Boat Writing Contest Underway

BWI’s Annual Writing Contest is open for business with 17 categories funded and offering $17,000 in prize awards. Entering was simplified several years ago by uploading PDF files or URL links. All of the details are included in a brochure posted on this site under the Writing Contest tab ( The electronic entry form ( provides the process for slotting the entry, “doing the paperwork,” and handling member dues or entry fees. 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 a new one for “Boating Videos.” Several others have recently been redefined, including “Boating Photography,” “Environmental Awareness & Education,” and “Gear, Electronics and Product Tests.” Entries in all categories are welcome from digital-only or print sources (except Boating Videos). Category definitions are included in the contest brochure. Deadline for entries is December 31, 2016.

2016 marks the 24th year of the contest which recognizes the best marine writing in the world and presents cash awards to first- ($500), second- ($300) and third-place ($200) scorers in 17 categories. Presentation of awards will be made at the Miami International Boat Show during the BWI Annual Meeting in February 2017.

Each winner also receives a handsome recognition plaque noting “Excellence in creating compelling stories about the boating lifestyle through entertaining, educational and inspiring journalism.” Certificates of Merit are presented to every writer who scores within 95 percent of third-place winners in each category.

Ft. Lauderdale BWI Breakfast Social

Celebrating its 5th year, ZF Marine is again hosting the “best kept secret” of the Fort Lauderdale boat show for BWI members on Friday November 4. Marketing Manager Martin Meissner notes, “Come and join your fellow scribes in ZF Marine’s air conditioned tent for a European breakfast complete with all the trimmings, including Bavarian Weisswurst! Get into the show while things are still quiet, enjoy a great breakfast with fellow BWI members, and then hit the docks ready for your day.” Breakfast runs from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Friday November 4 at the ZF Marine booth – 1042, right beside the Engine Tent and just inside the South Gate entrance to the show at Bahia Mar. RSVP to

Marine Innovations Abound at Fall Trade Events

The two fall major business-to-business marine trade expositions provide special recognition for innovations and product quality by providing a stage for manufacturers and service providers to highlight what they recently introduced or will be bringing to market in the next model year. BWI members serve as judges to help select the most intriguing and useful offerings at these venues.

At the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX), Innovation Awards were announced in early October. The Awards honor achievement in product development in 13 areas of the marine industry. Alan Wendt and Zuzana Prochazka, co-chairs of the judging effort, noted two of the industry’s biggest growth categories, tow boats and pontoons, were well represented with products to enhance on water enjoyment and manufacturing processes.
This year’s award recipients included:
– Boatbuilding Methods & Materials: Banova, 3A Composites Baltek Inc.
– Deck Equipment & Hardware: Dual Winners – Roswell Marine, Triton Board Rack; T-H Marine Supplies, Snapflex LED Stern Navigation Light
– Furnishings & Interior Parts: Kenyon International Inc., Texan Grill
– Mechanical Systems: Xylem, Rule Bilge Pumps
– Electrical Systems: Mercury Marine, Electronic Steering Helm
– Inboard Engines: Volvo Penta, Easy Drain
– Outboard Engines: Honda Marine, BF6
– Propulsion Parts, Propellers: Mercury Marine, VesselView Mobile App
– Boat Care and Maintenance: Pettit Paint, SeaGold
– OEM Electronics: Dual Winners – Garmin USA, Fantom 6; Wet Sounds Inc., Syn-Dx 6-Dsp.
See a summary of the IBEX innovations in the BWI October newsletter or by visiting NMMA’s website.

The marine electronics industry honored manufacturers with product awards at the annual National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) International Marine Electronics Conference & Expo, held in September. Top products were named for both the Product of Excellence Awards and the Technology Award. NMEA members select the Product of Excellence Award winners through an on-line voting process. There were 16 product categories this year with recognition going to:
– Autopilot – Garmin GHP Reactor
– Satellite TV Antenna – KVH TracVision TV3
– Multi-Function Display – Garmin GPSMAP 8624
– AIS – Garmin AIS 600
– Radar – Furuno DRS4D-NXT
– NMEA 2000® Sensor – Actisense NGT-1
– Fish Finder – Garmin GSD 26
– Marine App-Aids to Navigation – Garmin BlueChart 2.0
– Marine VHF Radio – Icom IC-M506
– Marine App-Technical – Garmin Helm
– Satellite Communications Antenna – KVH TracPhone V3-IP
– Marine Camera – FLIR M618CS
– Underwater Lights – Lumishore EOS SMX152
– Multimedia Entertainment – Fusion AV750 Marine Stereo System
– Commercial – Furuno FAR2117 IMO Radar
– Safety & Security – ACR GlobalFIX V4 EPIRB
For NMEA’s Technology Award an independent five-person panel of judges including two BWI members selected Furuno’s DRS4D-NXT Doppler solid-state radar from among 10 nominated products. The annual award scores new products based on innovation, benefit to boaters, practicality, and value. An overview of the electronics awards are included in the BWI October newsletter and posted at NMEA’s website.

