A look at the NMMA Innovations Awards for the 2014 Miami Boat Show and a grab bag of items heard/seen at the show last week.
The grab bag
• Navionics reported that of its 3 million chart customers, 100,000 users made contributions to the company's Freshest Data crowd sourcing electronic chart editing effort. Those users contributed half a million edits. In 2013, the company had 40,000,000 sessions with its charts. July 15 was the biggest single day, with 1.5 million sessions.
• Blue Sea Systems touted its custom electrical panel design capability. If one of the company's reported 250 stock panels don't fit your boat, you can launch the Blue Sea Panel Wizard and design panel modules with circuit breakers and labels, then confirm your design and place the order.
• Parker Racor announced its SNAPP fuel filter change system. With SNAPP you can replace filters without the need for tools. You remove the old filter using quick release tabs and snap (guess that's where Racor got the name!) a new one into place.
• Blue Water Desalination (not to be confused with Blue Sea Systems) announced three watermakers – the Legend, Explorer and Express. The Legend and Explorer models can produce between 475 and 1,850 gallons per day, which the Express model, deigned for smaller boats can produce between 200 and 800 gallons a day.
• Spinlock displayed its recently introduced inflatable vest line — which won the Strictly Sail Chicago 2014 Consumer Choice Best New Product Award, as voted by show attendees.
And in the NMMA Innovation Awards, 13 companies were handed awards for the 2014 Miami International Boat Show. The awards are organized by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI).
The awards were divided into 12 categories.
In the Boat Care & Maintenance category, the winner was the EZPoxy2 by Petit. Single-serving gel pouches of hardener and a longer pot life are said to make the paint more user-friendly, potentially lowering the cost of boat maintenance and upkeep.
The winner of the Docking and Federing Equipment Award went to Midwest Industries for its ShoreStation Boat Hoist. BWI judge Alan Jones praised the hoist for being fast and low-maintenance.
In the Furnishings & Interior Parts category, theDynamic Cabin System on the Boston Whaler 345 Conquest won. “At the press of the button you can turn a double bed into a dining room,” said BWI judge Nigel Calder. “It’s the James Bond of beds.”
There were two winners in the Mechanical & Electrical Systems category. Marinco Mastervolt won for its EZ-Mount Batter Switch, alongsideRacor/Parker Hannifin’s SNAPP Fuel Filter/Water Separator.
In the Personal Gear, Soft Goods, Watersports and Fishing Equipment category, the winner was the Zayak Sea Sled by Tropical Paradise Plastics. Judge Ann Dermody summed it up by saying, “it has all the advantages of snorkelling without the need for a mask and tube.”
The Pontoon and Deck Boats Award went toIsland Boats for its Expanding Pontoon Boat, which expands in width from 7ft4in to 10in. “It’s not a pontoon; it’s a dancefloor,” said judge Alan Jones.
In the Boats from 25ft-60ft category, which includes fishing craft, the winner was the 390Z bySea Vee. The 39-footer pops up on a plane with minimal bow rise, turns like a ski boat, and delivers higher top speeds than conventional hulls.
MasterCraft’s Gen2 Surf System won the Propulsion Inboard and Outboard Award. The system combines advanced hull design, weight distribution, custom wake shaping devices and onboard software to create a wide range of wake options.
The PWCs and Jet Boats category was awarded to Sea-Doo for the Spark PWC, which provides maximum fun on the water for half the weight, half the power and half the price.
In the Runabouts and Fishing Craft to 24ft category, Mastercraft won for the ProStar. The vessel has a convertible bow, intriguing storage system for skis and an even flatter wake.
Beneteau’s Oceanis 38 won the Sailboat Award.
And finally, Simrad picked up the Consumer Electronics, Mobile Applications and Software Award for its NSO16 evo2. The navigation suite brings big boat glass bridge style to midsized power and sportfishing boats.