We don't often put out press releases of interest to all boating types, but today we distributed one announcing the winners of the 2009 North American Marine Industry Web Awards. This is a joint award made by Boats.com, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, and Soundings Trade Only. Here's a link to the press release for the whole story, but if you want to jump straight to the sites, here they are (with my comments in parens):
Best OEM/Manufacturer Site - www.sea-doo.com (Wow! The showroom approach is really clean and visual. Just beware a slow internet connection.)
Best Dealer/Broker Site – www.marinemax.com (Impressive design, quick-loading, and I really liked the Makeover section.)
Best Marine Equipment Site – www.transhield-usa.com (Lightning fast and functional. No BS. You can find what you want in a hurry here.)
Best Marine Site – Editorial Content – www.windcheckmagazine.com (Nothing fancy, a good, clean, quick-loading site with a lot of edit to offer.)
The judges were four industry pros with varied background (detailed in a previous release) Jorian Clarke; Adam Heneghan; Larry Rains; and Armida Markarova (NMMA's interactive director, a substitute since the release was issued last year). Beyond the winners, they weren't wowed by the marine industry's sites, saying that many were "still in the early ‘digital brochure stage’ and/or used excessive amounts of video as a substitute for good design and user-friendly navigation. They also said, "User participation techniques— often called user generated content, used so effectively in other industry categories—were also missing from a majority of sites."
Via Twitter, Rich Lazzara of Lazzara Yachts, pointed out that it was time to recognize the best marine blogs, too. I agree completely, so I appointed him king for the day, and these were his choices (keep in mind, the smallest Lazzara Yachts models are 75 feet long):