New Officers & Directors Elected

BWI members elected one new and two returning Directors, and its Board appointed a new Director to fill a vacancy and elected three Officers in early 2020. New to the Board are Kim Koditek and Ben Stein, appointed to fill a vacancy. New Officers are President Charlie Levine, Editor/Publisher of; 1st Vice President Chris Woodward, Editor of Sport Fishing Magazine; and 2nd Vice President Brady Kay, executive editor of Pontoon & Deck Boat magazine and who oversees two additional Midwestern focused boating publications.

   Koditek is Senior Content Manager for the NMMA, leading content strategy and production for She earlier was Content and Digital Editor for Boats Group. Stein is editor of covering the marine electronics industry. He also is electronics editor for Power & Motoryacht and Passagemaker magazines and is a regular contributor to Soundings.

   Re-elected as a Director was Lenny Rudow, a freelance writer, editor and Angler in Chief of FishTalk magazine. Those continuing on the Board are Immediate Past President Alan Jones, former Editor for Boating World Magazine; Jim Fullilove, currently chief editor of Marine Electronics Journal; Ron Ballanti, a freelance writer, photographer and operator of a marketing communications agency.

   Executive Director duties for BWI are being transitioned from Greg Proteau to Zuzana Prochazka. Proteau has served BWI for 18 years and intends to continue in volunteer roles. Prochazka has been a BWI Director since 2005 and served as President in 2010 – 11. In addition to managing BWI, she will continue as a freelance writer and photographer who contributes to a number of boating titles and operator of Zescapes, which arranges bareboat flotilla vacations at exotic destinations around the world. 

BWI Presidents on Working with Proteau

BWI Presidents who led the association during Greg Proteau’s service as Executive Director for 18 years from 2002 to 2020 offered memories of working with him as he turned over management of the group to Zuzana Prochazka at the Miami Boat Show in February. Compiled by Michael Sciulla (see more comments below), he offered an introductory phrase describing Proteau’s work as “Behind Every Leader is a Herd of Cats Yearning to be Led.” Remembrances by other BWI President’s included these:

John Wooldridge, 1985-87 (and 2012-13) – You never forget bonding with a friend. I met Greg at a Chrysler Marine press event at the Chateau Montebello resort in Canada in 1977, not long after Chris Caswell hired me to be the Inland Regional Editor of SEA Magazine. Standing on the back deck of the resort, overlooking the docks filled with Chrysler Marine boats and engines, Greg was generous to this young newbie from Chicago, where he also worked as an editor for a marine trades magazine. From that day forth, he has been mentor, confidante and lifelong friend. 

   When Greg and Bob Black approached me at the Chicago IMTEC show (Not sure of the year) about the plan to revive BWI, which had deteriorated from an active group of boating writers with a healthy newspaper outdoors writers component to a seldom-gathered coterie of drinking buddies, I said “Let’s do it.” We spread the word by phone and mail (thanks to Greg and his list) about a meeting at the winter (December or January) New York Boat Show at the old Coliseum, and had a good turnout of NY-based magazines and NE newspapers. We always had speakers from all walks of boating (APBA National Champ Betty Cook was one outstanding example) at the NYBS and MIBS events. It was a wonderful opportunity for freelancers and editors to gather over coffee and donuts/bagels, and to hear about boating sports many writers never explored. I owe both of these gentlemen more than I can say about putting me in front of a diverse group of colleagues when I was an aspiring regional boating magazine editor. I met some great writers, and some real characters. 

   I think we can all agree that our professional and personal lives have grown while he was on watch at the NMMA and at the helm of BWI. As for me, I owe him, and prize the times we have had, and will continue to have, going forward. 

Alex Zidock, 1992-93 – Eighteen years of Proteau! It seems like yesterday when I was president, and then I followed Bob Black as the ED. Joe Skorupa became president, and he and I seeded the writing contest that Greg so capably nurtured into one of the best excellence in craft yardsticks around. I recall even before he took over as the ED Greg was great to work with and was always involved. His industry insight, his gentlemanly manner, and his ability to get things done back then just smoothly transitioned into his role as BWI’s leader. Simply put, he has been right for the organization, and I enjoyed working with him. 

Jeanne Craig, 1997 I have been working in the marine industry in one capacity or another for three decades. In that time I have had the privilege to meet so many incredible people. Yet one of the most polished, professional and polite is Greg Proteau. He is one of those people who is as expert as he is generous with his time and talents. Greg, you will be missed.

Dean Travis Clarke, 1998-2000 – I worked closely with Greg throughout almost two full terms as President. I was fortunate that things ran pretty smoothly. Consequently, we were able to spend less time problem solving and more time developing an abiding friendship. One of the main things we shared was our children who rowed competitively. We even met up in Boston at the Head of the Charles Race one year. 

   Greg was the driving force of BWI. He steered our group through the day-to-day operations and the occasional rogue waves. And finally, he was also sometimes the brake that prevented us from traveling a path we shouldn’t have. Greg has been a great coxswain for BWI and I hope his future holds nothing but health and happiness for him and his family.  

Michael Verdon, 2001-02 – When Bob Black retired, I had the opportunity to become BWI Executive Director, but wanted to stay as BWI President to get my ethics rules through. Greg became ED and what good fortune for the organization that he did. Disciplined, patient and diligent, he has set a very high bar for Zuzana (which I have every confidence she’ll reach) and everyone else that follows. I feel fortunate to call Greg a friend. He’s insightful, smart, generous, unflappable and subtly sarcastic—all traits I wish I had in greater measure. He’s also served the boating writer community well during his time there and we owe him a debt of gratitude. 

Michael Sciulla, 2003-04I first met Greg sometime around 1980 when he was managing PR for NMMA and I was doing the same for BoatU.S. Relations were cool given that he represented the industry and I the consumer. That I grew up on the East coast and he the mid-West meant that we saw the world from two very different points of view. The outlook for the future was hazy at best.

   Along the way we somehow agreed to be agreeable. While I am not sure how it happened, I do know we both wanted to re-energize Boating Writers International even though it would be like herding cats. Now, some 40 years later, including about a dozen years bunking together at FLIBS and MIBS, it’s time to say au revoir mon capitan. We had a good run, did the best that we could and grew a friendship that will endure long after we set sail for our separate worlds.  

Roger Marshall, 2005-06 I think I first met Greg at the old IMTEC show in the 90s when most writers were on the staff of major magazines. At that time, the parties were raucous, the writers even more outspoken and BWI only just getting involved with the NMMA Innovation awards. Through the transition from huge press evenings (parties in other words)  Greg has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep BWI moving.

   In any organization good leadership is the glue that holds the operation together. As a former president of BWI the leadership role seemed easy until I realized that Greg Proteau was the power behind the scenes. Greg was the epoxy that enabled BWI to transition from staff editors to a gig economy. He was the tireless worker who quietly found space for meetings, helped set the agenda for those same meetings and coordinated the writing competition to the benefit of all of those of us that write about boats. His smooth, yet effacing manner enabled the real business of BWI to go on seamlessly over a long period.

