The British Marine Electronics Association (BMEA) Conference 2012 took place on 17th October at the Novotel Hotel, Southampton.  The event had over 60 delegates from all over the marine electronic and electrical sectors of the marine industry.  This year’s Conference included a number of presentations by distinguished speakers including Steve Spitzer, Technical Director of the NMEA,  Howard Pridding, BMF CEO,  Ed Wildgoose from MailaSail, Paul Holland of Energy Solutions Ltd,  Graeme Hawksley from Hybrid Marine Ltd,   Daniel Cox from  E-Plex Ltd and Sarah Dhanda Senior BMF Director.

To download an overview of the conference by Tony Johns, please click on this link: NEWSLETTER 2012v1

After a full day of conferencing followed by the Association’s Annual General Meeting, the day ended with the announcement of four major awards:

The winner of the “BMEA Product of the Year” sponsored by Boating Business was the Furuno TimeZero Touch.  ( )

Furuno’s TimeZero Touch multi-function displays are the most advanced chart plotter, radar, fish-finder, weather station currently available. The Display features integration with iOS devices such as the iPad which can take full control of the TimeZero Touch unit and iPhone which can repeat data which is available on the network wirelessly. Utilising this wi-fi link weather files can be downloaded free of charge and re-played directly on top of the charts so passage planning is easier than ever before.

Daniel Conway from Furuno UK Ltd said, ‘Furuno has incorporated multi-touch technology in to the units which gives us access to the must have ‘pinch to zoom’ feature. To build such a system we turned to the world’s largest and most respected chip manufacture Intel.  This allowed TimeZero Touch to incorporate the latest processor giving the units the processing power to deliver flawless performance in all conditions. Added to all these technical advantages is the sleek super modern design, the completely black edge to edge glass gives the units a truly futuristic look.

Asked why he thought the public voted for the TimeZero Touch, Daniel Conway of Furuno UK Ltd said, ‘We believe customers saw the truly innovative nature of TimeZero Touch, adding the ‘must have’ features to elevate us above the raft of copy-cat products to deliver something truly special. After having some hands-on time at the boat show, customers are amazed at how many features the units have and how easy they are to operate’.

On winning the Product of the Year Award Daniel said, ‘Furuno are immensely proud to receive this award.  On behalf of everyone at Furuno I would like to thank all our customers and dealers who voted for us. We have fed news of our success back to the highest levels within Furuno and we are all delighted to have been recognised by the BMEA, its members and their customers.’

The BMEA Product of the Year Award wasn’t the only piece of good news for Furuno and the TimeZero Touch.  Over in the United States, Furuno won the following prestigious NMEA awards including

  • NMEA Best Navigation: NavNet TimeZero Touch TZT14
  • NMEA Best Radar: NavNet TimeZero Touch with DRS UHD Radar Series (37th Consecutive Year)
  • NMEA Best Fish Finder: FCV587FDF Fish Finder (42nd Consecutive Year)
  • NMEA Manufacturer of the Year – Support (7th Consecutive Year)
  • Boating Writers International Technology Award: NavNet TimeZero Touch TZT14 (Honourable Mention)

A double set of congratulations Furuno from everyone at the BMEA.

Picture above sees Dan Conway (left) receiving the Award from Sandra McKenzie (Boating Business) with Derek Gilbert, BMEA Chariman (right)

The winner of the “BMEA Dealer of the Year Award” sponsored by Garmin was Boat Electrics & Electronics Ltd. (

The winner of the “BMEA Dealer of the Year Award” is Boat Electrics & Electronics Ltd.  Formed in 1974, the company cut its teeth on the then buoyant fishing industry, and over the years it has developed into the commercial, workboat and leisure markets.  The company is an agent for Furuno, Raymarine, Koden, Jotron, Icom, KVH, PC Maritime and many others. Fifteen engineers fulfil the service and installation requirements from several bases around the UK including Oban, Kip, Troon and Cowes specialising in the supply, installation and service of marine electronic navigation and communication equipment.

Julian Coleman, Founder and Chairman of Boat Electrics & Electronics Ltd said,’ I have always believed in the BMEA and promoting the marine electronics industry in both the leisure and small commercial markets. Boat Electrics & Electronics Ltd is honoured to receive this award.’

Picture show Julian (left) given his award by Charlotte Bishop (Garmin) with Derke Gilbert, BMEA Chairman (right) looking on

Derek Gilbert of Raymarine presented the “BMEA Newly Certificated Technician of the Year”.  This award was made to Ashley Maginnis of A Maginnis Electrics

The winner of the BMEA Newly Certificated Technician of the Year” was Ashley Maginnis of A Maginnis Electrics.  Asked about his background, Ashley said, ‘I am from Annalong, a small Co.Down fishing village and 6 miles from Kilkeel which had the largest trawler fleet in Ireland. I served my time as an electrician but shortly after qualifying I was made redundant. I then worked on the trawlers for a number of years before returning to electrical work in the early 1990s.

I started my own electrical installation and maintenance contracting business in 1998 serving customers throughout Northern Ireland. As a company we like to build a close working relationship with our customers and this has helped us to remain very busy even throughout the recent difficult trading environment. We had always done some marine work for local boat owners and after being approached by G.Smyth Boats, a local commercial boat builder, to install the electrical and electronics systems on his vessels, we decided to expand further into marine installations and repair. Joining the BMEA has helped by offering training and re-assuring customers of our intent to carry out their work to a high standard. ‘

He added, ‘In addition to courses which we undertake regularly to keep up to date with current standards and regulations in standard electrical installations, I have participated in MEI, BMET and AMET courses run by the BMEA.’

Ashley said, ’Practical training and courses are vital for any technician or engineer not only to gain new knowledge and reinforce existing knowledge in the industry but also to assure both existing and prospective clients of competence and professionalism.

Upon winning this award, Ashley said, ‘I was surprised and very pleased to have had my efforts acknowledged by the panel at the BMEA and looking to accepting the award.’

Picture show Ashley (left) receiving his award from Derek Gilbert, BMEA Chairman (right)

Brian Ash was the recipient of the “BMEA Lifetime Achievement Award” for his role as co founder and supporter of the BMEA and his contribution to the Marine electronic industry.  

A popular recipient of the BMEA Lifetime Achievement Award was Brian Ash of Manstrbite.  Brian who is founder and Chairman of Manstbrite has had a colourful background in the industry.  He still takes an active interest in the running of the company with his son David now at the helm as Managing Director.

Brian has been one of the biggest advocates of the BMEA having being a co-founder of the current association and then holding the position of Association Treasurer for seventeen years. On retiring from the committee he passed over a healthy balance sheet to the new treasurer.

On winning his award Brian said, ‘I was totally elated. It was wonderful to receive such an award from my industry colleagues.’

He added, ‘Today we need a trade organisation to protect our interests and represent us in this village we call ‘the Marine Industry’ which is becoming a small part of a diminishing world. To be respected and to earn a decent wage our engineers need to have a acknowledged worldwide qualifications.  This can only be achieved by training to a World Standard.  That standard will be BMEA/NMEA and this is the way forward for all of us.’

Established in 1964, Mantsbrite Ltd ( has been supplying electronic equipment to the marine market for almost half a century.  It has an established dealer network throughout the UK and Ireland providing services to the leisure, fishing and commercial sectors of the market.