Boating Journalists Recognized for Best Writing & Imaging

Santa Ana, Calif.– Boating and fishing journalists, photographers and videographers were recognized today in an annual awards program conducted virtually by and for the membership of Boating Writers International (BWI).

In BWI’s 2020 contest, presentations in 15 contest categories representing $15,000 in cash awards were made to first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) place scorers. Cash award recipients also received a recognition plaque noting their “Excellence in creating compelling stories about boating through entertaining, educational and inspiring journalism.”
This year’s BWI Awards (presented now for 28 years) attracted 108 participants submitting 283 entries. In addition to cash awards, 29 Certificates of Merit were presented. All submissions to the contest were published in 2020. Each of the categories (noted below along with sponsors) was judged by four active journalists in the first few weeks of 2021.


Boating Lifestyles– sponsored by Discover Boating
1st place, “Sailing for the Soul”by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Soundings)
2nd place, “Just an Old Chart”by Chris Caswell (Passagemaker)
3rd place, “Canoe Kids”by Heather Franics (Cruising World)
Judge Ben Stein commented on the winner: “’Sailing for the Soul’ makes us feel a mother’s pain of losing a son and invites us to join her journey to salvation by learning to sail.”

Boating Photography– sponsored by Freedom Boat Club
1st place, “Yellow Warbler”by Pim Van Hemmen
2nd place, “Schooner Mary Rose”by Jan Hein
3rd place, “Finn the Fish Dog”by Lenny Rudow
Judge David Schmidt said: “This yellow warbler made this judge smile on a rainy day. I hope the bird enjoyed its ride as much as the photographer enjoyed capturing its image.”

Boating Issues, News and Analysis– sponsored by Mercury Marine
1st place, “Barf-o-Rama”by Lenny Rudow (FishTalk Magazine)
2nd place, “The Chaos is Real”by Kim Kavin (Soundings)
3rd place, “3D Printing and Boatbuilding”by Kim Kavin (Yachting)
Judge John Burnham said: “Marine journalists have written this story hundreds of times, but never with such originality and such an irrepressible voice, backed up by thorough research and solid structure leading to a remarkably fair evaluation of different seasickness remedies.” Merit Awards: “Outlook for Cruising 2021” by Behan Gifford (Cruising World), “Goodbye to an Old Friend” by Craig Ritchie (, “Outboard of Tomorrow” by Bill Pike (Outboard Magazine).

Environmental Awareness & Education– sponsored by Torqeedo
1st place, “Blue Bloods and Red Knots”by Wendy Mitman Clarke (Chesapeake Bay Magazine)
2nd place, “Technology Allows Boaters to Follow the Whales”by Fiona McGlynn (BoatUS Magazine)
3rd place, “Green is the New Black”by Lydia Mullen (SAIL Magazine)
Judge John Page Williams noted: “This is a fascinating but necessarily brief look into the lives of multiple whale species, leaving the reader wanting much more. There’s at least one book here.” Merit Awards: “Plastic Surgery: Could Microplastics Change the Face of Fishing” by Joe Sills (Bassmaster Magazine), “When Good Boats Go Bad” by Fiona McGlynn (BoatUS Magazine), “A Few Good Women” by Ann Eichenmuller (Chesapeake Bay Magazine).

Seamanship, Rescue & Safety– sponsored by Sea Tow Services International
1st place, “Sunk by a Whale”by Peter Nielsen (Yachting World)
2nd place, “Riddles in the Dark”by Michael Robertson (Good Old Boat)
3rd place, “The Conception Tragedy”by Chris Caswell (Boating)
Judge Jim Rhodes commented: “An unusual first-person story well told — with an important takeaway safety for readers.” Merit Awards: “Fat Advice for Heavy Weather” by Fatty Goodlander (Cruising World), “Old Salts” by D.B. Davies (Good Old Boat), “End of His Rope” by John Vigor (Good Old Boat).

Boat Tests & Reviews– sponsored by Volvo Penta
1st place, “The Great Avocette”by Kevin Koenig (Boat International)
2nd place, “Marquis 42”by Chris Caswell (Boating)
3rd place, “Building Buffet’s Boat”by Charlie Levine (Outboard Magazine)
Judge Mark Corke commented: “A mix of history twinned with a review of an interesting project makes for a thoroughly enjoyable read, which is a step up from many boat tests.” Merit Awards: “Outback Bahamas” by Chris Caswell (Power & Motoryacht), “Aluminum Express” by Alex Kwanten (Northwest Yachting), “Azimut’s New $1.8 Day Boat” by Michael Verdon (Robb Report).

Fishing– sponsored by Suzuki Motor Corporation
1st place, “The Halibut Hunter”by David Zoby (Anglers Journal)
2nd place, “Big Time”by Simon Murray (Anglers Journal)
3rd place, “The Unbelievable True Story of How The Memphis Pyramid became A Bass Pro Shops”by Joe Sills (Forbes)
Judge Deborah Hanson noted: “This story stirs the emotions and concludes with a powerful message about finding common ground amidst differences. An outstanding piece.” Merit Award: “The Hunt for Goliath” by Doug Stamm (BoatUS Magazine).