Kim Kavin, 2007-09 – At times like this, when a person steps aside after years of working behind the scenes, those who worked with him often say, “So-and-so was the glue that held it all together.” Well, during my tenure as BWI president, Greg Proteau was the glue, the staples, the stitching, the screws, the bolts, the zippers, the buckles, the ties and then some.  
   Greg was a tireless manager of every last detail that needed to be handled for BWI members. His attention to those details left the elected leaders to work on big-picture items. During my tenure, the big-picture things included modernizing our newsletter, logo and website, and adapting our contest categories to the changing types of marine media. There is no way that I could have focused on getting those things done if Greg hadn’t been in the background, getting everything else done. 
   He’s also a heck of a nice guy. Those of us who have had the pleasure of working closely with Greg know that he’s always ready to pick up the phone and help, to offer advice or to just be a good friend. Greg is the kind of person we all should be blessed to be able to work with at least once in our careers. So, as he enters his next chapter, I wish Greg all the best—and I hope he knows how deeply he will be missed.

 Zuzana Prochazka, 2010-11 – “Seriously – you want the job back? I had no idea you did all this. I’ve got some big shoes to fill. Please don’t ghost me anytime soon.” 

Alan Wendt, 2014-15 – One of Greg’s largest contributions to BWI was guiding our rag-tag team of talents and bruised egos as the boating industry suffered from the Great Recession. We went from staff to freelance, watched our membership disappear as quickly as iconic boat brands. Yet he managed to fund BWI and find sponsorship for the writing contest year after year. It’s never easy being told no, yet his perseverance won the day.

   Those of us lucky enough to serve as President see how much Greg handled behind the scenes of BWI from writing, editing and publishing the monthly newsletter, to managing the membership, to coordinating the writing contest and more. Finding meeting space for board meetings, to dealing with non-payment issues for freelancers, to more serious breaches of conduct that never saw the public eye. Greg did all of this with his mild-mannered diplomatic style.  The BWI organization is stronger and better because of him and I’m confident Zuzana will lead us forward in this new decade.  

Lenny Rudow, 2016-17 – Here’s my two cents: Greg has been such a foundational part of BWI for so many year that there is much for us to be thankful for – and it’s hard to even know where to begin. But there’s one thing I have loved through the years, so let me just say this, Greg: No organizations or businesses that I have ever dealt with or ever will have provided such an intelligent, entertaining, and concise service as your yearly financial reports. Countless CEOs could learn a thing or two, from you! 

Alan Jones, 2018-19 – As executive director of BWI for nearly 20 years, Greg made the job look easy but those of us who were lucky enough to work closely with him know it was like the proverbial duck gliding gracefully on the surface while the unseen feet were furiously paddling. His political acumen and common sense approach helped navigate many complicated situations and firmly established BWI as a highly respected organization that makes us all look good by association. While I know Zuzana will do a great job in his stead, he will be a tough act to follow.

Best Boat Writing Recognized

Boating and fishing journalists, photographers and videographers were recognized at the start of the 2020 Miami International Boat Show in an annual awards program conducted by the membership of Boating Writers International (BWI). Presentations in 15 contest categories representing $15,000 in awards were made to first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) place scorers. Cash award recipients also received a recognition plaque noting their “Excellence in creating compelling stories about the boating lifestyle through entertaining, educational and inspiring journalism.”

The BWI Writing Awards, presented for 27 years, attracted 112 participants submitting 299 entries. In addition to cash awards, 45 Certificates of Merit were presented to other entrants who scored closely to the third-place tallies in each category. All submissions to the contest were published in 2019. Each of the categories (noted below along with sponsors) was judged by four active journalists in the first few weeks of the New Year. Links to the top three entries are provided below. Results:

Seamanship, Rescue & Safety – sponsored by Sea Tow Services International

1st place, “Touching the Water” by John Rousmaniere (Cruising World); 2nd place, “Arctic Blast” by Pim Van Hemmen (Soundings); 3rd place, 3rd, “Rethinking Inflatable the MOB Recovery” by Ralph Naranjo (Practical Sailor). Jim Rhodes said, “Rousmaniere grabs the attention of the reader at the outset with a compelling and moving lead, and then delivers on the promise with a well written story based on personal experience. A thoroughly good read.” Certificates of Merit to: “Marina Upgrades Improve Safety” by David Turley (Boat US Magazine); “A Drogue by Another Name is a Rudder” by Drew Frye (Good Old Boat); “To Moor or Anchor” by Tom Zydler (Cruising World).

The Business of Boating – sponsored by Evinrude

1st, “Traditional Dealers & Independents” by Zuzana Prochazka (Marine Electronics Journal); 2nd, “Bigger, Bolder and Faster” by Eric Colby (Soundings Trade Only); 3rd, “Lifeline of the Islands” by Michael Verdon (Soundings Trade). Judge Adam Cort said of Prochazka’s article, “I quickly found myself being pulled in by this well-written, informative article. A great analysis of a vital aspect of the marine electronics industry that rarely gets the attention it deserves.” Merit Awards to “The Case for Buying a Charter Cat” by Tim Murphy (Cruising World); “The Do-It-All Machine” by Adam Quandt (Boating Industry); “Digital Threads” by Reagan Haynes (Soundings Trade); and “Electric Propulsion” by Zuzana Prochazka (Marine Electronics Journal).

Boating Photography – sponsored by Freedom Boat Club

1st, “Everyone Needs a Helping Hand” by Jan Hein (Classic Boat Magazine); 2nd, “Morning Light on Peggy’s Cove” by Dori Arrington (Passagemaker); 3rd, “Dispatches from Cuba” by Jay Fleming (Anglers Journal). Judge Steve Davis said Hein’s photograph “Captured a dynamic, high impact moment and because the camera was set at the right speed with the right aperture, its effect tells a story that draws the observer right into the action.” Merit Awards: “Memories in the Maritimes” by Dori Arrington (MarinaLife Magazine); “Rio Dulce Girl” by Craig Ligibel (Afloat Magazine); “Cruising Helmsman Cover” by Heather Francis; “Into the Mist” by Peter Nielsen (SAIL).

Boating Adventures – sponsored by Yamaha Marine Group

1st, “The Art of Cruising” by Tom Zydler (Cruising World); 2nd, “Swift Currents High Seas Adventure” by Norris Comer (Northwest Yachting); 3rd, “Chasing a Pacific High” by Ronnie Simpson (Cruising World). Judge Richard Armstrong commented, “The slow-motion adventure of a skipper/author and his artist wife as they explore the Canadian Maritimes and Greenland takes the reader on a journey past ice floes, calving icebergs, rugged terrain, and wildlife in a world most boaters will never experience.” Merit Awards: “Alone at Sea” by Erin Schanen (Sailing Magazine); “Special Delivery” by Jeff Moser (Power & Motoryacht).

Boating Videos – sponsored by Boat Owners Association of the U.S.