Innovations Barrage Repeats at IBEX

Rapid-fire presentations of approximately 20 new boating-related innovations will be on tap for a return engagement of “Pitch The Press” at this year’s International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX). The “Pitch” session is scheduled for 11 a.m. to noon on Wednesday October 5 in the second floor lounge area at the Tampa Convention Center. The concept was well received by media and participants last year: innovators have 2-minutes to explain their “new thing” and 1-minute to answer questions before the next pitch-person is given the stage.

The end result allows those with pre-screened intriguing new products or services opportunity to briefly explain what sets their innovation apart from others, gives boating writers a quick review to see what’s heading to the marketplace and alert their readers, and industry buyers a close look at items they may want to add to their distribution chain … all in an hour. Emceeing this year will be BWI Director and 2nd V.P. Alan Jones.

Organized by IBEX and Boating Writers International, participants are drawn from IBEX exhibitors by the BWI Innovation Award judges and other “industry insiders,” who walk the floor looking for items and products, etc. that are new, or unique or stand out in a crowded field. Those selected are not necessarily earlier recipients of IBEX Innovation Awards. There is no cost to participate or present or for interested media.

IBEX, which has a mission statement of “Where Better Boats Begin” (, is described as the marine industry’s largest technical trade event, owned and produced by Professional BoatBuilder ( magazine and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), and annually gathers thousands of industry professionals. It will offer over 80 education sessions at the upcoming event taking place October 4 through 6 at the Tampa Convention Center.

To obtain a press badge for IBEX, working members of the editorial media may register in advance by contacting Amy Riemer ( Those approved will have credentials available for pick up at the show.

New BWI Officers & Directors

BWI members have elected two new Directors and re-elected another and its Board elected three Officers. The new Directors, who serve three-year terms, are Chris Woodward, Editor of Sport Fishing Magazine and Charlie Levine, Editor & Publisher of and Re-elected a Director was Michael Sciulla, a Soundings Trade Only columnist and communications strategist.

Officers elected to one-year terms are Dominion Marine Media Senior Editor Lenny Rudow, President; Director of Communications for West Marine Lindsey Johnson, 1st Vice President; and Writer & Videographer Alan Jones, 2nd Vice President.

– Rudow has been a writer and editor in the marine field and fishing journalist for over two decades, authored six books, gained numerous BWI writing awards and previously served BWI as a Director and 1st Vice President.

– Johnson is a long-time member of BWI, has served as chair of the BWI Writing Contest Committee for nine years and as 2nd Vice President. Before joining West Marine recently, she was Editor of Lakeland Boating Magazine.

– Jones is a full-time writer and editor for Boating World Magazine and contributing editor for Sea Magazine.

– 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.

– Woodward joined the Sport Fishing magazine team as Editor in 2001, after stints as a newspaper and online journalist. She has served on a Georgia boating advisory panel and advisory panel chair for the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

Continuing as Directors are: Immediate Past President Alan Wendt, a freelance writer and communication agency executive; Zuzana Prochazka, editor of Talk of the Dock and freelance writer for a number of boating magazines and online venues; and Michael Vatalaro, Executive Editor of BoatU.S. Magazine including the Practical Boater section and annual Trailering Guide. BWI Executive Director Greg Proteau serves as secretary/treasurer of the board.

Digital’s Influence on Journalists

A panel discussion in Miami focused on “How the Digital Revolution Has Changed What Editors Want From Freelancers and Marketers,” examining how the proliferation of media platforms has changed the editorial marketplace and what editors now expect. A joint effort with colleagues from Marine Marketers of America, BWI and MMA Director Michael Sciulla moderated a group of editors, freelancers and marketers including: Kevin Falvey, Editor-in-Chief, Boating magazine; Marilyn Mower, Editorial Director-USA at Boat International Media; David Pilvelait, COO of Home Port Marketing; Jim Rhodes, President/CEO of Rhodes Communications; and Bill Sisson, Editor-in-Chief, Soundings Publications.