Gear, Electronics & Product Tests– sponsored by Xantrex by Mission Critical Electronics
1st place, “One Wing Flapping”by John Vigor (Good Old Boat)
2nd place, “Electric Dreams”by Fiona McGlynn (BoatUS Magazine)
3rd place, “No Visible Means of Support”by Robert Mazza (Good Old Boat)
Judge Steve Davis said of the winner: “The product’s technical characteristics are woven within a humorous telling of its history through real-life experiences and a personal perspective that made for an enjoyable read.” Merit Awards: “Non-Lethal Self-Defense” by Ann Hoffner (Ocean Voyager), “Taking Charge” by Drew Frye (Good Old Boat), “Waterproof Epoxy” by Drew Frye (Good Old Boat).

Boat Projects, Renovations & Retrofits– sponsored by Boats Group
1st place, “Faux Future”by Vincent Daniello (Marlin Magazine)
2nd place, “Repower Assisted”by Andy Cross (Good Old Boat)
3rd place, “Staying Power”by Edward Zacko (Good Old Boat)
Of the winner, judge Bill Sisson said: “This piece is well written and well sourced and anyone considering the question of real or faux wood will come away better informed.” Merit Awards: “Sail Smarts for Cruisers” by Jamie Gifford (Cruising World), “Ahead of the Game” by Jerry Thompson (Good Old Boat), “Billy Pilgrim’s Progress” by Leslie Davidson (Cruising World).

Boating Videos– sponsored by Boat Owners Association of the U.S.
1st place, “Deep Impact: BUI Touches Law Enforcement”by Randy Vance
2nd place, “Sea-Doo Lifestyle”by Jeff Hemmel
3rd place, “PWC Safety”by Jeff Hemmel
Judge Chris Woodward had this to say about the winner: “This important message about boating under the influence was well crafted. It left out the preaching and humanized law-enforcement’s handling of an issue that can seem very predictable and cliche.” Merit Award: “Blackfin Boats Factory Tour” by Randy Vance (Boating Magazine).

The Business of Boating– sponsored by BRP
1st place, “Embracing the Change”by Kim Kavin (Passagemaker)
2nd place, “X Marks the Spot”by Craig Ritchie (Boating New Zealand)
3rd place, “Tech Support”by Lenny Rudow (Marine Electronics Journal)
Judge Alan Wendt noted: “Every aspect of our life is entangled with this Pandemic. The writer had solid quotes and a wide example of solutions the industry is harnessing to survive this once-in-a-century calamity.” Merit Award: “Autonomous Vessels” by Zuzana Prochazka (Marine Electronics Journal).

Boating Columns– sponsored by KVH Industries, Inc.
1st place, “A Dash of Salt”by Chris Caswell (Passagemaker)
2nd place, “Between Fish”by Bill Sisson (Anglers Journal)
3rd place, “Off Watch”by Herb McCormick (Cruising World)
Judge Charlie Levine said “The author’s voice is crisp and vivid throughout the columns. They are fun to read, and hard to put down.” Merit Awards: “Waterlines” by Charlie Doane (SAIL Magazine), “Three Separate Columns” by Bill Pike (Power & Motoryacht).

Boating Travel or Destinations– sponsored by Kicker Marine Audio
1st place, “A Tough Little Loop”by Stephen Blakely (Cruising World)
2nd place, “How to Die Happy”by Kevin Koenig (Yachting)
3rd place, “The River that Flows Both Ways”by Pim Van Hemmen (Soundings)
Judge Alan Jones said: “The author puts the reader right into the rain- and spray-drenched cockpit of their 26-foot sailboat on a tough but memorable 400-mile slog.” Merit Award: “Pristine Glacier Bay” by Andy Cross (48° North Magazine).

Boating Profiles– sponsored by ZF Marine
1st place, “Threading the Needle”by Pim Van Hemmen (Soundings)
2nd place, “Able Artisan”by Dieter Loibner (Soundings)
3rd place, “A Stand-Up Draftsman”by Fiona McGlynn (Good Old Boat Magazine)
Judge Lenny Rudow said: “Many profile pieces wouldn’t be described as ‘gripping,’ but this one certainly was. The author kept up a great tempo and turned a very interesting subject into a topnotch article.” Merit Awards: “The Maestro” by Fionna McGlynn (Good Old Boat Magazine), “Legend of Al Grover” by Daniel Harding (Outboard Magazine).

Boating Adventures– sponsored by Yamaha Marine Group
1st place, “One Tack and Two Jibes”by Andy Cross (48° North Magazine)
2nd place, “Sailing to the Center of the Earth”by Stephen Blakely (Cruising World)
3rd place, “Slow Race to Alaska”by Jan Hein (Classic Boat Magazine)
Judge Richard Armstrong commented: “There’s great spirit throughout this inspiring account. The overall effect is thrilling and attractive to adventurous boaters.” Merit Awards: “True North” by Benoit Fleury (Good Old Boat), “Shock & Awe” by Herb McCormick (Cruising World), “School Daze” by Jon Whittle (Cruising World).

About Boating Writers International
Boating Writers International (BWI)is a non-profit professional organization consisting of writers, editors, broadcasters, publishers, photographers, public relations specialists and others in the communications profession associated with the boating industry. Members include active marine journalists across the U.S., Canada and around the world, supporting marine manufacturers and service entities, and associates in a variety of communication roles.