1st, “Palm Beach 70 Commuter Contest” by John Turner (Power & Motoryacht); 2nd, “Yamaha EXR WaveRunner” by Alan Jones (Boating World); 3rd, “Solace 345 at Newport” by John Turner (Power & Motoryacht). Judge Ben Stein noted, “I really enjoyed this video. I thought it told a story in a creative fashion while also showcasing the Palm Beach 70. The video did a really nice job romantically evoking a different time and lifestyle.”

Boat Projects, Renovations & Retrofits – sponsored by Boats Group

1st, “The Long Haul” by Pim Van Hemmen (Soundings); 2nd, “The Full Quiver” by Ronnie Simpson (Cruising World); 3rd, “Sweat, Tears and Fiberglass” by Jordan Wicht (Cruising World). Of the winner, judge Bill Sisson said, “The Long Haul had a lot of elements going for it. It was well written and captured both the history behind the 70-foot 1941 sardine carrier as well as the long effort to rebuild her as a cruising yacht.” Merit Awards: “Penbo Reborn” by Pim Van Hemmen (Soundings); “Natty Nobby” by Dieter Loibner (Soundings).

Fishing – sponsored by Suzuki Motor Corporation

1st, “Grace of the Food Chain” by Zach Harvey (Anglers Journal); 2nd, “Rooted” by Gary Reich (Anglers Journal); 3rd, “Touchdown Strategies for Sailfish” by Vincent Daniello (Sport Fishing). Says judge Brady Kay, “Grace of the Food Chain takes an exceptionally entertaining, educational, and fresh approach to a somewhat humble topic; turning it into an informative and inspirational look at the underrated experience of angling for black sea bass.”

Boating Travel or Destinations – sponsored by Kicker Marine Audio

1st, “Patience of Solomons” by Heather Francis (Cruising Helmsman); 2nd, “The Allure of the ‘Mini Loop’” by Rich Armstrong (BoatUS Magazine); 3rd, “Kenai Kingdom” by Norris Comer (Northwest Yachting). Judge Carol Pierini said, “Patience of Solomons presents a well-documented overview of the Soloman Islands, complete with extensive details for each port. From introduction to the conclusion, this story leaves little untold and is so valuable for others planning a cruise to these islands.” Merit Awards: “Still Waters Run Deep” by Simon Murray (Power & Motoryacht); “Guatemala’s Sweet River” by Craig Ligibel (Afloat Magazine); “Bareboating Florida’s Forgotten Coast” by Chris Caswell (Charter Savvy); “Riding the Rideau” by Mark Pillsbury (Cruising World); “For Love & Adventure” by Bob Arrington (Power & Motoryacht).

Boating Profiles – sponsored by ZF Marine

1st, “Perfect Patterns” by Gary Reich (Anglers Journal); 2nd “Against the Grain” by Henry Hughes (Anglers Journal); 3rd, “Bait Lady” by Bill Pike, (Anglers Journal). Of the first place piece judge Kevin Falvey said, “The author’s command of language was exercised in a reserved manner that resonated with power.” Merit Awards: “Miracle Workers” by Michael Verdon (Soundings Trade Only); “Every Boater, a Builder” by Krista Karlson (Outboard Magazine); “Hard Aground, Caught Aback” by Gary Goodlander (Cruising World); “Hardwired” by John Page Williams (Anglers Journal); “Fate and Faith” by Kim Kavin (Passagemaker). “The Oldest Tugboat Man in Baltimore” by Rafael Alvarez (Chesapeake Bay Magazine).

Boating Issues, News and Analysis – sponsored by Mercury Marine

1st, “Stone Silent” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Soundings); 2nd, “Disappearing Act” by Lenny Rudow (Marine Electronics Journal); 3rd, “Living With Ethanol” by Drew Frye (Good Old Boat). Says judge Jim Fullilove, “Stone Silent’s intriguing lead draws us in to an account of a small-boat commercial stone crabber who may soon be put out of business by environmental factors far beyond his control. Lively, descriptive writing puts us in the middle of the action while external research lends credibility to the real-life tale.” Merit Awards: “Vancouver Liveaboards Fight for Way of Life” by Diane Selkirk (Broadview); “Wind Farms vs. Fishermen” by Kim Kavin (Soundings); “The Trickle-Up Theory” by Reagan Haynes (Soundings Trade Only); “Defending Wakesports Boats” by Eric Colby (Soundings Trade Only); “On Pings and Panic” by Kim Kavin (Soundings).

Environmental Awareness & Education – sponsored by Torqeedo, Inc.

1st, “Fish Pimping” by Callan Wink (Anglers Journal); 2nd, “Plight of Whales” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay Magazine); 3rd, “Cold, Wet and Hell Bent” by Jeff Moser (Outboard Magazine). Judge Gary Reich said of the winner, “An intriguing and thought-provoking essay on the conflicts one fishing guide experiences when guiding clients with opposing world views and the inner struggle he wrestles with when turning the looking glass on his own profession.” Merit Awards: “Return of the Bay Scallop” by Marty LeGrand (Chesapeake Bay Magazine); “The Flammable Fix” by Kim Kavin (Soundings); “What Goes Up …” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay Magazine).

Boat Tests & Reviews – sponsored by Volvo Penta

1st, “The Palm Beach 70” by Dan Harding (Power & Motoryacht); 2nd, “The Ice Palace” by Marilyn Mower (Boat International US); 3rd, “Vision 68 Horizon” by Norris Comer (Northwest Yachting). Said judge John Wooldridge, “Experiencing a boat doesn’t get any better than this. Well written and researched, I found the Palm Beach narrative playful, fun and entertaining. A good read.” Merit Awards: “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by Chris Caswell (Boat International); “Front Row Seat” by Pim Van Hemmen (Soundings); “VIDA” by Marilyn Mower (Boat International US).

Boating Columns – sponsored by KVH Industries, Inc.

1st, “Between Fish” by Bill Sisson (Anglers Journal); 2nd, “Off Watch” by Herb McCormick (Cruising World); 3rd, “Seamanship” by Bob Arrington (Power & Motoryacht). Judge Charlie Levine said “Sisson uses a reflective tone to portray a deep love and passion for the ocean and the marine life that lives beneath its waves that inspires the reader to carve out some watery memories of his own.” Merit Awards: “Dispatches” by Gary Reich (Soundings); “Boating With Missy” by Melissa Gervais (Northwest Yachting).

Gear, Electronics & Product Tests – sponsored by Xantrex/Mission Critical Electronics

1st, “Fire and Metal” by Gary Reich (Outboard Magazine); 2nd, “Toy Story” by Jeff Hemmel (Boating); 3rd, “Sterndrive vs. Outboard” by Chris Caswell (Boating). Judge Kim Kavin says: “This was an incredibly close call in the Gear category, with only a half-point separating the winning and second-place entries. Fire and Metal edged out the competition thanks to the kind of descriptive writing we don’t often see applied to gear topics. It was a feature-style approach to covering something that often gets only technical reviews.” Merit Awards to: “Choosing and Using Jackstands” by Drew Frye (Practical Sailor); “Getting in Gear” by Kevin Falvey (Boating); “Electronic Distress Signals” by Ben Ellison (Panbo).

