Welcome to Boating Writers International
BWI is a professional organization consisting of writers, editors, publishers, photographers, broadcasters, public relations specialists and others in the communications profession associated with the boating industry.
Members include active marine journalists across the United States, Canada and Europe; associate members in public relations roles; and supporting members, such as marine manufacturers and service companies.
BWI is Best Known For…
- The Annual Writing Contest, held in November and December, which features 17 writing and electronic media submission categories resulting in $17,000 in awards
- Panels and discussions at general membership meetings open to all for exceptional networking in the recreational boating industry during the Fort Lauderdale and Miami boat shows
- Communications efforts, including monthly newsletters, an active and resource-rich website, an on-line Writers’ Directory, annual full-member directory and engaging “LinkedIn” group focused on member issues and news
- Partnerships with leading marine manufacturer associations to recognize innovations in marine product development, where BWI members serve as judges
BWI’s Mission Statement…
The purposes of the Association are:
- To provide a professional and fraternal association for writers, editors, publishers, photographers, artists, broadcasters and others involved in recreational boating and fishing.
- To foster interest in recreational boating and fishing through articles, columns, and other documents in all media including magazines, newspapers, radio, TV, the Internet, and books.
- To encourage ethical standards in accord with the journalistic professions.
- To keep the membership informed of: changes in the craft, publications and personnel; opportunities for career advancement; important events and dates; and vital regulatory or industry issues.
- To encourage safe boating practices.
- To provide forums for members to express their opinion, inform their peers and exchange views with the marine industry.
Who Manages BWI…
The Association is managed by a nine-member volunteer Board of Directors with an Executive Director providing administrative support and member committees focused on areas of interest. Here are the current officers and directors:
Lenny Rudow … has been a writer and editor in the marine field for over two decades, and has authored seven books. He is currently Senior Editor for Dominion Marine Media (boats.com, Yachtworld.com, and Boattrader.com), and is Electronics Editor for BoatUS Magazine. His writing has resulted in 39 BWI writing contest and two OWAA Excellence in Craft awards. Volunteer positions have included NMMA Innovations Award judging and serving as the president of the Maryland Freshwater Foundation. Rudow is an alumnus of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology, and The Sea School. He boats and fishes as often as possible on the Chesapeake Bay and in the Atlantic Ocean.
First Vice President
Lindsey Johnson … is a lifelong boater and Director of Communications for West Marine. Since joining the West Marine team in September 2015 and making the move from Chicago to California’s Central Coast, Johnson has worked to help the brand transition from a boat parts store to a broader “Waterlife Outfitter,” overseeing both internal and external communications and PR, and managing the retail chain’s charitable giving arm — its BlueFuture program — dedicated to helping get kids on and around the water in recreational and educational capacities. Prior to her time at West Marine, Johnson served as editor of Lakeland Boating for six years (2009-2015) and Content Manager for the Marine Retailers Association of America for nearly two years (2014-2015). She’s also held positions as Trade Communications Manager for the Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association (2005-2009), acting as liaison between NMMA and the consumer and trade boating press. Originally from the East Coast, Johnson got her start in the marine industry in 2001, taking a staff job with Soundings Trade Only magazine, a position she held for four years before relocating to the Midwest in 2005. Johnson has been a member of BWI since 2003 and has served as chair of the BWI Contest Committee for the last eight years.
Second Vice President
Alan Jones … began his journalistic career as a sportswriter for the Clearwater Sun back in the ‘70s and has been a full-time writer and executive editor for Boating World Magazine for 20 years where he writes the Editor’s Letter, engine column, fishing column, trailering column, all boat tests and is the on-camera personality as well as being a feature writer, humorist, photographer, videographer and fishing enthusiast. Alan is the social media director for Boating World Magazine and Sea Magazine and is a contributing editor for Sea Magazine. Alan has been a judge at the NMMA Innovations Awards contest numerous times and has been recognized by BWI eight times in the annual writing contest.
During his tenure, Alan has taken many adventurous trips in small boats:
- Cruised 1,500 miles from Seattle to Glacier Bay, Alaska in a 26-footer
- Drove a deckboat 1,000 miles from St. Louis on the Mississippi River, Ohio River, Tennessee River and Tenn/Tom to Florida
- Crossed the Gulf of Mexico over 500 miles non-stop in a 24-foot center console from the Florida Panhandle to Key West.
Board of Directors
Michael Sciulla … has become the go-to guy when it comes to producing most of the BWI panel discussions at the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale boat shows. Since completing two terms as BWI president (2003-4) he’s been chairman of the Speaker’s Committee and has produced and moderated a number of well-attended and thought-provoking programs including “Expanding the Boating Universe Beyond Middle-aged White Males”; “The Boating Media’s New Economic Realities”; “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “The Future of Marine Journalism.”
During Sciulla’s term as president, BWI’s bylaws were written and approved, the first electronic survey of association members was undertaken and BWI dues were reduced for those publications with multiple members. To recognize editorial excellence, he launched the Monk Farnham Award 15 years ago and counts it as one of his major achievements.
