BWI Innovation Awards
Boating Writers International administers the Innovation Awards. This year they were given out at the All Industry Breakfast on Friday morning instead of at the BWI meeting. One award was added this year. In the past, companies have developed very innovative ways of manufacturing their products. The product itself may not be "innovative" but the process is. The new category is Manufacturing Processes.
About 1500 people attended the breakfast. These awards are very important within the industry.
After the conference, Dean Clarke was nice enough to furnish me with a copy the report BWI prepared for the NMMA. It is reproduced at the bottom of this page.
|Marina Equipment||Bellingham Marine|
|Watersports Equipment||North Sports||Windflyer|
|Soft Goods||Shoes for Crews||deck shoe|
|Trailer||Unique Functional Products|
|OEM Component||Wesbar||replaceable bulb trailer light|
|Service\Shop Equipment||Pulse Tech||charger|
|General Accessories||Baolong Industries||boat bumper|
|Manufacturing Process||MasterCraft||hull clay modeling techniques|
|Electronics||Lowrance||handheld mapping device|
|Engine/Propulsion||Suzuki||40/50 HP Two-Stroke|
|Boat||Correct Craft||wakeboarding hull design|
IMTEC 1998 Eleven companies enjoyed walking onstage in front of over 1,500 of their industry peers at the 1998 IMTEC Industry Breakfast to accept awards for having the most innovative product of the year. Previous years saw these prestigious awards given out at the annual Boating Writers International Annual Meeting, but this year, in conjunction with the NMMA, Innovation Awards by BWI engendered a much higher profile thanks to having the entire industry present. BWI President and chairman of the Innovation Awards judging committee, Dean Travis Clarke, executive editor of Sport Fishing, Marlin and Boating Life magazines led a superb group of judges who were faced with some tough decisions this year. The panel included: Jim Barron of Trailer Boats; Rick Eyerdam of Southern Boating and Marine Business Journal; Roger Marshall, N.A. of Soundings; Bill Pike of Power & Motoryacht; Louisa Rudeen of Motor Boating and Sailing; Michael Verdon of Boating World; and Gordon West, freelance electronics writer and author. Each product entered must meet all of the following criteria to be considered: Innovative distinction from other products currently or previously manufactured. Benefit the marine industry and/or the boating public. Practicality Cost-effectiveness Must be on display at this year's IMTEC for the first time. (Not displayed in a previous year's IMTEC) Must be in production and available on the street prior to next year's IMTEC. Must be a true innovation rather than a mere evolution of a previous product. And finally, it must be on display at IMTEC. (If you don't exhibit, you can't enter.) This year's winners are: MARINA EQUIPMENT Bellingham Marine's M-Tech Fire Pedestal A very forward-thinking company as evidenced by its win last year for a dock ramp designed for the handicapped. Bellingham's winner this year is a dock pedestal containing a fire extinguisher, wireless transmitter to the dock office or emergency services, a photo-electric switch for night-time light operation, a break-glass alarm and an extension mast for the integral red strobe. Bellingham Marine -- PO Box 8 - 1001 "C" St.; Bellingham, WA 98225; 360-676-2800/ 360-734-2417-fax; www.bellingham-marine.com WATER SPORTS EQUIPMENT North Sports Windglider If you think bringing entry-level boaters into our sport is important, you'll particularly appreciate North Sports' Windglider. Overwhelmingly affordable, this inflatable platform is a sailboard, a paddleboard and a towable ski-toy al in one. it can be used in less than 18 inches of water and stows anywhere inside a car. North Sports -- PO Box 1849; White Salmon, WA 98672; 509-493-4938/ 509-493-4966-fax; www.windglider.com SOFT GOODS Shoes For Crews It's tough to conceive of a truly new boat show. But taking technology it developed for navy Seals as well as the food service industry, Shoes For Crews has done it. This company's innovation comes in two parts -- a new sole design and a new sole composition. Either of these factors by themselves wouldn't do the job. But combined, they grip slippery surfaces like a set of tree-climber's spikes. Shoes For Crews -- 1400 Centrepark Blvd., Suite 310, W. palm Beach, FL 33401; 800-634-7095/ 561-683-3080-fax TRAILERS Unique Functional Products' Disk Brakes UFP introduces