Boating Lifestyles – sponsored by Discover Boating

1st, “Back to the Abacos” by Tim Murphy (Cruising World); 2nd, “Sisters from Other Mothers” by Barbara Marrett (Cruising World); 3rd, “Smoke on the Water” by Simon Murray (Power & Motoryacht). Judge Betsy Haggerty noted, “In Back to the Abacos, long-ago journal entries and vivid descriptions of new experiences combine to bring readers along on a three-generation catamaran cruise that highlights the closeness of the family and the beauty of sailing in the Abacos.” Merit Awards: “Drifting” by Craig Moodie (Good Old Boat); “Chez New” by Tom Neale (BoatUS Magazine); “Kids at Heart” by Bill Pike (Outboard Magazine); “When Time Stands Still” by Krista Karlson (Power & Motoryacht).

’19 Writing Contest Launches

BWI’s Annual Writing Contest marks its 27th year to recognize exceptional creativity in boating journalism, photography and videography. Entries are being accepted in 15 categories which translates to $15,000 available in prize awards. All of the details are included in a brochure posted at The electronic entry form ( provides the process for uploading entries, “doing the paperwork,” and paying dues by check or PayPal or through a publisher. BWI members get two free entries; non-members can enter at $50 apiece (or join for $100 and get the two free entries).

   This year’s categories include those recently added or revised: “Boating Lifestyles,” “Boat Projects, Renovations & Retrofits,” “Boating Videos,” and “Boating Photography.” Entries in all categories are welcome from digital-only — including blogs and on-line videos — or traditional print sources. Category definitions are included in the contest brochure.

   The contest recognizes the best marine writing and imaging in the world and presents cash awards to first- ($500), second- ($300) and third-place ($200) scorers in each category. Presentation of awards will be made at the Miami International Boat Show during the BWI Annual Meeting in February 2020.

   Deadline for entries is December 31, 2019.

Scholarship Apps, Donations

In its second year, BWI’s Scholarship effort is looking for donations to fund and applications for giving the money to an undergraduate college student showing promise for boating journalism. Donations from all BWI members are welcome and can qualify as tax deductible as the fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity. Members can also encourage students to apply by directing them to the application posted at Donations can be made out to BWI Scholarship Fund and sent to Robert Beringer, 4599 Deep River Pl., Jacksonville, FL 32224. For questions, contact Beringer at

Top Boating Journalism Gets Recognized

Boating and fishing journalists were recognized at the start of the Miami International Boat Show in an annual writing contest conducted by the membership of Boating Writers International (BWI). Presentations in 17 contest categories representing $17,000 in awards were made to first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) place scorers. Cash award recipients also received a recognition plaque noting their “Excellence in creating compelling stories about the boating lifestyle through entertaining, educational and inspiring journalism.”

In its 24th year, the BWI contest attracted 151 participants submitting 378 entries. In addition to cash awards, Certificates of Merit were presented to writers of another 43 articles which scored within 95 percent of third-place tallies in each category. All submissions to the contest were published in 2016. Each of the categories (noted below along with sponsors) was judged by four active journalists in the first few weeks of the New Year. Links are provided to the top three scorers. Results:

Fishing – sponsored by Suzuki Motor Corporation

1st place, “On the Edge” by Zach Harvey (Anglers Journal, Winter); 2nd place, “Mate for a Day” by Lenny Rudow (Texas Fish & Game, Oct.); Third place, “Cult of the Tog” by Gary Caputi (Anglers Journal, Fall). “On the Edge was entertaining from its lead through every single sentence and paragraph to its close,” said judge Gary Reich; “I’ve never read a more clever, colorful, and artistic description of a tool anglers use almost every time they fish, but take for granted.” Certificates of Merit: “Silver Obsession” by Bill Sisson (Anglers Journal, Spring); “Beautiful Brawn” by Ric Burnley (Anglers Journal, Summer); “Tales of Daytime Swordfish & Deep Tuna” by Vincent Daniello (Sport Fishing, May).

Gear, Electronics & Product Tests – sponsored by Xantrex/Schneider Electric

1st, “Splash Test Dummy” by Drew Frye (Good Old Boat, Sept.); 2nd, “New Options in Small Outboards” by Darrell Nicholson (Practical Sailor, Jan.); 3rd, “Hitting the Bricks” by Nigel Calder (PassageMaker, Sept.). “Despite it being a controlled product test of a cold water immersion suit, the author packs the article with a satisfying mix of information and hard data, accented with a good dose of humor throughout – An excellent piece of professional journalism,” noted judge Rich Armstrong. Merit Awards: “Trial By Fire and Water” by Lenny Rudow (Texas Fish & Game, Sept.); “Fish Whisperers” by Ron Ballanti (Anglers Journal, Fall).

Boating Adventures – sponsored by Yamaha Marine Group

1st, “Rite of Passage” by Daniel Parrott (Soundings, Aug.); 2nd, “Strings Attached” by Stuart Streuli (Sailing World, March); 3rd, “Si Se Puede” by Herb McCormick (Cruising World, Sept.). Judge Stacey Wigmore said: “Rite of Passage has all the elements that make a great piece –   drama, suspense, humor, and great storytelling. The author put me there with him, and I wasn’t ready for the story to end.” Merit Certificates for: “Havana or Bust” by Troy Gilbert (Sailing World, June); “The Curse of the Island of Doom” by Marlin Bree (Small Craft Advisor, Nov.); “The Fall Guys” by Peter Nielsen (Sail, Jan.); “The Devil Unknown” by Ben Zartman (Cruising World, Oct.); and “Southern Ocean, Family Style” by Somira Sao (Cruising World, Feb.).

Boat/Engine Care and Maintenance – sponsored by Interlux Yacht Finishes

1st, “Sam’s Dead” by Dennis Mullen (Multihull Sailor, Oct.); 2nd, “Help Me Help You” by Lenny Rudow (Texas Fish & Game, Dec,); 3rd, “Clean Fuel, Happy Boat” by Frank Lanier (Sea, Sept.). “’Sam’s Dead’ combines a unique approach with a solid underpinning of both storytelling and educating the reader even as the writer’s depiction of a catastrophic event bubbles with humor,” said judge David Epstein. Merit Certificates to “Reasons to be Paranoid About Fuel” by Nigel Calder (Yachting Monthly, April); “Varnishing Perfection” by Mark Corke (BoatUS Magazine, April); “Negligence Can Cost Plenty” by Ed Sherman (BoatUS Magazine, April); “Power Play” by John Page Williams (Chesapeake Bay, June)

Boat Tests & Reviews – sponsored by Volvo Penta

1st, “Reign Supreme” by Marilyn Mower (ShowBoats International, June); 2nd,”The Best Boats for Your Money” by Lenny Rudow (BoatUS Magazine, Oct.); 3rd, “Rogue Scholar” by Chris Caswell (Yachts International, June). Judge Brady Kay said, “I love the angle the author of ‘Reign” took. The format is woven in a clever way to link all of the features and amenities of this impressive yacht. It’s smart, well-written and filled with a wealth of great information.” Merit awards to: “Next Gen” by Patrick Sciacca (Yachting, Dec.); “Trick of the Eye” by Kevin Koenig (Yachting, July).

