The 2018 International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) Innovation Awards were presented at the IBEX annual Industry Breakfast at the 2018 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Eight BWI judges with various technical backgrounds in boating selected the 13 Innovation Award winners and three honorable mentions among dozens of entries submitted by marine trade companies.

“This year’s entries were very focused on improving the boating experience,” said Alan Wendt, chair of the judging panel, IBEX. “From solving simple issues with canvas, to more complex engineering challenges with hardware and composites, there is ample evidence of innovation underway in a thriving industry.”

The winners in each of the 13 categories of the 2018 IBEX Innovation Awards are:

  • Boat Care and Maintenance: AWLGRIP North America, Quick Build
  • Boatbuilding Methods & Materials: Structural Composites Inc., Advanced Marine Coatings
    • Honorable Mention: Dowco Marine, Nextoon
  • Covering: Taylor Made, Pole-less Self-Draining Pontoon Cover
    • Honorable Mention: Quality Mark, Pop-A-Pole
  • Deck Equipment and Hardware: Dripper Guard, Dripper Guard PRO
  • Electrical Systems: Balmar, SG200 Battery Monitor
  • Entertainment: FUSION Entertainment USA Inc., Apollo 770
  • Furnishings and Interior Parts: SHOXS, X Series Shock Mitigated Pedestals
  • Lighting: Megaleds Ind, ORPHOS
  • Mechanical Systems: Blue Guard Innovations, BG-One
  • OEM Electronics: Raymarine Inc., Axiom ClearCruise Augmented Reality
    • Honorable Mention: Suzuki Motor of America Inc., Multi-Function Gauge
  • Outboard Engines: Yamaha Motor Corporation, V8 XTO Offshore
  • Propulsion Parts, Propellers: Mercury Marine, Tiller Handle Assembly for Portable Outboard Motor
  • Safety Equipment: Medallion Instrumentation Systems, Docking/Trailer Camera

“Recognizing and encouraging innovation in our industry is what IBEX is all about,” said Anne Dunbar, IBEX Show Director. “The winning products will positively impact boating forever, and it’s very exciting. Congratulations to all the entrants for their dedication to product evolution.”

Attendees of the annual Industry Breakfast were treated to a presentation from keynote speaker Rich Karlgaard, Forbes publisher and Global Futurist, Economic Leader, Entrepreneur and Author, who delivered an interesting and informative talk about the events changing the world and how they’re impacting the marine industry. Preceding Karlgaard’s keynote speech, NMMA President Thom Dammrich addressed the more than 750 marine professionals that attended the breakfast, discussing the future of the industry, with the theme Recreational Boating in 2035. Dammrich also received the 2018 NMMA Hall of Fame Award.

The Innovation Awards are managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and judged by Boating Writers International (BWI). For more information about IBEX, visit For information about BWI, visit


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Brad Roberts
Brad grew up at the family cottage on Lake Simcoe using both powerboats and sailboats. A veteran journalist with large national daily newspapers, outdoor interest magazines, and syndicated television shows, Brad has entertained and educated readers for over 25 years with his unique family-inclusive perspective. His favorite pastime is teaching others to use their boats to access the freedom and beauty of a Life Afloat. Brad, his wife, and their three daughters have traveled and boated all over North America and the Caribbean, but choose to keep their "floating home" on the fresh waters of Central Ontario.