Best Boating Journalism Recognized for 25th Year

Boating and fishing journalists were recognized at the start of the 2018 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 Silver Anniversary year, the BWI contest attracted 126 participants submitting 277 entries. In addition to cash awards, Certificates of Merit were presented to writers of another 35 articles which scored within 95 percent of third-place tallies in each category. All submissions to the contest were published in 2017. 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 (with links provided for the top three entries in each category):

Boating Photography – sponsored by Freedom Boat Club
1st, “Just Scraping By” by Jay Fleming (Anglers Journal, Winter); 2nd, “Alligator Reef” by Robert Glover (Power & Motoryacht, March); 3rd, “The Seasoned Skipper” by Brady Kay (Pontoon & Deck Boat Magazine, March). “Fleming’s images tell a powerful story, from onboard and underwater shots, to scenes of working boats taken from removed vantage points, to the eye-catching portrait work that helps to describe and define the characters in the article’s written word,” explains judge David Schmidt. Certificates of Merit: “Fishing Rods” (cover photo) by Jody Dole (Anglers Journal, Fall); and “Near Miss Moment” by Jan Hein (Classic Boat, July).

Fishing – sponsored by Suzuki Motor Corporation
1st, “The Bay’s Tastiest Pastime” by Gary Reich (Chesapeake Bay Magazine, June); 2nd, “Noise Factor” by Jim Hendricks (Sport Fishing, Jan.); 3rd, “Uber Fish” by Doug Olander (Sport Fishing, Nov.). Says judge Alan Jones, “Reich takes us on an insider view of the world of recreational crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay and skillfully passes on local knowledge – gleaned over a lifetime – to help the reader successfully participate in this not-so-deadly catch.” Merit Awards: “Natural Attraction” by Barry Gibson (Anglers Journal, Summer); “Fight Them Fast” by Jan Fogt (Anglers Journal, Spring); “Contact Sport” by Gary Caputi (Anglers Journal, Summer).

Boat/Engine Care and Maintenance – sponsored by Pettit Paint
1st, “10 Winterizing Disasters: Don’t Do This” by Lenny Rudow (FishTalk Magazine, Nov.); 2nd, “Spin Science” by Vince Daniello (Boating, Feb.); 3rd, “The One-bucket Cleaning Kit” by Drew Frye (Practical Sailor, May). Commenting on “Winterizing, judge Zuzana Prochazka noted, “It’s nice to see the same old subject get a fresh new read.” Certificates of Merit: “Spring Commissioning Advice” by Frank Lanier (BoatUS Magazine, April); “Driven to Vigilance” by Ed Sherman (Cruising World, July); “Flushed With Success” by Mark Corke (BoatUS Magazine, April); “Shore Power Burn” by Tom Hale (Chesapeake Bay, May).

Boat Tests & Reviews – sponsored by Volvo Penta
1st, “Diving Into the Endeavor 42” by Darrell Nicholson (Practical Sailor, Feb.); 2nd, “Working Tough” by John Page Williams (Boating, Nov.); 3rd, “Return of the Beast” by Alan Jones (Boating World, May). Nicholson’s used boat review, “Presents the pros and cons of the design, and even explains how to approach the model’s most common repair needs. And it’s a rare review that will make you laugh hard and teach you something else to look for in the process,” said judge Ben Ellison. Merit Awards to: “Mas Appeal” by Marilyn Mower (Boat International, Nov.); “Not Your Father’s Grand Banks” by Kevin Koenig (Yachting, Nov.); “Pursuit of Passion” by Daniel Harding (Power & Motoryacht, Aug.).

Boating Columns – sponsored by KVH Industries, Inc.
1st, “Between Fish” by Bill Sisson (Anglers Journal); 2nd, “Logbook” by Daniel Harding (Power & Motoryacht); 3rd, “Notes from the Cockpit” by Lenny Rudow (FishTalk Magazine). Judge John Wooldridge quoted Ernest Hemingway’s “prose is architecture, not interior decoration,” to describe Sisson’s writing: “Like a modern structure, he builds his work on solid footings, satisfies the spatial needs of its occupants, and furnishes it liberally with glass walls for clear views looking inside and outside one’s imagination.”

Boating Issues, News and Analysis – sponsored by Mercury Marine
1st, “The Trump Card” by Carol Cronin (Seahorse Magazine, Oct.); 2nd, “Hard Lessons” by Bill Pike (Power & Motoryacht, Dec.); 3rd, “Salvaging Boats as Life Goes On” by Reagan Haynes (Soundings Trade Only, Nov.). The first place award offers, “A lesson all elected leaders or politicians should be required to read before running for office, after their election, and before going to bed each night. Delightful honesty while showing the sailing community there is a steady hand on the tiller,” noted judge Alan Wendt. Merit Awards to “Voice Forensics May Help Nab Hoax Mayday Callers” by Kim Kavin (Soundings, Dec.) and “Auction Kings” by Ann Eichenmuller (Chesapeake Bay, May).

Boat Projects, Renovations & Retrofits – sponsored by Pettit Paint
1st, “A New Head” by Peter Nielsen (Sail, Dec.); 2nd, “A Change of Rig” by Roger Hughes (Practical Boat Owner – UK, Aug.); 3rd, “New and Cool Underfoot” by Terry Kotas (Good Old Boat, Jan.). “Replacing your head is far from a glamour job, but Nielsen makes the process a lot easier in this thorough, well-researched and easy to follow story. Subheads such as ‘advantages’ and ‘disadvantages’ (and others) help crystalize key decisions in the process of choosing and installing a new head,” offered judge Bill Sisson. Merit Award to “Long Live Wasque” by Steve Knauth (Soundings, Sept.).

Gear, Electronics & Product Tests – sponsored by Xantrex/Schneider Electric
1st, “Bottom Paint Checkup” by Darrell Nicholson (Practical Sailor, April); 2nd, “Lessons Learned by Causing a False AIS MOB Alert” by Ben Ellison (, Aug. 8); 3rd, “Garmin inReach Explorer+, Armchair Transatlantics & Hands On” by Ben Ellison (, July 2). Judge Kim Kavin said, “Checkup was a well-thought-out, thoroughly reported, smartly put-together feature that not only educates readers about various kinds of paint, but also leaves them armed with a customized shopping list for their own boat, no matter what kind of cruising they do.” Merit Awards to: “Conductive Greases vs. Corrosion” by Drew Frye (Practical Sailor, June); and “V-Drive vs. Forward Drive” by Jeff Hemmel (Boating, Jan.).

Boating Lifestyles – sponsored by Discover Boating
1st, “The Boy & His Raft” by Jeff Bolster (Soundings, Aug.); 2nd, “Into the Quiet” by David Buckman (Sail, June); 3rd, “Family Ties” by Bob Arrington (PassageMaker, Jan.). Says judge Betsy Haggerty of the first place piece, “The author combines poetic description and poignant detail to tell the story of a quiet sailing day and the family dynamics that turned it into a magical adventure.” Certificates of Merit: “Beyond Wind and Water” by Dieter Loibner (Soundings, March); “School is in (Surf) Session” by Pete McDonald (Boating, June); and “Catboat Postcards” by Craig Moodie (Good Old Boat, May).

Boating Profiles – sponsored by ZF Marine
1st, “A Madman In a League of His Own” by Dieter Loibner (Soundings, Feb.); 2nd, “Monster Man” by Ron Ballanti (Anglers Journal, April); 3rd, “Against All Odds” by Dieter Loibner (Sail, Dec.). Judge Steve Blakely called the winning article, “A vivid portrait of an extreme character even by the standards of extreme sailing.” Merit Award to “The Story of Gar Wood” by Heather Steinberger (Lakeland Boating, April).

