Judges named for 2018 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show Innovation Awards

Eight industry veterans to evaluate 62 new boating products across 19 categories

2/5/2018 12:00:00 AM

February 5, 2018 -- The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) announced today the panel of judges who will evaluate 62 product entries across 19 boating categories for the 2018 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show Innovation Awards, being presented during the show’s Innovation Breakfast on Friday, February 16. Innovation Awards recognize exceptionally innovative new consumer marine products, and will be on display throughout the Miami Boat Show February 15-19 at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin. 

The Innovation Awards judges’ committee is comprised of eight BWI members who perform product testing throughout the year and have specific expertise in marine products and equipment. The judges’ committee is Co-Chaired by Zuzana Prochazka and Alan Wendt. 

Here’s the full panel of judges for the 2018 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show Innovation Awards:

Robert Beringer: Beringer is a Florida-based freelance marine journalist and photographer. He learned to sail on the Great Lakes in a Hobie 16 and now sails a Catalina 34. He is the holder of a USCG 50-ton Master’s License, logging more than 28,000-miles under sail. His articles regularly appear in Cruising World, Sail, Ocean Navigator, All at Sea and Blue Water Sailor. His first book, Water Power!, a collection of marine short stories, is available at Barnes & Noble.

John Burnham: Burnham is a freelance writer, editor, and leadership coach, living in Middletown, R.I. He served for many years as Chief Editor of Sailing World and Cruising World magazines, and as Editorial Director of, YachtWorld, and Boat Trader websites. John is also a top sailboat racer, with International One-Design and Shields class championship titles to his credit.

Ann Hoffner: Hoffner spent ten years cruising the Pacific on s/v Oddly Enough, a Peterson 44, ending up in Borneo. She has a background in physical oceanography and writes articles on meteorology, destinations, and sailboat maintenance for Cruising World, SAIL, Blue Water Sailing, and Ocean Navigator magazines and is a member of Society of Environmental Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and American Society of Journalists and Authors. She and her husband, photographer Tom Bailey, recently bought back Kraken, their first cruising boat, and look forward to traveling again.

Frank Lanier: Lanier is a SAMS® Accredited Marine Surveyor with more than 35 years of experience in the marine and diving industries. He holds a 100GT masters license and has captained and maintained vessels ranging from dive boats to passenger ferries in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and South Pacific. An author and award winning journalist, his articles on seamanship, marine equipment reviews and vessel maintenance appear regularly in numerous marine publications worldwide.

Pete McDonald: McDonald is the Deputy Editor of Boating Magazine, where he has worked for the past 19 years. He has also been published in several other boating and fishing magazines and is the author of the book, The Blitz: Fly Fishing the Atlantic Migration. Pete grew up on the water in South Florida, and currently boats and fishes around New York's Long Island.

Zuzana Prochazka (co-chair): Prochazka is a freelance writer and photographer with a USCG 100 Ton Master license.  She writes for 15 different power and sail magazines and websites and serves as an international presenter on charter destinations and technical topics. A ten-year member of the board of Boating Writers International, she has been leading the Innovation Awards for the past eight years.

Lenny Rudow: Rudow is the angler in chief at FishTalk Magazine, Fishing and Electronics Editor for BoatUS Magazine, a Contributing Editor for Sport Fishing Magazine, and freelances for a number of publications and websites. He is currently the President of BWI. Lenny lives in Edgewater, MD, and can be spotted often on the Chesapeake Bay - or whatever body of water may be near his current location.

Alan Wendt (co-chair): Wendt is a freelance writer for Southern Boating and Lakeland Boating, the past president of BWI and lead judge for the Innovation Awards at IBEX. His career has included decades of news reporting for newspaper, radio and TV news outlets, magazine publishing, Yacht Rendezvous and Special Dealer Events, and developing brand messaging for retail marine dealers, OEMs and related service providers.

Celebrating the thousands of innovative products, ideas and services showcased during the Miami Boat Show each year, the Innovation Breakfast will feature a host of presentations focused on propelling the recreational boating industry forward.. The Innovation Breakfast is presented by GM Marine Engine Technology and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), with support from Enterprise Florida, and takes place within the show’s Center Courtyard at the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin. .  Doors open at 7:30 a.m., and the breakfast runs from 8 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

Please note the Breakfast is sold out. For media interested in attending the Breakfast, please contact Sarah Salvatori at For questions about NMMA Awards, please contact Rachel Harmon at For questions about the breakfast, contact Erik Rancatore at

Because doors to the breakfast open at 7:30 a.m. prior to show opening, exhibitors planning to attend the breakfast must park in Lot A, take a taxi/Uber to Lot C, or valet park, as all other parking lots and transportation will not be running until 9 a.m.

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About NMMA: The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading trade organization for the North American recreational boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, marine accessories and gear used by millions of boaters in North America. The association serves its members and their sales and service networks by improving the business environment for recreational boating including providing domestic and international sales and marketing opportunities, reducing unnecessary government regulation, decreasing the cost of doing business, and helping grow boating participation. As the largest producer of boat and sport shows in the U.S., NMMA connects the recreational boating industry with the boating consumer year-round. Learn more at and get engaged with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About BWI: BWI is a professional organization consisting of writers, editors, publishers, photographers, broadcasters, public relations specialists and others in the communications profession associated with the boating industry. Members include active marine journalists across the United States, Canada and Europe; associate members in public relations roles; and supporting members, such as marine manufacturers and service companies. Learn more at
Contact: Sarah Salvatori 312.946.6285

Progressive Insurance

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