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10 boat products cited for innovation

A personal locator beacon for less than $300, chart-plotting software for the iPhone and an eco-friendly fuel primer bulb — those were a few of the products recognized for innovation by boating journalists at the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show in Orlando, Fla.

A seven-judge panel chose products that are innovative, benefit the industry and/or consumer, are practical and cost-effective, and will be available to the consumer within 60 days after the July 15-17 show.

One product was singled out as winner in each of 10 categories. The judges also handed out four honorable mention awards.

MAATS is the only U.S. trade show dedicated to the marine aftermarket. Here are the winners of the Innovation Awards in the various categories.

Safety products: McMurdo’s Fast-Find 210 personal locator beacon took home first prize. “McMurdo puts a high performance PLB within the budget of even the casual boater,” says judge Ben Ellison, senior electronics editor for Bonnier Marine Group and editor of the Panbo Marine Electronics blog. The size of a cell phone, the 210 is equipped with a 50-channel GPS and an integrated strobe. Price: $299.

Electronics: Judges selected Navionics’ Mobile 2.0 chart plotter software for the iPhone. It brings a wealth of information to the palm of your hand at a price starting as low as $5, according to the judges. “It’s the coolest app boaters will find on iTunes,” says judge David Seidman, Boating magazine editor at large. Price: Starts at $5.

Propulsion, parts and propellers: An environmentally friendly fuel primer bulb earned the award in this category. The P3 Palm Pump Fuel Primer by BluSkies International is an ergonomic and imaginative solution to replace the traditional rubber squeeze bulb, say the judges. “It’s the first fuel primer that will satisfy the 2011 EPA mandate for low permeation,” says judge Alan Wendt, editor of Marine CEO magazine. Price: $34.

Boat care, coatings, chemicals and maintenance tools: Judges gave the prize to the Dual Action Polisher by Shurhold, a random orbital polisher that delivers a professional finish without damage or swirling, according to the judges. “It puts the results of a professional detailer in the hands of a do-it-yourselfer,” says judge Wendt. Price: $149.98.

Electrical systems and equipment: Rule Charge N’ Flow Portable Pump Kit by ITT, a versatile small pump for washdowns, emergency uses and diesel fuel transfers. “With three sources of power and a price point of $120, this is a neat, compact and versatile pump which will have a number of uses on and off the boat,” says judge Robert Buller, equipment editor of Pacific Yachting magazine. Price: $120.

Deck equipment: Smarte Jack is a product that makes deploying and retrieving a boat lift a one-person operation. “A well-engineered and thought-out design that makes a cumbersome job easy,” says judge Ben Ellison. Price: $345. (651) 462-2513

Interior parts and equipment: PulseCode Lock by MasterLock Co., an access management technology designed to retrofit Euro profile cylinder lock applications that uses an encrypted code and requires no wiring. “It’s an excellent tool to provide selective access and security to any vessel, home or business,” says judge Frank Lanier, a contributor to several boating magazines. Price: $499.

Personal gear and soft goods: Nanuk by Plasticase Inc., a hard-shell, waterproof case (16 by 12 by 7 inches) with a number of design features to protect delicate equipment in the harshest of environments. “While it looks similar to other cases, the superior latch and ergonomic shoulder strap mean this is not just another pretty case,” says judge Alan Jones, Boat World’s executive editor. Price: $99.

Trailers, trailer parts and accessories: Safety 800 Trailer Tongue Weight Jack by Unified Marine Inc. takes the guesswork out of determining tongue weight to maximize stable trailering. Price: unavailable.

Environmental award: Kill the Spill Boat Wash by Enviromonde Network, a product that dissolves oil and stains quickly by breaking down hydrocarbons. Price: $14.95 (30.4-ounce bottle).

This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue.