The International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) announced the list of judges for the 2023 IBEX Innovation Awards Program. The program, now in its 20th year has reviewed thousands of new products and recognized the industry’s most significant and innovative technologies. Managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and independently judged by Boating Writers International (BWI), the program is one of the marine industry’s most prestigious honors recognizing manufacturers and suppliers who bring new, innovative products to market.
Achievements in new product development in 15 areas of the marine industry and are represented by the following categories: Boat Care and Maintenance; Boatbuilding Methods and Materials; Boatyard and Marina Hardware and Software; Deck Equipment and Hardware; Electric Motor/Battery Powered Propulsion/Hybrids; Electrical Systems; Entertainment; Furnishings and Interior Parts; Inboard Engines; Mechanical Systems; OEM Electronics; Outboard Engines; Propulsion Parts, Propellers; Safety Equipment; and Trailers, Parts and Trailer Accessories.
The deadline for submission to the IBEX Innovation Awards program is August 23, 2023. Program rules and entry details can be reviewed on the IBEX website. Product entries can be reviewed along Innovation Way, located on the second floor Waterview Lounge throughout the Show.
Awards will be presented during the annual Industry Breakfast, Innovation Awards Presentation, and Keynote, held from 7:30-9:30 a.m. on the opening morning of IBEX, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, at the JW Marriott Tampa Water Street, Tampa Bay Ballroom. The Industry Breakfast kicks-off IBEX and gives all in attendance the opportunity to begin the show experience by networking with marine industry friends and colleagues. Sponsored by AWLGRIP North America, Gemlux, Honda Marine, Interlux Yacht Finishes, Protomet Corporation, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), Sea Hawk Paints, and Tides Marine Inc., the Industry Breakfast is anticipated to sell out and tickets can be purchased in the registration process or by accessing the registration portal for those already registered.
“Innovation in the marine industry is what IBEX is built on; it’s the top reason exhibitors display their products in our aisles and why visitors attend from around the world,” said Anne Dunbar, IBEX Show Director. “The products submitted for the distinction of an IBEX Innovation Award are always significant game changers. Having an independent judging panel of unbiased industry experts from BWI reviewing the product entries is what makes the Innovation Award program the industry’s most respected and prestigious. For 20 years the Innovation Awards have rewarded ingenuity and honored excellence; I look forward to learning what the 2023 winning products will be.”
Each of the eight BWI judges comes to IBEX with different technical backgrounds and boating experience. The panel of judges for the 2023 IBEX Innovation Awards are:
- Brady Kay (Chair) is the executive editor of Pontoon & Deck Boat magazine and has been at the helm of the publication for over 20 years. During his tenure, Kay has tested and reviewed countless pontoon and deck boats, traveled to all 50 states for feature profiles, and has taken thousands of photos. He also currently oversees Great Lakes Boating magazine, a sister publication at Harris Publishing, and is in his third year as the president of Boating Writers International.
- Ben Stein (Co-chair) is editor of Panbo.com covering marine technology. He also serves as electronics editor for Power & Motoryacht and PassageMaker magazines and is a regular contributor to Soundings. After 15 years in financial services technology, he left the corporate world to pursue his passion in boating. A USCG 100-Ton Master and ABYC certified marine electrical technician, Stein is an experienced cruiser having traveled over 20,000 nautical miles.
- Andy Adams is a BWI Member and the Managing Editor for both Canadian Yachting magazine and Boating Industry Canada News Week Digest, Canada’s only marine trade media source. He has reviewed a range of power boats from PWCs to 75-footers and covers new products in the News Week Digest 50 weeks a year. Adams has been a regular IBEX attendee since 2004 and was an Innovation Award Judge in 2019.
- Ed Sherman is a semi-retired ABYC Education Vice President. He is an author or co-author of five technical how-to books covering marine service and repair.
- Steve Davis has been sailing since age seven, is a USCG 100-Ton Master (sail and power), served as a charter, delivery, shuttle, and tour boat captain for more than 20 years. He is the editor-in-chief of Southern Boating magazine and is currently a BWI board member and judge for the BWI writing contest.
- Julia Carleton is the Operations Manager at OceanPlanet Energy, a consulting and distribution company specializing in lithium battery and charging systems as well as custom solar solutions. She has worked extensively on sail training vessels and ocean research vessels. Carleton holds a 500 GRT Oceans Master and a BS in Electrical Engineering.
- Tim Murphy develops curriculum for the American Boat & Yacht Council. A Contributing Editor to BoatUS magazine, and a Cruising World Editor-at-Large, Murphy has worked as a marine journalist for more that 30 years. Having directed and judged CW’s Boat of the Year program for two decades, he has sea-trialed more than 500 new boats in the last two decades. He co-wrote Fundamentals of Marine Service Technology (ABYC 2012) and is the author of Adventurous Use of the Sea (Seapoint Books, 2022). Murphy is a USCG 100-Ton Master.
- Ryan Gullang is a freelance writer, recent college graduate, and former recipient of the BWI Active Interest Boating Media Journalist Scholarship. Gullang has been writing articles for FishTalk, SpinSheet, PropTalk, and Boats.com with topics ranging from the health benefits of crabbing to the technical limitations of electric propulsion.