Comments made by the speakers included:

– Writers and publicists must work harder to gain the attention of editors as the outlets for media multiply;

– Targeting publications’ interests and audiences are more important than ever, and maintaining personal contact with editors still counts a great deal;

– Editors are being pulled in various directions depending on the platforms they are using to deliver their reporting, and they must be fast and comprehensive when necessary;

– Videos are important in telling the story, but they should often be short and concise, especially when pitching stories;

– When pitching via email, sharpen subject lines and underscore the benefits of thw writing for the publication and its audience.

The session was reported by Jim Flannery in Soundings Trade Only. To read his report, go to

Co-sponsors for the breakfast meeting and panel were National Marine Electronics Association and Freedom Boat Club. NMMA Boat Shows arranged to make the meeting space available and assisted with logistics.

Award Top 2015 Boating Stories

Boating and fishing journalists were recognized during the Miami Boat Show in an annual writing contest 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.”

In its 23rd year, the BWI contest attracted 127 participants submitting 322 entries. In addition to cash awards, Certificates of Merit were presented to writers of another 45 articles which scored within 95 percent of third-place tallies in each category. All submissions to the contest were published in 2015. 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 (First- to third-place awards are linked):

Boating Travel or Destinations – sponsored by Martin Flory Group

1st place, “Hung Up on Hongs” by Fatty Goodlander (Cruising World, Nov.); 2nd place, “An Accidental Paradise” by Ben Zartman (Cruising World, May); 3rd place, “Is It Windy, No?” by Herb McCormick (Cruising World, Aug.). Of the first place entry judge Mike Sciulla said, “The author transforms a journey to and through Thailand’s watery caves – literally pools located inside an island – into a richly nuanced meaning of life tale. At the heart of this piece is a thoughtful story about friendship, hardship and the joys of chucking it all replete with a masterful use of the English language and some great photography.” Certificate of Merit Awards: “Into Antarctica” by Kim Kavin (Yachting, Aug); “Seeking Higher Ground” by Darrell Nicholson (Cruising World, June); “This Must Be the Place” by Jody Argo Schroath (Chesapeake Bay, April); “Haida Gwaii: The Best of Canada’s Pacific Northwest” by Stephen Blakely (Soundings, March); “Back From Extinction” by Janet Hein (Classic Boat, Nov.).

Fishing – sponsored by Suzuki Motor Corporation

1st, “Hired Hands” by Zach Harvey (Anglers Journal, Spring); 2nd, “A Way Home” by Bill Pike (Anglers Journal, Winter); 3rd, “Northern Gravity” by John Jinishian (Anglers Journal, Summer). Judge Jennifer Chesak said “The author of ‘Hired Hands’ takes the nagging injuries a working fisherman sustains and turns them into beautiful imagery. The prose of this short piece evokes the passion, commitment, and grit it takes to make a living this way, and why some folks wouldn’t dream of doing anything else.” Merit Awards to “Catch ‘em up, Boys” by Bill Sisson (Anglers Journal, Fall); “The Thump” by Arnold Markowitz (Anglers Journal, Summer); “Fishing For The Table” by C.J. Chivers (Anglers Journal, Fall); “Can Congress Finally Get It Right For Recreational Fishing?” by Ryck Lydecker (BoatUS Magazine, April); “Does Your Boat Freak the Fish” by Lenny Rudow (BoatUS Magazine, April); “A Bay Runs Through It” by Gary Reich (Chesapeake Bay, April); “Atlantic Canyon Runners” by Vincent Daniello (Sport Fishing, March).

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

1st place: “Tricks of the Trade” by Ron Ballanti (Anglers Journal, Winter); 2nd, “The Halo Effect” by David Schmidt (Yachting, Aug.); 3rd, “Single vs. Twins” by John Page Williams (Boating, Oct.). Judge Kim Kavin said, “The Gear category had a lot of great writing and innovative ideas for covering the subject matter … ‘Tricks of the Trade’ taught us all something new and interesting about using radar to catch more fish.” Merit certificates: “The Quiet Revolution” by Michael Vatalaro (BoatUS Magazine, Aug.); “Peripheral Vision” by Lenny Rudow (, June 21); “Joy(Sticks) to the World” by Chris Caswell (Sea, March); “Hooked on Networks” by Nigel Calder (Professional Boatbuilder, Aug.); “Simrad’s Halo Radar” by Bill Bishop (Practical Sailor, Oct.); “Getting Connected” by Green Brett (Cruising World, May); “The Battle in the Bay” by Alan Jones (Boating World, March).

