Mel Barr, NMMA Hall of Fame and 13 Innovation Awards Announced at IBEX


IBEX 2011, the International BoatBuilder's Exhibition and Conference opened with the Industry Breakfast and host Thom Dammrich, President of the NMMA lead off with some positive comments showing a 2% growth in new boat shipment over 2010 levels, worthwhile increases in boating participation across America and he reminded the audience that they were still a part of a $30 billion dollar industry.

Calls to the industry for increased support for activities that increase boating participation, such as the Grow Boating and Discover Boating programs as well as paying attention to non-white demographics are hoped to help build future sales strength.

The Industry Breakfast was well attended and the exhibit hall seems to show good support from the industry.

The first person to be recognized Eldon Nysether. The National Marine Representatives Association (NMRA) presented the Mel Barr Award to Eldon Nysether of the Sea-Dog Line.  The award recognizes an individual who has contributed to the improvement of the industry and is named in the memory of marine rep Mel Barr, one of the founders of NMRA and its first president.

Then, Robert (“Bob”) Deputy, former President and CEO of Godfrey Marine, received the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s (NMMA) highest honor this morning when he was inducted into the NMMA Hall of Fame. The NMMA Hall of Fame was established in 1988 and recognizes individuals who have, or continue to generate, substantial and lasting contributions toward the advancement of the marine industry. It honors individuals whose names and deeds are synonymous with the pursuit of quality, innovation, and perfection within their respective spheres of expertise.

“Bob Deputy is incredibly deserving of NMMA’s most prestigious honor, for the thriving business he built, his unwavering dedication and leadership throughout the years, and personifying what it means to treat everyone as family – his company, his community, and the industry,” said Jason Pajonk-Taylor, president of Taylor-Made Products and NMMA chairman. “Deputy left a lasting mark on the recreational marine industry, and I’m honored to be announcing his induction into the NMMA Hall of Fame.”

As president and CEO of Godfrey Marine, Bob Deputy’s leadership, commitment to relationships with employees, dealers and suppliers, and dedication to product development were instrumental to the company’s success. Under his direction, Godfrey Marine thrived. When the company was sold in 2005, it had grown from a small manufacturing plant into the largest family-owned independent builder of recreational boating and fishing boats in the U.S.

Bob’s family recently told NMMA: “Bob exhibits leadership in every endeavor, whether business or philanthropic. He is humble and generous, but the one word that most aptly describes Bob is "family." His greatest joy is in spending time with his family, which now includes 17 grandchildren. His most enduring legacy is to treat everyone as if they were family-and to remember that it's not where you start but where you finish.”

Thirteen marine manufacturers were honored for innovative achievement by the NMMA and Boating Writers International (BWI). Eleven winning companies received their 2011 IBEX Innovation Awards, and two received honorable mentions, during the annual IBEX Industry Breakfast at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

The Innovation Awards, organized by NMMA and judged by BWI, recognize those products that best meet the following criteria: innovative distinction from other products currently being manufactured; benefit to the marine industry and/or consumer; practicality; cost-effectiveness; and availability to the consumer within 60 days of award receipt. A total of 65 new products were entered in this year’s IBEX Innovation Awards program.

“The winners recognized at IBEX today are a testament to the ongoing commitment to boating ingenuity necessary to the future of our industry,” noted NMMA President Thom Dammrich. IBEX Innovation Awards were presented to the following companies in these categories:

Deck Equipment & Hardware

Winner: Nautilus Marine Group, Windlass V500

Judge Susan Canfield noted, “The well-engineered windlass tension band keeps the rope and chain splice in constant contact with the chain wheel easily handling knots and hackles of life at anchor.”

Honorable Mention: Ameritex Fabric Systems, Four-in-One Boat Cover

Electrical Systems

Winner: Charles Industries, Intelligent Marine Charger

“The introduction of different battery voltages and recharging times created the necessity for a programmable charger,” according to Judge Pat Kearns. “The IMC 40 eliminates the need for multiple onboard battery chargers. The built-in redundancy will get you home.”

Furnishing & Interior Parts

Winner: Thetford Curve, Porta Potti

“Serious thinking time was spent addressing multiple ways to improve and innovate one of life’s basic necessities,” according to judge Roger McAfee. “The originators of the Porta Potti redesigned everything from a battery powered flushing mechanism to a hidden, integrated toilet paper holder.”

Inboard Engines

Winner: Indmar, 5.7L Assault 345 Inboard

“Wakesurfing is rapidly growing in popularity,” noted judge Brady Kay. “However, the strain on engines required proactive engineering to reduce engine failure. Indmar has a workhorse for rugged watersports.”

Mechanical Systems

Winner: Attwood, Universal Sprayless Connector

“This category begged a focus on new ABYC and future EPA rulings regarding fuel shut-off systems and inlets,” stated Judge Frank Lanier. “There were several intriguing fuel inlet designs, each with different approaches. Attwood’s Universal Sprayless Connector, however, stood out in both simplicity, ease of adaptation and global application.”

OEM Electronics

Winner: Raymarine, e7D Multifunction Display

This compact navigation solution brings multiple features, including built-in WI-FI connectivity to a marine multifunction device. “Where Apple iPad integration, pop culture and intuitive operation meets useful maritime technology,” said Judge Alan Wendt.

Outboard Engines

Two Winners: Honda Marine, BF 250 Outboard Engine and Mercury 150 FourStroke Outboard

“There are two clear winners in this category – each being the first to bring features to the market. Honda offers the first dual-circuit induction system that provides improved combustion, while delivering additional amps for charging boat batteries,” noted Judge Zuzana Procheska. “And Mercury found a way to trim 24 pounds of their new 150 FourStroke, while helping to satisfy the growing need for superb fuel efficiency and performance.”

Propulsion Parts, Propellers

Winner: Powertech Propellers, Power Stop Propeller

“The rapidly growing pontoon and deck boat market is always faced with ways to reduce the effects of wind, tide and a variety of performance issues. Powertech Propellers answers those concerns with a brilliantly crafted reverse thrust propeller, providing new levels of control without harming overall performance,” said Judge Brady Kay.

Honorable Mention: Livorsi Marine for its improved Raw Water Flow System that helps to prevent cosmetic and structural damage to expensive exhaust headers and intercoolers

Safety Equipment

Winner: Protomet Corporation, Panoramic Mirror System

“Having a second set of eyes on your kids while towing them in any variety of watersports is inherent parental responsibility,” noted judge Alan Wendt. “Protomet’s prescription grade optics provides unparalleled viewable range.”


Winner: US Marine Products, EFOY Fuel Cell

“Our environmental award goes to US Marine Products for the EFOY Fuel Cell. This is a green solution to providing on board power with a fuel cell that converts methanol into 12 to 24 volt power,” noted Alan Wendt.

For more information on IBEX or the Innovation Awards program, visit

PHOTO CAPTION: The 2011 Innovation Award Winners assembled on stage during the Industry Breakfast on the first day of the IBEX show.

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