Boating Photography – sponsored by Freedom Boat Club

1st, “Rainbow Over the Columbia River Gorge” by George Sass (PassageMaker, Nov.); 2nd, “Old Ways” by Leo DeSousa (Anglers Journal, Spring); 3rd, “Graham McKay” by Jim Raycroft (Soundings, June). “The lighting in ‘Rainbow’ is phenomenal. The composition, the scene, the moment captured – all the elements were incredible. It’s the kind of picture that stirs your insides and one that could never be depicted in words,” offered judge Reagan Haynes. Awards of Merit: “The Hunting Games” by Pat Ford (Anglers Journal, Summer); “Vancouver – Blow By U” by Neil Rabinowitz (Yachtworld,com, Dec.); “Alone at the Ice Edge” by Ellen Leonard (Cruising World, June); “The Gaffer Hannah” by Tom Zydler (Cruising World, Feb.).

Seamanship, Rescue & Safety – sponsored by Sea Tow Services International

1st, “The Storm Trysail” by Edward Zacko (Good Old Boat, Jan.); 2nd, “In the Perfect Position to Fail” by Ralph Naranjo (Practical Sailor, April); 3rd, “Naked and Afraid” by Pete McDonald (Boating, Jan.). Of the first place selection, judge Jim Rhodes said, “A thoroughly researched and well-presented article. Punctuated by vivid personal anecdotes, it was written with the authority of someone who knows the subject matter.” Merit selections: “Hitches to Grip Anchor Chain” by Drew Frye (Practical Sailor, May); “Go Forth and Cruise” by Tom Cunliffe (Sail, June).

Environmental Awareness & Education – sponsored by American Boat & Yacht Council

1st, “The Fiberglass Dilemma” by Jim Flannery (Soundings, March); 2nd, “Troubled Waters” by Jim Flannery (Anglers Journal, Fall); 3rd, “The Great Rebound” by Marty LeGrand (Chesapeake Bay, Sept.). Judge Kim Kavin explained, “’Fiberglass Dilemma’ is a fascinating story about the race to figure out how to keep America’s aging fleet of fiberglass boats from filling the nation’s junkyards. It is a recycling story that explains all the challenges that come with trying to do the right thing, including economic forces at play far beyond the minds of many boaters.” Awards of Merit to “On the Horizon” by Tyson Bottenus (Cruising World, Dec.); “Breaking the Ice” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay, Jan.); “Boaters Beware!” by Karen Soule (Chesapeake Bay, July).

Boating Videos – sponsored by Boat Owners Association of the U.S.

1st, “Cruisers 60 Cantius Review” by John Burnham (, Jan. 26); 2nd, “Testing Seakeeper: Gyroscopic Stabilization for Boats” by Lenny Rudow (, Sept. 26); 3rd, “How to Re-deck Your Boat With SeaDek” by Lenny Rudow (, July 7). “The 60 Cantius video passed all the metrics of engaging viewers and providing a solid, objective critique of the subject craft; carefully scripted, fluid and beautiful visuals and excellent editing,” judges noted. Merit Awards to “Yamaha GP 1800 – PWC Test” by Alan Jones (Boating World/YouTube, Dec. 29) and “Beneteau Swift Trawler 30: First Look Video” by Alex Smith (, Feb. 17).

Boating Lifestyles – sponsored by Discover Boating

1st, “Class Act” by David Reed (Sailing World, Sept.); 2nd, “Keeping It Simple” by Jeff Bolster (Soundings, Oct.); 3rd, “A Sailor’s Brain Under Power” by Doug Logan (, March 17). Noted judge Ben Ellison, “Class Act is a beautifully crafted profile of that most enigmatic of boating types, the all-in sail racing owner/skipper. But the author also embedded the startling plot twist in such a perfectly structured and sensitive way that no reader will be left untouched.” Certificates of Merit: “Rules of the Ramp” by Ann Eichenmuller (Chesapeake Bay, June) and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” by Tom Neale (Soundings, Nov.).

Boating Issues, News and Analysis – sponsored by Mercury Marine

1st, “The Future is Now” by Kim Kavin (Yachts International, Nov.); 2nd, “Now Launching: Miami 2.0” by Kim Kavin (Yachting, Feb.); 3rd, “Place A Quest for Keel Integrity” by Ralph Naranjo (Practical Sailor, May). “’The Future’ draws the reader in immediately and explains, with a good balance of informative reporting and experiential descriptions, how virtual reality is transforming yacht design, sales and construction. It flows well, makes good use of multiple sources, and informs the reader of todays and possible future uses of virtual reality,” judge Kelly Flory offered. Merit Awards: “Imagine GPS Goes Down” by Dieter Loibner (Soundings, Feb.); “Flagging the New Scams” by Charles Fort (BoatUS Magazine, Feb.); “Will Florida Settle Its Anchoring Issues?” by Ryck Lydecker (Boat US Magazine, Dec.); “The Bay’s Ups and Downs” by Tom Hale (Chesapeake Bay, Sept.).

Boat Projects, Renovations & Retrofits – sponsored by Awlgrip North America

1st, “Closing the Loophole” by Ronnie Simpson (Cruising World, May); 2nd, “Legends Never Die“ by Daniel Harding (Power & Motoryacht, June); 3rd, “Arm Yourself for High Latitudes” by Tom Zydler (Cruising World, April). Judge Bill Sisson said, “’Loophole’ had a lot of good things going for it: well written, practical hard-won advice, along with the author’s refreshing sense of independence, adventure and self-reliance. The writer brought a smart can-do attitude both to the story and the refit of his Cal-29, which he single-handed from California to Hawaii.” Merit Awards to: “A Warrior Returns” by Marilyn Mower (ShowBoats International, July); “Splice it Up” by Heather Francis (Cruising World, June); “Filling in the Blanks” by Connie McBride (Good Old Boat, Nov.); “Saving a Sole” by Heather Steinberger (Boating, Feb.).

Boating Columns – sponsored by KVH Industries, Inc.

1st, “Between Fish” by Bill Sisson (Anglers Journal); 2nd, “Jody’s Log” by Jody Argo Schroath (Chesapeake Bay); 3rd, “Weather Eye” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay). “You feel his work in your bones,” says judge John Wooldridge of the first place columns … “Highly descriptive and deeply immersive, they transport you to the moment that the experience takes place, making the reader a participant to the story.” Honorable Mentions: “On Watch” by Fatty Goodlander (Cruising World); “On the Wind” by Chris Caswell (Sailing).

