Twelve Companies Honored for Innovation at 2011 Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail


MIAMI – February 17, 2011 –  Twelve marine products were honored today for innovative achievement by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) at the 70th annual Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail Miami. Eleven companies took home the prestigious boating industry 2011 Innovation Award and one the Honorable Mention during NMMA’s State of the Recreational Boating Industry Breakfast, held this morning at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The Innovation Awards, organized by NMMA and judged by BWI, recognize products that best meet the following criteria: innovative distinction from other products currently being manufactured; benefit to the marine industry and/or consumer; practicality; cost-effectiveness; and availability to the consumer within 60 days of award receipt.

“We had an outstanding group of entries this year and saw innovations that are sure to pave the way for boating industry advancement,” noted Zuzana Prochazka, Innovation Awards’ judge, technical editor of Latitudes and Attitudes, and president of BWI Board of Directors. “The judges were impressed with the depth of products submitted this year, needing to select multiple winners in two categories, and are looking forward to what the future of the industry has in store for boaters.” 

In addition to Prochazka, rounding out the panel of judges for this year’s Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail Innovation Awards were committee chair Alan Wendt, editor of Marine CEO; Diane Byrne, editor, Megayacht News, contributor to Superyacht Business, Super Yacht World, and Yachting, blogger for; Roger McAfee, contributor to Pacific Yachting, Sea, Southern Boating, Lakeland Boating and ShowBoats International magazines; Robert Buller, equipment editor for Pacific Yachting; Lenny Rudow, content editor for, electronics editor for Boat U.S. and Marlin, blogger for, freelancer; and Jack Horner, naval architect, certified marine surveyor, and contributor to BoatUS, SpinSheet, Offshore, Sailing, and Chesapeake Bay magazines.

Eleven Innovation Awards and one Honorable Mention were presented today in the following nine categories:

Cruisers (25' to 60' including fishing craft)

Company: Chaparral 327

Product: SSX Bow Rider

The 327 holds a patented cockpit-cabin design that allows the sizeable cabin to span the beam of the boat.  Allen Wendt commented, “It shakes up the bow rider category by providing a truly livable space below. How many Innovation Award judges can fit into the 327 cabin?  It turns out, all of them.”

PWC, Jet boats, Pontoon Boats

Company: BRP 

Product: Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 Watercraft

The GTI SE 130 is a comprehensive package of features for the value-minded rider.  Robert Buller noted, “With its new ergonomically designed deck, fuel efficient ECO mode, Intelligent Throttle Control and Breaking System, this is a smart package with a price point under $9,000.”


Company: Beneteau

Product: Beneteau Sense Series

“With two models in its line, the Sense Series opens the doors to sailing for those who might otherwise be nervous by close-quarters maneuvering with its Dock and Go System,” said Diane Byrne.  “Combine that with an enormous cockpit for entertaining, a living space separated from the noise of necessary machinery, and a deck that’s easy to navigate, and you have an impressive boat that takes the intimidation factor out of big boat sailing.”

Docking and Fendering Equipment

Company: Imtra

Product: SidePower SEP Speed Control Thurster Series

The Side-Power SEP Series is the first DC thruster range that provides exact proportional control and eliminates the danger of overpowered or underpowered docking.  Imtra brings control down to the 35-70’ range of boats and even provides a Hold function that runs the thrusters continuously to hold the boat against a dock for short-term maneuvers like picking up and dropping off passengers. 

Consumer Electronics and Software – dual winners and Honorable Mention

Company: Simrad

Product: BSM-2 Broadband Sounder

This sounder is the only recreational sonar to incorporate commercial-grade frequency sweeping pulse compression (CHIRP) technology and delivers up to five times greater target resolution. Lenny Rudow commented on the broadband capabilities, “It’s like seeing and hearing like a dog.”

Company: B&G

Product: Zeus Sailing Navigation System

This comprehensive package, designed specifically for sailors, combines broadband radar and sounder, AIS tracking, sonar imaging, and more in one multi-function display. Plus, it can also overlay GRIB weather files and laylines to improve decision making. Jack Horner said, “This navigation system will help cruisers and racers make much better routing decisions.”

Honorable Mention:  Company: Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)/Product: Take Me Fishing Boat Ramp Mobile App

Consumer Installed Non-Electronic Hardware

Company: Seldén

Product: Seldén Reversible Winch

Seldén’s manual, two-speed winches are a combination of a unique handle and specially designed jaws that allow the drum to be rotated in two directions.  You can sheet in or out as precisely as needed – and with only one hand.  Rober McAfee was happily noted, “It was so easy, even a power boater could do it.”

Water Sports and Equipment 

Company: Mastercraft

Product: Mastercraft Zero Flex Tower 5P

The Mastercraft ZFT tower raises or lowers to three different positions and can tow at all three. Jack Horner said, “This is a smartly designed, well built, tower of power that looks like mechanical muscle.”

Outboard Engines

Company: Suzuki

Product: DF 40A/50A

The DF 40/50 3-cylinder outboards provide 15 percent more displacement and are 5 percent lighter than their 40 and 50 HP predecessors. They bring top end features to a smaller, neater, powerplant.

Consumer Safety Equipment – dual winners with completely different approaches

Company: Navionics

Product: Navionics Mobile iPhone Marine & Lakes Mobile App with user overlay

On the high-tech side, Navionics developed an app that allows for users to add their knowledge to the Navionics database and help identify the latest conditions that may be transferred wirelessly to their boat’s navigation system.  Diane Byrne added, “This is a great combination of current local knowledge and the power of social media to create a greater good.”

Company: Lake Lite

Product: Lake Lite Solar Powered Illuminating Buoys

Now boaters can not only see a buoy at night, but can even read it! With these LED-lighted, solar-powered buoys, nighttime navigating is a breeze. Lenny Rudow was happy to add, “Hey, I’d hit that less.”

 The 2011 Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail runs February 17-21. For more information, visit


About the Miami Int’l Boat Show and Strictly Sail Miami: The 70th annual Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail Miami is produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the world’s largest producer of boat shows and the leading association representing the recreational boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers throughout the U.S. and Canada. The association is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy advocacy, market statistics and research, product quality assurance and promotion of the boating lifestyle. For more information, visit          

Media Contact: Sarah Ryser ([email protected], 312-946-6285)