today in Las Vegas.
— Beth Rosenberg