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British Marine Electronics Association Conference Winners Announced 2011

24 October 2011

The British Marine Electronics Association (BMEA) Conference 2011 took place on 19th October at the Portsmouth Marriott Hotel.  The event had over 75 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. Among the subjects that were covered were; ‘Competition and Fair Trading – the Life Blood of an Efficient Economy’ by John Bridgeman (Vice Chairman British Waterways),  ’Thank you Einstein for Sat-Nav’ by Neil Akroyd (Director of Ordnance Survey), ‘AIS’ by  Paul Sumpner (Digital Yacht) & James Turner, (McMurdo), ‘Marine Industry Apprenticeships’ by Keith Longman (Berthon Boat Company Ltd) and ‘Thermography – Current Technology and its future’ by Hans Groenenboom of FLIR Commercial Systems BV.

After a full day of conferencing and 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 B&G’s new Zeus multi-function navigation system.  (

Designed specifically for sailing, Zeus provides sailors with easy access to unique features for sailing navigation and allows total control of navigation on-board.

On winning the Product of the Year Award George Pollard – UK Managing Director, B&G said, ‘I’m delighted that the Zeus multifunction display from B&G has been voted the top product for 2011.  We knew from the reception that the Zeus MFD received when it was launched at the Southampton Boat Show last year that we had a winner on our hands, and the feedback from customers since then has been overwhelmingly positive, but it’s the icing on the cake to receive this recognition in a contest open to the general public.’

Asked why he felt the public had voted for Zeus, George said, ‘The B&G Zeus is the first multifunction display created specifically for sailing boats and comes with all the functionality of traditional MFDs together with the specialised sailing features that have not been accessible to sailors in this way until now.  At long last they have a single navigational unit that can process and display all the information they need in one place.  The fact that the Zeus is incredibly simple to use, uses the popular Navionics Platinum+ charts, and is fully compatible with the award winning 3G radars and Broadband sounders, just makes it all the more attractive. ‘

He added, ‘B&G has for many years been associated with the highest levels of international yacht racing, and this vote reflects the very positive reaction that we have been seeing from the wider sailing public to our range of new products that is designed and priced for those who enjoy cruising and club racing.’

The winner of the “BMEA Dealer of the Year Award” sponsored by Garmin was Roger Upham Marine Electronics Ltd. (

Upon winning the award, Roger Upham said, “I am absolutely ecstatic for everyone in our company including Sarah, Ian, Fred and Sophie.  They are the business, it’s not just me.  I front the company but they are the real backbone.”

He added, “We promote ourselves as a service company.  Our prices reflect the quality and high standards we strive for.  This is our hallmark and is echoed in our customer feedback.

Based in Chichester Marina, Roger Upham Marine Electronics is a family run business with over 30 years of experience. The company is dedicated to the distribution and installation of marine electronic products and services for the worldwide boating market.

Derek Gilbert of Raymarine presented the “BMEA Newly Certificated Technician of the Year”.  This award was made to Lee Harris of Darthaven Marina.

Lee Harris said,’ I am absolutely delighted to win this award.  I have been working for Darthaven Marina since 1999 and since 2008 I have been the manager running the Electrical/Electronics Department.’

He added, ‘Darthaven Marina have been very supportive in my career and have backed me in every way.  The company sees training as an important part of their business.’  

Situated in Kingswear village, Darthaven is an independent family owned and managed business established over 30 years ago.  The business provides visitor facilities, in-house and off site repair services plus chandlery.  

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

On winning his award he said, ‘I am completely blown away…I just can’t believe it.

Reg who is now retired, is still Honorary Chairman of Greenham Regis Marine ( a company he co founded.  He said, ‘ I was one of the founders in of the Marine Electronics Trade Association in 1985.  When we started the association we only had 11 companies and it grew from there. Then in the early nineties, we joined the BMF, and the association, now called the BMEA has gone from strength to strength.

He added, ‘I love this industry, I have been in it since 1967.  I love the camaraderie, the fellowship and the friendships and it means everything to me to win this award.’

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