Boating Profiles – sponsored by ZF Marine

1st, “Tuned In” by John Page Williams (Anglers Journal, Fall); 2nd, “Backcountry Boy” by Jim Flannery (Anglers Journal, Winter); 3rd, “The Real Deal” by Jim Flannery (Anglers Journal, Summer). Judge Dorie Cox said, “From the first vibrations of the fishing line in ‘Tuned In’ we flow with the writer’s theme as we learn interesting details of his subject’s adventures. The author offers excellent attention to the subtleties of a life.” Certificate of Merit: “Art Daniel, Captain of the Bay” by Brice Stump (Chesapeake Bay, Dec.).

The Business of Boating – sponsored by Home Port Marine Marketing

1st, “Boat Lover’s Guide to Marine Tech Schools & Colleges” by Stacey Wigmore (BoatUS Magazine, Dec.); 2nd, “Can Beneteau Conquer America?” by Michael Verdon (International Boat Industry Magazine, April); 3rd, “Who Will Replace Boomers?” by Reagan Haynes (Soundings Trade Only, May). Of the Schools Guide, judge Gary Beckett said, “A very well-researched story covering a hot industry topic that affects not just the trade but consumers as well with very good use of sources.” Merit awards: “Hitting the Blend Wall” by Nigel Calder (Professional Boatbuilder, April); “One Small Ball Bearing, One Giant Leap for Hardware” by Heather Steinberger (Sailing, May); “Securing the Boat Show Docks” by Kim Kavin (Compass, Aug.).

Boating Travel or Destinations – sponsored by Martin Flory Group

1st, “Beckoned by a Clearing” by Thies Matzen (Cruising World, March); 2nd, “Lingering Through Languedoc” by Tim Murphy (Cruising World, Nov.); 3rd, “Sailing Into Paradise” by Michael Robertson (Cruising World, Feb.). Judges said the first place selection, “Recounts the unravelling of a WWII mystery set within a family story, delivered by an epic voyage to an extraordinary part of the Earth … a captivating read with a compelling balance of historical and present-day information.” Merit Awards: “Charmed By St. Helena” by Diane Selkirk (Sailing World, Dec.); “Lewis, Clark & Fleming” by George Sass (PassageMaker, Nov.); “The Wildest Coast” by Ben Zartman (Cruising World, Feb.); “Sand and Sea” by Gary Jobson (Cruising World, June); “Saving the Best for Last” by Mike Litzow (Cruising World, Jan.); “Finding Home at the Bottom of the World” by Somira Sao (Cruising World, April); “Norwegians Would” by Terry Ward (Cruising World, April).

Technical Writing – sponsored by Dometic Marine

1st, “Black Magic” by Chris Caswell (Boating, July); 2nd, “We Can Have Hybrid” by Nigel Calder (Professional Boatbuilder, Dec.); 3rd, “Security by Design” by Alvah Simon (Cruising World, Dec.). Of the top pick, judge Mike Smith said, “Lots of Information! A good, concise, well-written article.” Honorable Mentions: “Know Your Nav Lights” by Frank Lanier, (Sea Magazine, Aug.); “Solid State Radar: The Doppler Effect” by Ben Ellison (Panbo, March); and “Going Totally Solar” by Bruce Bingham (Cruising World, Jan.).

Miami BWI Meet Moves to Thursday

BWI is moving its Annual Meeting, Writing Contest Awards and “Newsmaker” presentation breakfast event to Thursday February 16, opening day of the Miami International Boat Show. Timing will remain the same, from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Location is the Belvedere Lounge, a new on-dock restaurant between Piers 3 and 4 directly in front of the center of the Marine Stadium. Those planning to attend should take a cab or Uber or arrange to valet park on-site at the show. Buses and water taxis don’t run until 9 a.m., an hour before show opens.

For its second year at Virginia Key, MIBS returns to the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin February 16 to 20. Strictly Sail Miami is returning to Miamarina at Bayside and showcasing sailboats, daily seminars, and sailing gear. These events are produced by NMMA. Media credentials for MIBS are required to board water taxis (but not required for shuttle buses). To register online go to

The 29th annual Yachts Miami Beach is becoming gated and requiring a $20 ticket for public entry. The show takes place from February 16-20 on Collins Avenue, across from the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels along Collins Avenue from 41st to 54th streets. “Yachts” is managed, produced and co-owned by Show Management and co-owned and sponsored by the International Yacht Brokers Association. To register for media credentials visit by Wednesday, February 8. Direct registration questions to

Best Boating Writing of 2014

Boating and fishing journalists were recognized in February, 2015 for submissions to the annual writing contest judged by the membership of Boating Writers International (BWI). Presentations in 17 contest categories representing $17,000 in awards were made to first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) place scorers. Cash award recipients also received a recognition plaque noting their “Excellence in creating compelling stories about the boating lifestyle through entertaining, educational and inspiring journalism.”

Click on the shaded titles to link to the winning entries.

In its 22nd year, the BWI contest attracted 134 participants submitting 349 entries. In addition to cash awards, Certificates of Merit were presented to writers of another 60 articles which scored within 95 percent of third-place tallies in each category. All submissions to the contest were published in 2014. Each of the categories (noted below along with sponsors) was judged by four active journalists in the first few weeks of the New Year. Results:

Boat/Engine Care and Maintenance – sponsored by Interlux Yacht Finishes

1st, “Boat Systems Bootcamp” by Frank Lanier (Boating World, Sept.); 2nd,, “Mix It Up” by Peter Nielsen (Sail, Aug.); 3rd, “Free & Cheap: In Boats We Trust” by Lenny Rudow (, Feb. 24.). Judges described the top entry as, “Cleverly written with appropriate humor injected for those ‘been there’ situations experienced by most boat owners … with useful overviews of major onboard systems and accurate instructions on how to fix them when they fail.” Merit Awards: “Caring for Your Hydraulic Steering” by Bill Parlatore (BoatUS Magazine, Feb.); “Every Little Thing’s Not Going to be All Right” by Tom Neale (Soundings, Nov.).

Seamanship, Rescue & Safety – sponsored by Sea Tow Services International

1st, “Remembering the Cuyahoga” by Michael Fincham (Chesapeake Bay Magazine, Feb.); 2nd, “A Speck in the Sea” by Paul Tough (New York Times Magazine, Jan. 2); 3rd, “Sinking Boats for Safety” by John Page Williams (Boating, July). Of “Cuyahoga,” judge Louisa Rudeen Beckett says it “Combines a dramatic account of one of the U.S. Coast Guard’s most tragic incidents as told by a survivor who later wrote a book about it with lessons learned and handed down to future Coast Guardsmen and women.” Merit recipients: “Cold-Water Fishing Safety” by Alan Jones (Boating World, March); “Raft of Trouble” by Lenny Rudow (, May 21).