Boating Adventures – sponsored by Yamaha Marine Group
1st, “Chasing Icebergs” by Tom Zydler (Cruising World, April); 2nd, “Rite of Inside Passage” by Dieter Loibner (Soundings, Sept.); 3rd, “First Time with a Frenchman” by Annie Dike (Multihull Sailor, May). Judge Bob Arrington described “Icebergs” as, “A beautifully detailed account of a once-in-a-lifetime cruise along the western coast of Greenland. A true adventure!” Certificates of Merit: “Cakewalk to Nova Scotia” by Adam Cort (Sail, Nov.) and “Because it’s There” by Simon Murray (Power & Motoryacht, June).

Environmental Awareness & Education – sponsored by Torqeedo, Inc.
1st, “Lone Cedar Tree Opposite Shore” by Marty LeGrand (Chesapeake Bay, Nov.); 2nd, “Fishing for an Enigma” by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay, Jan.); 3rd, “Bitter Soup” by Stacey Wigmore (BoatUS Magazine, Aug.). The top selection, “Is a wonderful story about the history and science behind mapping the Eastern oyster, the Chesapeake’s most important filter feeder,” says Judge Gary Reich. “Oyster surveying is potentially boring, but the author colored the story in such a way to make it an easy and entertaining read.” Merit Awards: “Whales Return to the Big Apple” by Kim Kavin (Soundings, Nov.) and “Weapons of Mass Construction” by Lenny Rudow (FishTalk Magazine, Nov.).

Seamanship, Rescue & Safety – sponsored by Sea Tow Services International
1st, “Take It Slow” by Gary Goodlander (Cruising World, Nov.); 2nd, “Hypothermia Myths and the Truth About Cold Water” by Mario Vittone (Soundings, Oct.); 3rd, “When the Call Came” by Kim Kavin (Yachting, April). Goodlander’s piece was described by judge Jim Rhodes as, “Reader-friendly boating journalism at its best, drawing on personal experience and subject-matter knowledge to tackle a complex topic. It delivers in a conversational style punctuated with humorous anecdotes adding up to a rollicking good read.” Merit Awards: “Aground: When There is No Coast Guard” by Diane Selkirk (Yachting Times, March); “Know What to Do Before the Flood” by Dan Parrott (Soundings, Nov.); “A Small Boat For the Big Emergency” by Heather Francis (Cruising World, Nov.).

Technical Writing – sponsored by Dometic Marine
1st, “Sanitation System Shutdown: 10 Things to Know” by Frank Lanier (Sea Magazine, Oct.); 2nd, “The New Frontier” by Charles Doane (Sail, April); 3rd, “Computer-Assisted Groundings?” by Ben Ellison (, Dec. 7). Judge Mike Smith said, “Sanitation Shutdown was a surprise since it addresses such a mundane topic. We’ve all written that article many times; however, the author did a good job of covering it once again.” Merit Awards: “How Did We Get from This . . . To This?” by Ralph Naranjo (Practical Sailor, March); “Cape Effect” by Fiona McGlynn (Pacific Yachting, Oct.).

Boating Travel or Destinations – sponsored by the BWI Membership
1st, “Black Sands & Black Magic, Vanuatu by Sail” by Heather Francis (Cruising Helmsman, Oct.); 2nd, “Rum Runners” by Mark Pillsbury (Cruising World, Aug.); 3rd, “54 Days of Rain” by Paula Casanovas (Soundings, Feb.). The first award was described by judge Gary Beckett as, “A compelling, detailed and at times riveting first-hand account of the writer’s adventures cruising waters of the Vanuatu Islands chain.” Merit Awards: “We Done Reach” by Robert Beringer (Sail, Oct.); “Fancy Dancing in Pine Island” by Douglas Bernon (BoatUS Magazine, Feb.); “Greenland High” by Tom Zydler (PassageMaker, Oct.).

