World of Boating had the pleasure of attending the 7th annual Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show (MAATS) in the Las Vegas Convention Center. MAATS is much more than a typical tradeshow – it's a highly productive business-building event that offers marine accessory manufacturers and buyers the opportunity to connect one-on-one through a combination of trade show exhibits, private buyer-supplier meetings, new product introductions and awards programs, and great networking opportunities. MAATS is the only U.S. event dedicated to the marine aftermarket. Capt. Steve and your 1st mate Greg had a blast working the floor, and meeting the representatives of the many companies attending this years event.
Many of the products are new to market and are unique to the boating community. MAATS has become the premier event for launching new products in the marine aftermarket. Just some of the WOB favorites:
Queasy Drops (www.queasydrops.com) Jim McGee was kind enough to give the crew of WOB some samples of his wares. If you're prone to seasickness, just pop one in your mouth before leaving the dock, and every half hour or so throughout the day and you'll be able to enjoy your time on the water. Because they're inexpensive you can keep them on your boat in case guests feel sick, and we even have Queasy Pop Kids, lolly pops with the same ingredients that will keep the little guys on your boat feeling happy. Any for those big kids we have Queasy Pops, lolly pops for adults in the same variety of flavors.
Seasucker (www.seasucker.com) Brian Wells of SeaSucker stopped by the WOB booth and we took a walk over to sample his goods. SeaSuckers are powerful vacuum-cup mounts that enable you to safely and securely attach an array of accessories to your boat without using screws or drilling holes. Let us repeat: NO drills! NO screws! NO holes! Make no mistake – these are vacuum cups, not suction cups. There's a big difference between the two. The vast superiority of SeaSucker vacuum cups comes from their integrated pumps. Once mounted, these babies really hold – a 4.5″ SeaSucker can support more than 100 pounds; a 6″ SeaSucker can support more than 200 pounds.
Babes Boat Care Products (www.babesboats.com) Great products�you have to love a company that is run by a �Chief Babe in Charge�, Debbie Fletcher. BABES Boat Care Products is dedicated to developing quality, commercial grade maintenance products that set the standard for performance and convenience. All of their products are formulated to meet the demands of extreme conditions yet keep maintenance an easy task. And, all BABE�S products are environmentally safe. Founded in 2003, BABE�S is part of a family business that has been developing and manufacturing industrial chemical products for over 45 years. Together, they combined their talents and energy to create a unique product line specifically for boat and water enthusiasts.
Star brite (www.starbrite.com) Star brite was founded in 1973 based on a line of four automotive maintenance items. The companys key product was a revolutionary car polish formulated with special cleaners that restored dull, oxidized paint and space-age polymers that provided a dazzling shine together with extremely long-lasting protection. This product, simply named Star brite Car Polish took the market by storm because it was so superior to any competitive auto polish or wax. In the following years Star brite added many new car care products and also expanded into the boat care field. It was in the marine marketplace that the company experienced phenomenal growth and began to have a loyal consumer following.
Paws Aboard (www.pawsaboard.com) Paws Aboard Doggy Life Jacket and Designer Doggy Life Jackets Keep Pets Safe on the Water � The Paws Aboard Doggy Life Jackets provide ultimate buoyancy and high visibility to keep pets safe on the water. Constructed to provide buoyancy, along with a cozy secure fit, the Paws Aboard Doggy Life Jackets features an advanced breathable mesh underbelly for proper draining and drying, which provides your dog more comfort and healthier conditions than traditional pet life jackets made with neoprene, which can cause heat exhaustion and chafing.
EZ Towel (www.EZTowel.com) EZ Towels are durable, full-sized towels made of 100% Rayon. EZ Towels come compacted in a convenient tablet size, all you need to do is add water and watch it grow! Once the EZ Towel is activated, simply unroll and unfold and it becomes an 8 1/2 in. X 9 1/2 in. towel that is ready for use. EZ Towels are soft, durable, and bio-degradable. Great for home, office, restaurants, school, daycare, camping, fishing, and more! We are already looking forward to next years show…
Boca Raton, FL, July, 2007: NavQuest.com the internet�s only FREE Online Marine Navigation service and Water Enthusiast Portal announced today a new partnership with the World of Boating an Overboard Entertainment, Inc. radio production. World of Boating is the first and only nationally syndicated radio show devoted exclusively to the boating lifestyle. NavQuest.com will power the newly designed World of Boating website. Navquest and World of Boating will provide boating editorial, boating lifestyle video, and downloadable audio archives of the World of Boating Radio program, as well as access to a wealth of information such as chart navigation, trip planning, and points of interest.