Boating Photography – sponsored by Freedom Boat Club

1st, “Spirit of America Crash” by Brett Bayne (Speedboat, Dec.); 2nd, “Docks After Dark” by Tom Serio (Lakeland Boating, Jan.); 3rd, “Ramiti” by Neville Hockley (Cruising World, Jan.). Judge Michael Sciulla suggests the first-place entry reflects, “Preparation and possession of a sixth sense that the great action photographers seem to share … the image captures the exhilaration and challenges that makes boating such a unique lifestyle.” Merit Awards to: “Sunset at the Antigua Charter Yacht Show” by Kim Kavin (YachtWorld, Nov. 19); “435 Everglades” by Robert Glover (All at Sea, Nov,); “Going Back” by James Raycroft (Power & MotorYacht, Nov,); “Anchored in Glacier Bay” by Michael Robertson (Good Old Boat, Sept.); “Hope Town Light” by Stephen Blakely (Soundings, June).

Boating Columns – sponsored by KVH Industries, Inc.

1st, “Loose Cannon” by Peter Swanson (Soundings Online); 2nd, “Under Way” by Bill Sisson (Soundings); “The Pin End” by Chris Caswell (Sails Magazine). “The ‘Loose Cannon’ columns, addressing important issues in the world of boating, are written with passion and conviction. The author doesn’t back away from strong opinions. The simple, direct and muscular style is something every good columnist should strive for,” said judge Jim Rhodes. Certificates of Merit: “Marketing Insight” by Michael Sciulla (Soundings Trade Only); “Weather Eye” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay); “Fishing” by Zach Harvey (Soundings).

Boating Issues, News and Analysis – sponsored by Mercury Marine

1st, “The Future: Electric Boats” by Vincent Daniello (Yachting, Dec.); 2nd, “Derelict Dilemma” by Ryck Lydecker (BoatUS Magazine, Feb.); 3rd, “Spies in the Skies” by Kim Kavin (Yachts International, Dec.). “Starting with a solid lead, this well researched article on ‘The Future’ quickly brings the reader through a century of innovation with a realistic eye on the not too distant future of electric propulsion,” noted judge Alan Wendt. Merit Awards: “Tough Times for Tall Ships” by Jim Flannery (Soundings, Dec.); “Spy in the Sky” by Roger Marshall (Dockwalk, May); “Paper or Plastic?” by Peter Swanson (Power & MotorYacht, April); “Avoiding the Pitfalls” by Greg Proteau (Lakeland Boating, Sept.).

Boat Projects, Renovations & Retrofits – sponsored by Awlgrip North America

1st, “Make Your Boat 1000 Times Better” by Lenny Rudow (, Nov. 8); 2nd, “The Falcon Soars Again” by Herb McCormick (Cruising World, Oct.);3rd, “Chill Baby” by Lenny Rudow, (, June 9). The top entry is, “Engaging, informative and heartwarming at the same time. I enjoyed the writer’s conversational style and fresh perspective. I felt inspired to go out and do the very same project with my children,” said judge Rebecca Cahilly. Merit Awards: “Seeing the Light” by Peter Nielsen (Sail, May); “The Last Living Whaleship” by  Mary South (Soundings, Oct.); “Lights of a Different Color” by Green Brett (Cruising World, Feb.); “Back from the Dead” by Chris Caswell (Power & MotorYacht, July); “Bottom Stripping Basics” by Doug Logan (, March 31).

Boating Adventures – sponsored by Yamaha Marine Group

1st, “The No Good Very Bad Windiest Day” by Carol Cronin (, Nov. 30); 2nd, “From Zero to Racing” by Tasha Hacker (Cruising World, Aug.); 3rd, “A Rogue-ish Wave” by John Kretschmer (Sail, July). The first-place entry is, “A great story told with unusual hubris for a sailor … it captures the excitement of high-level racing,” said judge Charles Fort. Awards of Merit: “Use Yourself Up” by Webb Chiles (Cruising World, Nov.); “Mission Accomplished” by Al Jacobs (BoatUS Magazine, Aug,); “Aboard Pillar with Papa” by Vincent Daniello (Yachting, June).

The Business of Boating – sponsored by Home Port Marine Marketing

1st, Undervalued Gen X is Boating’s Sweet Spot” by Michael Sciulla (Soundings Trade Only, May); 2nd, “Tender Trials” by Chris Caswell (Dockwalk, July); 3rd, “Band of Sisters” by Reagan Haynes (Soundings Trade Only, July). “Gen X,” says judge Gary Beckett, is “Well-written, well-researched and focused on a hot topic that the recreational marine industry needs to take seriously … the issue of attracting more people to boating.” Merit Awards: “Not All Aboard with Florida Rail Plan” by Jim Flannery (Soundings Trade Only, Aug.); “Light as Art and Architecture” by Rebecca Cahilly (The Megayachts 2014, Oct.).

Boat Tests & Reviews – sponsored by Volvo Penta

1st, “Sea-Doo Spark” by Jeff Hemmel (Boating, June); 2nd, “Princecraft Xperience 188” by Lenny Rudow (, Oct. 27); 3rd, “Aurora” by Marilyn Mower (ShowBoats International, June). Judge Carol Cronin writes, “The Spark test is a very helpful review for potential buyers, showing off both strengths and potential weaknesses. Best of all, its playful tone matches the intended audience.” Merit Certificates to: “A Test of Time” by Daniel Harding (Yachting, Nov.); “World’s Most Unusual Limo” by Alex Smith (, July 14); “Going Her Own Way” by Patrick Sciacca (Yachting, Aug.).

Boating Travel or Destinations – sponsored by Martin Flory Group

1st, “Pot of Gold” by Nadine Slavinski (Cruising World, Dec.); 2nd, “Cherries Jubilee” by Jody Argo Schroath (Chesapeake Bay, March); 3rd, “A World Away From Shore” by Troy Gilbert (BoatUS Magazine, June). Judge Alan Jones said, “’Pot of Gold’ transports the reader across the Pacific to Sydney where the author experiences the beauty and the culture along with the frantic energy the city’s harbor exudes.” Merit Awards: “Beyond the Water’s Edge” by Kim Kavin (New Canaan-Darien Magazine, July); “There Are No Shortcuts” by Stephen Blakely (Soundings, Dec.); “Three Days Before the Museum” by Tim Sayles (Chesapeake Boating, June); “Valhalla Revisited” by Charles Doane (Sail, Nov.); “Together Time” by David Reed (Cruising World, Dec.); “A Season Down South” by Jen Brett (Cruising World, Sept.); “Wilderness Found” by Kate Laird (Sail, July); “Longest of Days” by Tom Cunliffe (Sail, June); “Escape to Baja” by Peter Swanson (Power & MotorYacht, Oct.); “Cruising Dutch Waterways” by Peter Franklin (Practical Boat Owner – UK, Feb.); “Don’t Stop the Carnival” by James Raycroft (ShowBoats International, Oct.).

