Most voyagers are probably most familiar with the initial NMEA as part of a networking designation, either NMEA 0183 or NMEA 2000. Maybe not as many could tell you that NMEA stands for the National Marine Electronics Association. Or that NMEA includes all the top marine electronics manufacturers or that the NMEA has a yearly conference at which the organization gives out awards in a variety of categories. This year marine electronics manufacturer Furuno was the overall winner, taking home seven awards, including the Technology Award for its NavNet TZT16F TZtouch 3 v2.
The 2021 NMEA conference was held in mid-September in Orlando and there were 18 award categories. The winners in each category were decided by a panel of judges (Brian Swanke of CWR Distribution, Ben Stein of Panbo, Max Stein of Max Marine Electronics and Marine Electronics Journal editor Jim Fullilove). Here are the list of award winners.
2021 Product of Excellence Awards
Marine VHF—ICOM M605
Satellite Communications Antenna—KVH TracPhone V30
Multi-Function Display—Garmin GPSMAP 8616xsv
Multimedia Entertainment—Fusion Apollo MS-RA770
NMEA 2000 Sensor—Furuno SCX20 Satellite Compass
Marine PC Software—Nobeltec TimeZero Pro
Marine Apps-Utility—Garmin ActiveCaptain
Marine Specialty—Furuno CSH8LMK2 Omni Sonar
Satellite TV Antenna—KVH TracVision UHD7
Fishfinder—Furuno DFF3D Multi-Beam Sonar
Marine Camera—Teledyne/FLIR M364C
AIS—Furuno FA170 Class A
Autopilot—Garmin Reactor 40 with SmartPump v2
Remote Monitoring—Maretron N2KView
Safety Device—Garmin GPSMAP 86sci Handheld
Commercial—Furuno FAR2228BB IMO Radar
Wi-Fi/Cellular Device—KVH TracPhone LTE-1
Manufacturer of the Year Award
NMEA members also voted on the manufacturer that demonstrated superior support of their products to those who install and service them in the field. NMEA and the membership congratulate Garmin on winning this award.
Best New Product Award
NMEA’s Best New Product Award celebrates one product that was introduced to the market at the NMEA Conference & Expo, which a panel of four judges deemed best in the areas of innovation, benefit to boaters, practicality and value. Six new products were entered in the competition.
Taking top honors was Shadow-Caster’s Light Commander—the first marine lighting controller to work with the new NMEA 2000 lighting control PGNs. These messages allow users of the six-zone controller to plug into an onboard network and instantly see which lights are available on the system and to control them.
NMEA Technology Award
The NMEA Technology Award names a single marine electronics product that scores highest in the same four criteria categories that are used for the Best New Product Award. The judges chose Furuno’s NavNet TZT16F TZtouch 3 v2 as the winner from among 10 entries.
“The enhanced MFD sports innovative new functions, including the Personal Bathymetric Generator, which when linked to Furuno’s multi-beam sonar, can quickly create custom high-resolution shaded relief maps of the sea floor,” the judges said. “Another new feature called Fish-It/Drift-It allows fishermen to locate the correct spot to begin their drift to put them over a fishing waypoint and then create range rings and course line on the display, saving time and fuel.”