IMTEC98 BWI Innovation Awards
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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.

1998 Innovation Winners

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

Report furnished by Dean Travis Clarke
Judging Panel Chairman/Pres. BWI

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

Innovative distinction from other products currently or previously
Benefit the marine industry and/or the boating public.
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
Must be a true innovation rather than a mere evolution of a previous
And finally, it must be on display at IMTEC. (If you don't exhibit, you
can't enter.)

This year's winners are:

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
Bellingham Marine -- PO Box 8 - 1001 "C" St.; Bellingham, WA 98225;
360-676-2800/ 360-734-2417-fax;

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/

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

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
Unique Functional Products -- 135 Sunshine Lane, San Marcos, CA 92069;
760-744-1610/ 760-744-1616-fax

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

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
Pulsetech -- 100 S. Kimball Ave., Southlake, TX 76092; 800-580-7554/

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

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/

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/

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
Suzuki -- 3251 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, CA 92621; 714-996-7040;

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/

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