President Harry Sangha of NavQuest.com, �This new partnership adds a wealth of new online content for the Navquest visitor,� Mr. Sangha continued, �We are always looking for new ways to make Navquest more content rich�. Captain Steve and Greg Holt hosts of the World of Boating commented, �We�re always looking for ways to enhance the listening experience and the technology and information that NavQuest.com offers complements the World of Boating perfectly. Mr. Holt continued, �This is really cool stuff every boater will appreciate and we look forward to joining forces with NavQuest.com to develop this new resource for boaters.�
About NavQuest, Inc. (www.NavQuest.com):
Founded in 2003, NavQuest.com is the designer and developer of expert marine directions, navigation & business geographic software for online, wireless & proprietary electronic navigational devices. NavQuest.com is the creator and owner of a digital route network for waterways providing safe routes for mariners. NavQuest.com has a world class management team with direct knowledge of the industry, extensive research experience, and unique administrative skills.
About World of Boating:
World of Boating is the first and only nationally syndicated radio show devoted exclusively to the boating lifestyle. World of Boating airs live every Saturday from 1-3pm EST and is replayed throughout the weekend. World of Boating currently airs on Sirius Satellite Radio channel #122 (over 7 million subscribers), and over 40 radio stations across the US, and can be heard live and archived worldwide at www.WorldofBoating.com.
“It was a dream I had when I had a big boat,” said Litvack, 66, who used to take his 58-foot Ferretti to the Keys each year. “I've been telling everybody about this for five years.”
The Palm Beach County entrepreneur finally found a partner to help him turn his dream into reality, teaming up with New York computer whiz Harry Sangha, 36.
In February, the two launched NavQuest, a patented online marine navigation tool to help boaters plan their trips. The free, advertiser-driven Web site – navquest.com – is similar to the popular MapQuest, allowing boaters to plug in their starting and ending points. Boaters get a trip ticket, similar to AAA's TripTik, that calculates the trip time, distance and fuel consumption, based on their vessel.
Boaters can then download the needed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration charts. The site also has live weather and tide information, a map of marinas with information on their services and listings of other points of interest along the route.
“You can find this information in pieces, but we bring it all together,” said Litvack, a New York native who moved to South Florida 17 years ago.
The Boca Raton-based NavQuest will debut this week at the annual Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show in Las Vegas with its new partner World of Boating, the only nationally syndicated boating radio show.
“It's an amazing tool,” said Greg Holt, one of three hosts of the weekly two-hour radio program produced in Oviedo, just outside Orlando. “The concept is great. Once it's really built out, this thing is going to be a major resource for boaters.”
NavQuest's audience is the casual boater.
“We're dealing with the novice,” Litvack said. “A real good boat captain doesn't need us to plan their trip.”
But the site offers something for boaters of all experience levels, said Gaspare Marturano, 35, NavQuest's vice president for sales.
Boaters can share routes with other boaters. They can e-mail a float plan to the Coast Guard or family members.
Marturano said he plans to add more features, including maps of dive spots and fishing holes.
Some boaters say it's a novel idea, but not likely to float.
“My initial reaction was that it's one of those things that sounds good but nobody will use it. You've got to have the real charts. You can't take shortcuts with that,” said Bob Adriance, technical director for the Alexandria, Va.-based Boat Owners Association of the United States, or BoatU.S. “I don't think it's going to translate nearly as well as it does for cars.”
But Adriance, who has been boating for more than 50 years, said he could see boaters using the site to check out a route they hadn't cruised before.
Tom Twyford, executive director of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club, said he could see the appeal for beginners, but most boaters are loaded up with devices such as electronic charts and GPS navigation. “New electronic devices make navigating so much easier than the old days,” he said.
But Litvack says NavQuest is not meant to replace GPS or chart books. It's a tool to help boaters plan trips from their landlocked offices before they hit the water.
In its first six months, the site has received 1 million hits from 40,000 unique visitors, Marturano said.
Before venturing into the Internet business, Litvack owned a school supply manufacturer in New Jersey. He sold the company after 20 years and was a consultant for a few years in New York, where he met Sangha.
Litvack and Marturano handle the sales and operations from Boca Raton, while Sangha produces the site in New York. The firm also has two additional salesmen.
Litvack estimates he's invested a half million dollars into the privately held business. But with a growing number of advertisers, he said the company is starting to break even.
“We just keep adding features,” he said. “It'll just get better with time.”
Principals: Ken Litvack – Chairman; Harry Sangha – President; Gaspare Marturano – Vice President Sales & Marketing.
Headquarters: Boca Raton
Product: Web-based marine navigation system
History: Launched in February 2007