Boating Videos – sponsored by Boat Owners Association of the U.S.
1st, “Crestliner 240 Rally DX: Video Boat Review” by Ed Kukla (, Aug. 20); 2nd, “How to Repair Gelcoat” by Mark Corke (BoatUS Video, Nov. 12); 3rd, “Boston Whaler 330 Outrage: Video Boat Review” by Lenny Rudow (, April 27). The first place award, “Blended a sense of humor with detailed reporting and editorial insight by the narrator and top-notch video and audio editing by the videographer. It was a fun visual ride,” offered judge Chris Woodward. Certificates of Merit awarded to: “How to Choose a Life Jacket” by Paul Cronin (BoatUS Video, Dec. 15); “How to Back a Boat Trailer” by Rich Armstrong, (BoatUS Video, May 2); and “How to Change the Engine Oil in Your Boat” by Charles Fort (BoatUS Video, July 3).

The Business of Boating – sponsored by Home Port Global
First, “Where Are All the Young Boaters?” by Fiona McGlynn, (BoatUS Magazine, Oct); Second, “Multi Country” by Peter Nielsen (Multihull Sailor, Sept.); Third, “Total Connectivity” by Zuzana Prochazka (Marine Electronics Journal, Sept.). Says judge Kimberly Koditek, “In ‘Where Are All the Young Boaters?’ the personal connection to the author’s life, its timeliness and relevance to the industry as a whole, truly took on a unique approach in examining this important topic.”

Summer Boating Season Resources

Boaters and anglers in “endless summer” locations may know no boating season, but many on-water aficionados often mark their first launch with the U.S.’s Memorial Day. At that same time, boating safety organizations and advocates across the U.S. and Canada team up to promote safe and responsible boating, including consistent life jacket wear every time boaters are on the water. These groups spread life-saving messages with a yearlong outreach to promote voluntary, consistent life jacket wear.

Access to water-based activities is a priority for outdoor recreationists, whether they are spending free time near home or on vacation. Discover Boating resources suggest great getaways are a boat trip away with ways to get out on the water even for those who don’t own a boat: Rentals, charters and peer-to-peer options offer opportunities to enjoy boating. To find those options, visit

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation compiles an annual list of Best Family-Friendly Places to Fish and Boat, a collection of publicly accessible gems. These aquatic resources can be found at An interactive map shows where those who want to wet a line can do so near or away from home.

Wearing a life jacket is the simplest life-saving strategy for safe recreational boating. Each year hundreds of people lose their lives, and they may have survived by wearing a life jacket. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2015, and that 85 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. Additional statistics can be found at

New life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the dated bulky orange styles. There are innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets, allowing mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting, and are much cooler in the warmer weather. Find more detail at

In addition to consistent life jacket wear, boating sober, knowing navigational rules and having a proper lookout are life-saving practices. National Safe Boating Council partners ( host local events, teach classes, offer on-water training, distribute educational materials, and perform free vessel safety checks.

For the media, BoatBeat/Media Toolkit is a national online resource that provides recreational boating information, state and federal resources, and numerous other media assets in one location. Issues and tips are provided for lifevests, boating under the influence, emergency locator beacons, engine cutoff switches, safe boating courses, vessel safety checks and more. It’s a collaborative effort with support from the National Safe Boating Council, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Access the resources at

Scholarship Program Underway

BWI has launched a new Scholarship Program designed to help young men and women enter the exciting world of boating journalism. Plans are to have the program in place and ready to unveil to members and the boating industry during the 2018 Miami Boat Show Annual BWI meeting.

Long-time Ohio-based boating/outdoor journalist and BWI member Dan Armitage offered to spearhead the effort calling on his familiarity with a successful scholarship program offered by the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA). Among others that are joining the effort are Robert Beringer, who has worked with universities and dealt with scholarships before, and Ron Ballanti who brings experience in public relations and marketing communications to help spread the word about the program.

Says Ballanti, “This is not only a great opportunity for positive exposure among boating writers and the marine industry, but also a chance to help shape tomorrow’s boating writers. We are also setting up the necessary infrastructure to allow other Supporting Members to sponsor the scholarship program on different levels and encourage individual Active and Associate Members to contribute as well.”