Alan Wendt is past president of BWI, has been a boat owner and active member for two decades, volunteered his time as a writing contest judge and BWI Innovations Awards judge and co-chair for many years. He is a regular contributor to TalkoftheDock website, freelance writer for Lakeland Boating and Southern Boating, former editorial director for Marine CEO magazine and publisher of two custom lifestyle boating publications, Adventures and Getaways! Wendt’s journalistic career began in 1970 as a TV & Radio reporter, later as a newspaper writer for the Tampa Tribune and Orlando Sentinel, before spending 18 years as a news anchor for a Tampa television station. His assignments included overseas coverage ranging from war and natural disasters to the softer side of the news that included pursing the boating lifestyle. Wendt and his wife, Susan, also organize boating rendezvous for manufacturers and retail boat dealers throughout the U.S., Canada and the Bahamas.
Zuzana Prochazka. Zuzana is a freelance boating/travel journalist and photographer as well founder of Zescapes, an operator of bareboat flotilla vacations at exotic destinations around the world. She serves as charter editor for SAIL magazine, and is a regular contributor oftechnical and destination articles to SEA, Cruising Outpost, Pacific Yachting, Boat U.S., and Yachting Times magazines. Her work has also appeared in Blue Water Sailing, Passagemaker, Southern Boating and Boating World as well as on Yachtworld, Boats.com, Catamarans.com, and Talk of the Dock.com websites. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Zuzana has cruised, and chartered in many parts of the world and serves as an international presenter on charter destinations and technical topics. She is the Chair of the New Product Awards committee, judging innovative boats and gear at Miami, Vancouver and IBEX boat shows, and is a nine-year member of the BWI Board and former president.
Michael Vatalaro has spent the past 11-plus years with Boat U.S. Magazine, the last six in the role of Executive Editor. His editorial duties include the annual Trailering Guide, and the fishing-related content in all titles, as well as producing 14 issues of the e-newsletter. He also shoots, produces, and edits approximately 10 videos for the web each year, with a focus on How-To and events. Prior to following his passion for boats, he was a science writer, and worked briefly for a weekly health program on PBS and as a documentary maker. He grew up water skiing and wake boarding on the Severn River near Annapolis, Maryland, and has owned everything from a 16-foot sailboat to a 32-foot flybridge sedan.
Charlie Levine … For the past 15-plus years Charlie Levine has covered recreational boating and fishing as an editor, freelance writer and most recently, an online publisher. A lifelong love of fishing led to editorial posts at The Fisherman, Sport Fishing and a 10-year stint as Senior Editor of Marlin Magazine. For the past three years, Charlie has focused on producing online content for FishTrack.com and Buoyweather.com. As the Editor and Publisher of these sites, Charlie divides his time between generating original content, growing social media outreach, developing business partnerships and aiding in product development such as mobile apps and weather-focused toolsets. He currently resides in Orlando, Florida, with his wife and two young sons. He has a 16-foot skiff that he uses to escape the noise whenever he can.
Chris Woodward joined the Sport Fishing magazine team as Editor in 2001, after 17 years as a newspaper and online journalist, covering outdoor sports, lifestyle trends and news. She has lived and worked for publications in Dallas, San Francisco, New Orleans, West Palm Beach and Orlando.
Her volunteer positions have included serving on a boating advisory panel for the state of Georgia and as an advisory panel chair for the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. While growing up in Florida, she boated and fished the lakes, bays and oceans. She currently fishes a 22-foot bay boat in her home waters off south coastal Georgia.
Executive Director, Secretary and Treasurer
Greg Proteau writes about boating and marine finance industry trends, companies, people and ideas. He served as director of communications and public relations for the National Marine Manufacturers Association and was the founding executive director of the National Marine Bankers Association. He also provides strategic marketing communications and public affairs consulting to manufacturers, marketing agencies, service providers and organizations within and outside the marine sector, and is senior counsel for Home Port Marine Marketing, the marine marketing consultancy.
Committee Structure at BWI…
BWI’s standing committees include:
Contest. The Contest Committee organizes the annual writing contest, securing judges for reading and scoring, reviewing categories and definitions, publishing the contest brochure and announcing the results. The current Chair is Lindsey Johnson.
Membership. The membership Committee addresses recruiting and retention of the three levels of members, undertakes surveys, and reviews and seeks out member benefits. The current Chair is Alan Wendt.
Fundraising. The Fundraising Committee finds sponsors for BWI activities, including the annual writing contest, annual membership meetings in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale and new endeavors.
Communications. The Communications committee oversees the BWI website, social media, the monthly BWI Journal newsletter and BWI publicity. The current Chair Greg Proteau.
Product Awards. The Product Awards Committee coordinates efforts with manufacturer organizations which sponsor awards programs. The committee selects judges with appropriate expertise to be on review panels and manages on-site award efforts. The current Chair is Zuzana Prochazka.
Speakers. The Speakers Committee determines topics, secures speakers and organizes the presentations for “Newsmaker” events in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. The current Chair is Michael Sciulla.
Members with interest in serving on any of the Committees or in support roles are encouraged to contact the appropriate chairpersons through an email using our contact form.