A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

A salute to IBEX

Disruptive technologies continue to make headlines. Some analysts predict that the PC market will never again achieve the numbers it once did, done in, so to speak, by tablets, smartphones and whatever the next big thing in mobile is. Think devices you will one day wear on your wrist.

The market has no patience for technology companies that can’t keep up with shifting consumer and business tastes in technology.

The marine world does not change at quite that pace, but it is by no means static, either. Technology and innovation continually shape how our boats are designed, built and used.

The best venue for keeping up with that change is IBEX, which runs Sept. 17-19.

To celebrate this seminal marine trade show, Soundings Trade Only is producing a story on the most important technologies and innovations of the last 20 years. At this stage, we’re still brainstorming and building our list. And we’re talking to designers, builders and others who have been around long enough to have some perspective on where things have been and where they may be headed.

We’ve been kicking around a shorthand list that includes a mix of technology and devices, from GPS, EPIRBs and AIS to a bunch of new engine technologies, modern composite construction and more.

We’d love to hear from you on this topic. What do you think should be included on a list of the key innovations in boats and equipment over the past two decades? Please post your comments below.


4 comments on “A salute to IBEX

  1. Jeff

    Most inovative would have to mention inflatable life jackets, chart plotters, and the developer ment of commercial assistance: TowboatUS and Seatow membership services. The AAA version for on the water has given the recreational boater the piece of mind that they can rely on when spending their time on the water if something goes wrong. Many recreational boaters coincident their membership a vital part of their boat “equipment” neccisary for them to go out and enjoy boating.

  2. Dudley Dawson

    Without a doubt, pod drives. Not only do they increase speed and fuel efficiency for added range, but they open up whole new possibilities in interior arrangements.

    Second on the list, personal watercraft, which have enticed an entire new generation onto the water, kids that are now buying wakeboard/ski boats, and will someday buy cruisers.

  3. Ray Clark

    I think that some of the most important technologies are those that make it easier for consumers to handle and navigate boats thereby making them more inclined to go out and purchase their first one or perhaps make the leap to a larger boat. With that in mind we have to talk about GPS, radar and chartplotter development and evolution for ease of navigation as well as the evolution of bow thruster technology for smaller vessels as well as pod drive and joystick control for ease of handling and docking larger vessels.

  4. Dana Russikoff

    A compelling and now strategically relevant technology was born at IBEX 2007 – SureShade – the only American-designed and American-made self-supported retractable sunshade system for boats (electric and manual) – forever eliminating tedious handling of traditional canvas products and now providing shade on boats where once not practical (e.g. center consoles). Within 2 hours of the patented product’s launch at IBEX 2007, us industry newbies (I still had my day job) had major builder interest, meetings set, and as they say, the rest is history (including my day job). Within 5 years, despite the economic downturn, SureShade has become the new standard for shade on boats. From center consoles to sport cruisers, down east style boats to mega yachts, builders and designers throughout the world have embraced this new technology. Further evidence will be seen later this year at the Lauderdale Boat Show, where we expect there to be over 20 models across an array of boat styles featuring the shade system as either optional or standard equipment. Of that, half will be 2014 new model launches. Even more is expected at Miami in 2014. Whereas traditional marine canvas was once one of the final design considerations, shade – specifically SureShade – is now among the first design factors, disrupting the status quo in an effort to enhance the boating experience. A true industry success story – and it all started at IBEX.

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