For more information or to join the effort, contact Dan Armitage at or BWI Headquarters.

3 Directors Re-Elected, 1 Appointed

BWI members have re-elected three Directors and its Board appointed a new Director to fill a vacancy. The returning Directors, who serve three-year terms, are: Alan Jones, editor for Boating World Magazine; Zuzana Prochazka, a freelance writer and photographer who contributes to a number of boating titles; and Lindsey Johnson, Director of Communications for West Marine.

The Board voted to appoint Gary Reich to fill a Director vacancy. Reich is a Chesapeake Bay-based freelance writer, editor, and photographer who has worked in marine for more than 25 years, the last 15 in publishing where his writing and photography regularly appear in several periodicals and online. The vacancy was created by the departure of Michael Vatalaro of Boat/US who recently changed jobs in the consumer organization and was recognized for his service to BWI.

Officers elected by the Board to one-year terms are Boats Group Senior Editor Lenny Rudow, President; Alan Jones, 1st Vice President; and Editor/Publisher of, Charlie Levine, 2nd Vice President.

Continuing as Directors are: Immediate Past President Alan Wendt, a freelance writer and communication agency executive; Chris Woodward, Editor of Sport Fishing Magazine; and Michael Sciulla, a Soundings Trade Only columnist and communications strategist. BWI Executive Director Greg Proteau serves as secretary/treasurer of the board.

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

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.

Summer’s Boating Promise, Cautions

As spring turns to summer across the entire U.S. and Canadian boating landscape, boat owners are all-in for the traditional pursuits of cruising, fishing, sailing, skiing/tubing, paddling, etc. on nearby and travel-related rivers, lakes and offshore. The resources for getting the best ROI on the boating investment, whether it’s from ownership, time-sharing, clubbing, chartering, or rentals are abundant on the internet, from organizations both public and private.

Two robust websites that cover the waterfront are Discover Boating ( and Take Me Fishing ( The first offers extensive boating information, stories of families and individuals who share their experience on-water, and links to resources including instruction, a guide to choosing, owning and operating boats, reviews of popular boating destinations and more. The fishing focused website helps anglers and boaters of all ages and experience levels learn, plan and equip for a successful day on the water featuring how-to videos, state fishing license and boat registration information and links, and an interactive map that allows visitors to find local fishing and boating spots and launching sites.

For any boating outing, it’s best to have a plan and an understanding of how to insure fun and safe outcomes. The U.S. Coast Guard ( is the nation’s go-to source of information of recommended boating practices and statistics which highlight preparation for pleasant experiences, such as life jacket wear. To help draw public attention to the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators campaigns each summer in partnership with the Coast Guard on “Operation Dry Water” (at

Tubing Safety Shown in Video

A new Inflatables Safety Video, produced by the WSIA (Water Sports Industry Association), features important updates regarding safely using inflatables as a part of water sport activities such as tubing. The video speaks directly to consumers, putting the viewer in the driver’s seat and encourages everyone to enjoy a fun and safe day on the water.

The video was produced with help from The Emily Catherine Fedorko Foundation (ECFF), a family foundation that provides funding to spread education, advocacy and awareness of boating and water sport safety for adults and children. It was established after Emily’s death in 2014 in response to a tubing accident that might have been preventable. ECFF hopes to educate teens and adults about safe boating practices and help advocate for additional training, specifically for tubing and other water sport activities.

Fedorko, 16, was killed while being towed on a tube in Long Island Sound off Greenwich Point. A new Connecticut law which passed last year will make it illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to operate a boat towing a tuber or water skier and require any boat operator to complete a safety course on safe towing. “We did not want in any way to discourage or impede the ability of people to enjoy boating,” Emily’s father, Joe Fedorko, told the Greenwich Times, “Rather, we wanted to encourage having fun in the water with further safety requirements.”

Access the video here: