ICAST 2015: Humminbird repeats as innovation award winner

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Johnson Outdoors' Humminbird Helix 7I sonar/GPS won Best of Show in the electronics category at ICAST.

Johnson Outdoors' Humminbird Helix 7I sonar/GPS won Best of Show in the electronics category at ICAST.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Johnson Outdoors' Humminbird brand of electronics has captured the electronics innovation award at ICAST for the fifth consecutive year with its Helix 7 SI sonar/GPS.

Last year, the company's Helix 5 won the award, John Luther, senior product manager for Johnson Outdoors, said Thursday at the show. The five-day International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show, held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, wraps up today.

The Helix models are known for bright color horizontal screens, which deliver crisp images of the bottom and GPS charts, said Luther, who showed the models at the Humminbird display. Navigation through the menus is fast, with quick imaging updates. The Helix 7 SI, which measures 7 inches diagonally, also touts a glass-bonded, no-glare display, Luther added.

The Alpharetta, Ga., company has been racking up awards for its freshwater marine electronics products under the Humminbird line, but has at the same time been pumping up the production and promotion of a saltwater lineup under the ONIX Series, which includes GPS and sonar technologies utilizing multifunction displays from 8.4 to 12.1 inches.

Luther said all of the components are made in the United States. “We take good care of our core market with Humminbird, but we are broadening our market ranges with the saltwater products — really trying to get the word out,” he said. (humminbird.com)

I also caught up with the company behind the award winner in the technical apparel category. It’s a lightweight inflatable flotation shirt from the Orlando company Aegis Safety Products.

Lifeshirt's Aegis Lifeshirt won Best of Show for technical apparel for its inflatable shirt. Jim Emmons, of Lifeshirt, pictured here, demonstrated the product on Thursday at the show.

Lifeshirt's Aegis Lifeshirt won Best of Show for technical apparel for its inflatable shirt. Jim Emmons, of Lifeshirt, pictured here, demonstrated the product on Thursday at the show.

Jim Emmons, the media representative for Lifeshirt, demonstrated the product, which was on a mannequin at the show. The product takes only a couple of seconds to expand its air bladders and fully inflate. It will automatically inflate upon submersion.

The development of the Lifeshirt has been delayed in anticipation of new North American life jacket standards, Emmons said. The Lifeshirt is designed to achieve a Level 50 performance rating established by the International Organization for Standardization.

It can be worn while fishing, boating, paddleboarding and other water activities, said Emmons, former president of the Water Sports Industry Association. (Lifeshirt.com)

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