a new disk brake and surge hitch designed especially for marine use. The hitch and brake combination eliminate chucking, that uncomfortable back-and-forth lurching caused by the trailer braking at different rates than the tow vehicle. This is not an automotive product converted for marine use, but rather a system that has rust-proofed all potential binding points, eliminated all metal-to-metal contacts in the caliper slider and pivot pin and uses all stainless steel in the brake pad surfaces. Unique Functional Products -- 135 Sunshine Lane, San Marcos, CA 92069; 760-744-1610/ 760-744-1616-fax OEM/COMPONENTS Wesbar's Waterproof Tail Light Though Wesbar has an excellent waterproof taillight for some years, it's shortcoming was that you couldn't change the light bulb when it burned out. You had to remove and discard the entire unit. Wesbar's new tail light incorporates an O-ring on a wedge-shaped seal which allows you to swap out old bulbs for inexpensive new ones. Wesbar -- PO Box 577, 4201 County Hwy., West Bend, WI 53095-0577; 414-334-2381/ 414-677-4737-fax SERVICE SHOP EQUIPMENT Pulse-Tech World Version Charger This new pulse-technology charger rams 20-amp pulses many times per second into a dead battery . This pulsing action removes the sulfation from the lead cells, allowing a battery that won't even take a charge to be rejuvenated -- virtually as good as new. Good for both lead-acid and new gel-cell batteries, this charger will save boaters money while saving room in the toxic waste repositories when we no longer have to discard so many batteries. Pulsetech -- 100 S. Kimball Ave., Southlake, TX 76092; 800-580-7554/ 817-329-5914-fax GENERAL ACCESSORIES Baolong Industrial Baolong came to IMTEC this year for the first time with a new concept in boat fenders. We've all experienced inflatable fenders that burst from being squeezed too hard or blew because they snagged on a piling nail or sharp edge. The Baolong Eva Fender is a pliable but virtually indestructible ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer. Being solid, it can never deflate. Baolong Industrial Co. Ltd.; No. 16, Alley 1, Lane 94, Sec 1; Pelan Rd., Tainan, Taiwan, R.O.C. 886-62511170/ 886-62821632-fax MANUFACTURING PROCESS Mastercraft Boats Clay Modeling The automotive industry has been using clay modeling for conceptualization for years. This year marks the first time a boat company has used it in the tooling process to make plugs. Mastercraft figures it cut tooling time by and estimated 80 percent, representing a significant cost savings. Mastercraft --100 Cherokee Cove, Vonore, TN 37885; 423-884-2221/ 423-884-6525-fax; www.mastercraft.com ELECTRONICS Lowrance GlobalMap 100 The first handheld chart plotter with both a built-in background map of the world and the ability to download detailed chart cartography from a free CD-ROM. This is a major cost savings compared to buying expensive chart cartridges from other companies. Another great enhancement is Lowrance's highway information that allows you to double your handheld's usefulness (and a user's comfort level)by letting you navigate any highway in the United States. The GlobalMap 100 represents a powerful tool for much less money, bringing GPS chart plotting to a wider audience. Lowrance Electronics -- 12000 E. Skelly Dr., Tulsa, OK 74128; 918-437-6881/ 918-234-1700-fax ENGINES Suzuki 40/50 hp Four-Stroke Outboard Not a refinement of last year's winning 60/70 hp models, Suzuki has again come up with a totally new design. These new 40/50s represent the most environmentally friendly engines in their horsepower class; they bring EFI and electronics to a new, smaller class of engines; they're technologically advanced with four valves per cylinder, dual overhead cams, a tuned intake manifold and an oil-bath time chain to name just a few of the new design features. Suzuki -- 3251 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, CA 92621; 714-996-7040; 714-970-6005-fax BOAT Correct Craft Pro-Air Nautique This radically new hull was designed specifically for the fastest-growing segment of the watersports industry -- wakeboarding. The hull generates a larger, more desirably shaped wake for wakeboarding. The Total Wake Control (TWC) hull accomplishes these improvements via running surface design rather than by the addition of gadgets or weight to the stern of the boat. Correct Craft -- 6100 S. Orange Ave., Orlando, FL 32809-5189; 407-855-4141/ 407-855-7844-fax; www.skinautique.com