Gear, Electronics & Product Tests – sponsored by Xantrex/Schneider Electric

1st, “Where To Steer, Eat & Anchor On the ICW” by Frank Lanier (Practical Sailor, May); 2nd, “Riding Out A Gale” by Nigel Calder (Sail, June); 3rd, “A Vane To Steer Her By” by Alvah Simon (Cruising World, July). Judge John Wooldridge said the ICW feature, “Covers the wide-ranging field of cruising guide products with a thorough scrutiny. As the ever-increasing number of baby boomers take to the ICW for adventures on the water, this feature is invaluable.” Merit certificates to “Flares: Flaming Out?” by Earl MacKenzie (Cruising World, Nov.); “Cruising NOAA’s Arc” by Ralph Naranjo (Cruising World, July); “Here Be Fog” by Peter Swanson (Power & MotorYacht, Dec.).

Boating Lifestyles – sponsored by Discover Boating

1st, “Buried Treasure” by Chris Caswell (Power & MotorYacht, March); 2nd, “Which is More Fun, Kayak or SUP?” by Carol Cronin (, Aug. 13); 3rd, “Family Affairs” by Gary Goodlander (Cruising World, June). Judge Marilyn DeMartini called “Treasure,” “A Fun story! The characters come to life and the reader can see the action. I’m looking for the next boating flea market!” Certificates of Merit: “Embrace the Hacksaw” by Doug Logan (, July 30); “Reward Lives in The House Of Risk” by Matt Rutherford (BoatUS Magazine, June); “Raising a Child Dangerously” by Diane Selkirk (Slate, April 8); “Back in the Day” by Alvah Simon (Cruising World, Oct.); “The Cat with Nine Lives” by Randy West (Cruising World, June); “Boating As a Lifeline” by Dave Livingston (BoatUS Magazine, Aug.).

Boating Profiles – sponsored by ZF Marine

1st, “Townsend Bell Is Slowing Down” by Kevin Koenig (Power & MotorYacht, Nov.); 2nd, “Iron Woman” by Dieter Loibner (Soundings, Feb.); 3rd, “More than a Woman” by Meredith Laitos (Sail, Dec.). Judge Betsy Haggerty described the first-place story as, “Fast-paced like its subject (IndyCar driver Townsend Bell) and filled with vivid descriptions, this well-written profile puts readers inside Bell’s boat as he tackles ocean swells and talks about how boating adds balance to his adrenalin-driven life.” Merit Awards to “The Fastest Ex-Pat” by David Schmidt (Sail, Sept.); “Don Street Is Not Dead” by Andy Schell (Sail, May); “If I Die, Just Throw Me Over the Side” by Jim Flannery (Soundings, April); “When Lin met Larry” by Herb McCormick (Cruising World, Feb.).

Online Expressions – sponsored by Boat Owners Association of the U.S.

1st, “WaveTrain: A Blog About Cruising Sailboats and Other Aquatic Miracles” by Charles Doane; 2nd “Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub” by Ben Ellison; 3rd, “Runabout Restoration” by Chris Landers (on BoatUS Cruising Log). Judge Reagan Haynes described “WaveTrain” as, “Well-organized, engaging, and covering a wide array of topics without becoming fragmented or difficult to follow. The writer is engaging whether comparing products, detailing a recent trip, or following recent boating news.” Certificates of Merit: “Turf to Surf” by Tasha Hacker; “The Marine Installers Rant” by Bill Bishop; “Got Bait?” by Lenny Rudow (on

Fishing – sponsored by Suzuki Motor Corporation

1st, “Circling Back” by Barry Gibson (Anglers Journal, Winter); 2nd, “Another Time” by Bill Sisson (Anglers Journal, Summer); 3rd, “End of the Day” by Barry Gibson (Anglers Journal, Summer). Judge Gary Reich said of the winning entry, “I have never read such a deliciously crafted, accurate, and humorous story describing the lifecycle of someone with an angling affliction. I smiled through every single paragraph of this great fishing read.” Merit Award to “Raising Havoc” by Jim Hendricks (Sport Fishing, Oct.).

Ethics and Environment – presented by the BWI Membership

1st, “Thar She Blows” by Marty LeGrand (Chesapeake Bay, Dec.); 2nd, “Building Boats and Shaping Lives” by Mary South (Soundings, March); 3rd, “Long Way Home” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay, Sept.). “’Thar She Blows’ combines a mix of ingredients we all should strive for in our craft: Good information presented in an interesting and entertaining way, tied together by solid writing and thorough research,” said judge Lenny Rudow.

Technical Writing – sponsored by Dometic Marine

1st, “Taking Wing” by Peter Nielsen (Sail, May); 2nd, “The Floating Oasis as a Citadel” by Marilyn Mower (Megayachts 2015, Nov.); 3rd, “High Fiber Diet” by Roger Marshall (Megayachts, July). Judges said, “’Taking Wing’ took a complex subject and made it not only understandable but made me want to run out and buy a boat with a soft wing sail.” Merit: “Now You See It” by Ralph Naranjo (Cruising World, May); “Don’t Be Intimidated” by Frank Lanier (Sea, June); “Alternative Power: Outboards that Are Gasoline-Free” by Lenny Rudow (, April 19).

Drones & Contest Winners Fly in Miami

The traditional Friday morning gathering of writers, media supporters and wellwishers coupled to a newsy presentation and update from the marine electronics world is on tap for February 13, 2015 from 8 to 10 a.m. in rooms A 204-205 of the Convention Center.

Boating Media’s Dawn of Drones will include a panel of expert fliers from Miami Aerial Drones to demonstrate the newest drones, lessons learned and from the membership, and efforts to develop a code of conduct and ethics that drone users are developing in concert with the FAA.

For several years, friends at the National Marine Electronics Association have fed the ranks of hungry scribes as the breakfast sponsor and offered inside information on what’s going on in the world of marine electronics. This year will be no exception.

$17,000 will be presented to writers of over 50 boating and fishing focused stories, reports, how-tos, travelogues and blogs in print and on line judged by their peers as being the best in 2014. Another 60 journalists will be cited for Merit recognition for their creative efforts.

BWI’s annual meeting, awards ceremony and panel is open to all in the marine community and requires no ticket for admission.

Writing Contest Adds Photos, Videos

Boating Photography and Videos are being added to the Boating Writers International Writing Contest this year. Photography is a stand-alone category, while videos may be entered into the updated Online Expressions category. Electronics has been merged into a revised “Gear, Electronics & Product Tests” category. The Contest, which takes place in the last two months of the year and has a December 31 deadline for entries, will continue to have a total of 17 categories funded by BWI Supporting members. Last year’s contest attracted 131 participants submitting 337 entries. In addition to 51 cash awards totaling $17,000 — $500 for first place, $300 for second and $200 for third — Certificates of Merit are presented to writers who score within 95% of the third place awardees.

Details, category definitions and entering information for the contest are contained in a digital brochure which can be accessed through this link, The brochure and results of previous years’ contests, including links to the winning articles, posts, etc., can be found above by clicking on the “Contest” tab.

BWI members receive their first two entries for free; non-members may enter for $50 per entry. Entries are judged by BWI member journalists in the first weeks of the New Year. Contest announcement results and awards are presented during the BWI Annual Meeting at the Miami International Boat Show, February 13, 2015.