The 2018 Innovation Awards, managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and judged by Boating Writers International (BWI), were presented at the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) during the annual Industry Breakfast on Tuesday, October 2. Eight BWI judges with various technical backgrounds in boating selected the new product winners among dozens of entries submitted by marine trade companies.

The winners in each of the 13 categories of the 2018 Innovation Awards are:

-Boat Care and Maintenance: AWLGRIP North America, Quick Build
-Boatbuilding Methods & Materials: Structural Composites Inc., Advanced Marine Coatings
-Honorable Mention: Dowco Marine, Nextoon
-Covering: Taylor Made, Pole-less Self-Draining Pontoon Cover
-Honorable Mention: Quality Mark, Pop-A-Pole
-Deck Equipment and Hardware: Dripper Guard, Dripper Guard PRO
-Electrical Systems: Balmar, SG200 Battery Monitor
-Entertainment: FUSION Entertainment USA Inc., Apollo 770
-Furnishings and Interior Parts: SHOXS, X Series Shock Mitigated Pedestals
-Lighting: Megaleds Ind, ORPHOS
-Mechanical Systems: Blue Guard Innovations, BG-One
-OEM Electronics: Raymarine Inc., Axiom ClearCruise Augmented Reality
-Honorable Mention: Suzuki Motor of America Inc., Multi-Function Gauge
-Outboard Engines: Yamaha Motor Corporation, V8 XTO Offshore
-Propulsion Parts, Propellers: Mercury Marine, Tiller Handle Assembly for Portable Outboard Motor
-Safety Equipment: Medallion Instrumentation Systems, Docking/Trailer Camera

All product entries can be viewed along Innovation Way in Aisle 2200.

“This year’s entries were very focused on improving the boating experience,” said Alan Wendt, chair of the judging panel, IBEX. “From solving simple issues with canvas, to more complex engineering challenges with hardware and composites, there is ample evidence of innovation underway in a thriving industry.”

“Recognizing and encouraging innovation in our industry is what IBEX is all about,” said Anne Dunbar, IBEX Show Director. “The winning products will positively impact boating forever, and it’s very exciting. Congratulations to all the entrants for their dedication to product evolution.”

Attendees of the Industry Breakfast were treated to a presentation from keynote speaker Rich Karlgaard, Forbes publisher and Global Futurist, Economic Leader, Entrepreneur and Author, who delivered an interesting and informative talk about the events changing the world and how they’re impacting the marine industry. Preceding Karlgaard’s keynote speech, NMMA President Thom Dammrich addressed the more than 750 marine professionals that attended the breakfast, discussing the future of the industry, with the theme Recreational Boating in 2035.

Tuesday’s events include the opening of all three exhibitor floors; outdoor exhibits and demos; free Tech Talk workshops at the top of every hour beginning at 11 a.m.; an IBEX Special Session: Designing for Speed from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; the Seminar Series from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and the g2k Emerging Marine Leaders Panel from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Capping off the day is the Opening Night Party at The Sail Pavilion beginning at 6 p.m. Located just outside the convention center, attendees can spend the evening enjoying drink specials, live entertainment, and food trucks.

For more information about IBEX, visit For information about BWI, visit For information about the NMMA and to find a transcript of Dammrich’s address, visit

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