Boating Columns – sponsored by KVH Industries, Inc.

1st, “Between Fish” by Bill Sisson (Anglers Journal); 2nd, “Editor’s Letter” by Patrick Sciacca (Yachting); 3rd“Off Watch” by Herb McCormick (Cruising World). Judge Frank Sargeant described the first place entry as, “Masterful, poetic writing along with an obvious level of angling expertise. Nearly every line requires a closer look, evokes a feeling or an image. These columns make you think, ‘Damn, I wish I could write like that!’” Certificates of Merit: “On Watch” by Fatty Goodlander (Cruising World); “Weather Eye” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay); “Jody’s Log” by Jody Argo Schroath (Chesapeake Bay); “Under Way” by Mary South (Soundings).

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

1st, “Dead in the Water” by Edward Zacko (Good Old Boat, Jan.); 2nd, “Eyes on the Rode (and More)” by Frank Lanier (Sea, Jan.); 3rd, “Captain Frank’s Seachest of Horrors” by Frank Lanier (BoatUS Magazine, Feb.). Glenn Hayes explains the first place entry, “Grabs your attention right away and takes you to a place you don’t want to be, then explains how not to get there in a captivating and educational manner despite its technical nature.” Merit Awards to: “What’s In a Name” by Dennis Mullen (Multihull Sailor, Sept.); “Slip ‘n’ Slide” by Ralph Naranjo (Cruising World, April); “Make an Old Outboard Engine New Again” by Charles Plueddeman (, Sept.25); “Spin Doctors” by Vincent Daniello (Boating, May).

Boat Tests & Reviews – sponsored by Volvo Penta

1st, “Concept Craft?” by George Sass, Sr. (PassageMaker Magazine, May); 2nd, “Moonen 100’ Explorer” by Judy Waldman, (, Jan. 28); 3rd, “Cape Dory Typhoon” by Wayne Canning (Good Old Boat, July). Judge Carol Pierini offers that “Concept Craft” “was superbly written and very well balanced … an amazing job of laying out what [the builders] are doing to design and plan for the future. Details in this article are exciting and boaters will learn a tremendous amount … it promises a positive outcome for this vessel, but considers the cautions of this research.”

Boating Profiles – sponsored by ZF Marine

1st, “Here Be Dragons” by Kevin Koenig (Anglers Journal, July); 2nd, “Voyages of a Forgotten Hero” by Thies Matzen (Cruising World, Jan.); 3rd, “Farr Out!” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay, Oct.). Of the first place entry judge Darrell Nicholson wrote: “This humorous, insightful account of a fishing trip with the legendary basketball coach Bob Knight tells us as much about human nature and the challenges of being a journalist as it does about the fascinating subject of the profile. Weaving Knight’s oversized character with detailed descriptions of the islands and the pursuit, the story leaves the reader with a gnawing desire to know what happens next.” Merit Award to “The Gospel According to Jim” by Chris Dombrowski (Anglers Journal, Oct.).

The Business of Boating – sponsored by Home Port Marine Marketing

1st, “Bracing for Life Without Boomers” by Reagan Haynes (Soundings Trade Only, June); 2nd, “The Storm That Won’t Go Away” by Richard Armstrong (Soundings Trade Only, Oct.); 3rd, “Building Profits Through Export” by Craig Ritchie (Boating Industry, Jan.). “Boomers,” says judge Gary Beckett, is “a well-researched and well-written business story; drawn from the insights of a variety of quality sources, that exemplifies the type or reporting we like to see. It examines in detail an important and highly topical marketing issue and explains how industry professionals are reaching out to boaters in overlooked user demographics.” Merit Awards: “It’s All About Sharing” by Michael Sciulla (Soundings Trade Only, Aug.); “The Joys of Boat Loanership” by Pete McDonald (Boating, Feb.); “Sail Freight Experiences a Rebirth” by Jim Flannery (Soundings, Sept.); “To the Ends of the Earth” by Chris Caswell (Yachts International, Dec.).

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

1st, “Turf to Surf” by Tasha Hacker; 2nd, “WaveTrain: A Blog About Cruising Sailboats and Other Aquatic Miracles” by Charles Doane; 3rd, “Got Bait? – Marsh Island Mayhem” by Lenny Rudow (on Judge Craig Ritchie described “Turf to Surf” as, “Outstanding work – well written, highly engaging, with strong production values in a cleanly designed package. The writing is crisp, the subject matter interesting … fully leveraging the strengths of its medium.” Certificates of Merit: “Pedestal Steering Maintenance” by Wayne Canning for Ocean Navigator magazine on YouTube; and “Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub” by Ben Ellison.

Technical Writing – sponsored by Dometic Marine

1st, “Let’s Go Foiling” by Roger Marshall (Megayachts, Nov.); 2nd, “Captain Boyle and the Messerschmitt” by Jan Adkins (Chesapeake Bay, Jan.); 3rd, “Bathymetric Break-Out” by Lenny Rudow (BoatUS Magazine, June). Judge Jim Rhodes said “Foiling” is, “Good, solid technical writing. A thorough and clear explanation of a complex subject, written in a straightforward and readable expository style that does not get in the way.” Merit: “AIS for the Rest of Us” by Edward Zacko (Good Old Boat, July).

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

1st, “Helicopter Rescue” by Chris Caswell (Dockwalk, Jan.); 2nd, “A Cry In The Dark” by Bill Band (Chesapeake Bay, Oct.); 3rd, “The Ship’s Log” by Edward Zacko (Good Old Boat, Nov.). “Clear, nicely articulated instructions on preparing for an airlift …well researched,” said judge Louisa Beckett about the first place entry. Certificates of Merit: “Anchor Like a Voyager” by Mike Litzow (Cruising World, Nov.); “Hell or High Water” by Daniel Harding (Power & Motoryacht, Sept.).

Boating Adventures – sponsored by Yamaha Marine Group

1st, “Frontier Foray” by David Schmidt (Sailing World, Sept.); 2nd, “Our Life on the Water” by Diane Selkirk (Saturday Evening Post, March); 3rd, “Pioneers of the Amazon” by Shaw McCutcheon (Showboats, Sept.). “Frontier,” says judge Bob Duthie, is “An exciting account of a small boat race through some of the most beautiful yet dangerous waters in North America. This well written story really brings the adventure to life.” Merit: “Seven Days in the Faroes” by Nigel Calder (Yachting Monthly, July); “The Big Blue Show” by Bill Mitman (Chesapeake Bay, June); “The (Not So) Great Circle Route” by Herb McCormick (Cruising World, Oct.); “The Best Yet” by Elaine Lembo (Cruising World, March); “From Fallujah to Fiji” by Ronnie Simpson (Cruising World, Nov.); “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by Nadine Slavinski (Ocean Navigator, Sept.).

Boating Lifestyles – sponsored by Discover Boating

1st, “The Transition” by Lin Pardey (Cruising World, Oct.); 2nd, “Very Big Passages, Very Little Kids” by Mike Litzow (Cruising World, May); 3rd, “Pat and the Rat” by Doug Logan (, Feb.19). Of the first place entry, judge Charles Fort said, “A bittersweet story that everyone who’s ever been In love with a boat will face when it comes time to find a new owner for her.”

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

1st, “Never Wax Your Boat Again” by Kevin Falvey (Boating, Nov.); 2nd, “Malahne” by Marilyn Mower (Refit Annual, Nov.); 3rd, “Saving Mariposa” by Mickey Raup (Chesapeake Bay, Aug.). “The author of ‘Never Wax’ manages to make a description of serious grunt work informative, educational and entertaining,” noted judge Roger McAfee.

Boating Issues, News and Analysis – sponsored by Mercury Marine

1st, “Florida’s Aging Bridges” by Kim Kavin (Yachts International, Dec.); 2nd, “All Hail the Green Machine” by Vincent Daniello (Boating, April); 3rd, “Sophisticated Lady” by Jan Adkins (Chesapeake Bay, July). “The ‘Bridges’ piece was well reported, well sourced, well researched, and delivered comprehensive information about the subject in an authoritative voice,” said judge Chris Landry.  Merit: “Virtual Navigation is Here” by Ryck Lydecker (BoatUS Magazine, Aug.); “For Want of a Working Waterfront” by Marty LeGrand (Chesapeake Bay, May).

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.