The 2013 British Marine Electronics Association Conference took place on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 at the Novotel, West Quay, Southampton. This annual event provides an opportunity for all sectors of the marine industry to get together not only to discuss topics of mutual interest but also to create and build beneficial business relationships.
Introduced by Derek Gilbert, BMEA Chairman, the Conference included presentations by well known speakers. John Adey, President of ABYC, gave an interesting overview of their work with comparisons with the UK.
He made the point that in terms of training, our apprentice schemes are far ahead of the US and congratulated us on this approach. Dr Martin Unwin, principal GNSS engineer from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd gave a very comprehensive overview of the new Galileo European satellite navigation system. Pointing out the fact that GPS is now quite dated, he discussed an extended list of facilities that this system would be able to carry out over and above navigation. Additional carrier frequencies and today's technology will allow not only seriously increased positional accuracy but also enable the system to take part in SAR, additional to COSPAS/SARSAT. Gavin McGee, senior investment consultant for St James Wealth Management gave an amusing but relevant overview of today's needs for personal savings to provide decent pensions.
A return visit by Keith Longman, Berthon Boat Company, updated the delegates with emphasis on their award winning apprenticeship schemes that allows the company to provide employment as older staff retire, something that is very important to all industries.
Chris Harris, sales manager from MG Duff Ltd had been requested to give a detailed overview of corrosion matters and how this natural phenomena can be minimized in the marine environment by using the best materials and protecting them from natural corrosion under water. Finally, Ken Wittamore discussed his views on government and EU based grants that were available for development work especially when related to 'green' use of energy.
The Association's AGM approved a new constitution, name (BMEEA) and logo, the latter two making it clear that the Association was a specialist group within the Federation and provided expertise in electrical supplies and its on-board distribution, additional to all the electronics that has been the mainstay of the Association since its inception some 25 years ago.
Apprentice Electrical Competition
Kane Watts and John Smyth
For the first time, the Association organised an electrical competition aimed at young apprentices coming into the industry. This was won by a team of two, Kane Watts and John Smyth currently employed by Oyster Yachts and being trained by Southampton City College. Seen here is Kane Watts receiving the award on behalf of the team
A special award was given to Ian Lockyer who, after more than 10 years, has had to retire from looking after the BMEEA website, BMEA Direct the on-line magazine he developed for the Association and many other related activities. Derek Gilbert thanked Ian on the Association's behalf and presented him with a suitably engraved tankard which we are sure will be put to good use
At dinner, three major awards were announced:
> 'Newly Certificated Technician of the Year' – sponsored by Raymarine
> 'BMEEA Waterside Dealer of the Year' – sponsored by Garmin.
> 'BMEEA Product of the Year' – sponsored by Boating Business
Newly Certificated Technician of the Year
The BMEA Newly Certificated Technician of the Year Award, sponsored by Raymarine plc, was given to Robert Stone from Boat Electrics and Electronics Ltd, seen here with Derek Gilbert, current Chairman of BMEA
Waterside Dealer of the Year
Ships Electronic Services Ltd
The BMEA Waterside Dealer of the Year Award, sponsored by Garmin UK Ltd, was awarded to Ships Electronic Services Ltd. Presented to Simon Wood for SES Ltd, Bob Fry of Garmin Europe Ltd did the honours
Product of the Year
Actisense – EMU1 Engine Monitoring Unit
The BMEA Product of the Year Award, sponsored by Boating Business, was presented to Phil Whitehurst of Actisense by Tim Morgan of Dyfed Electronics, the incoming BMEEA Chairman.
The product that Actisense had developed and for which the award was given is their EMU1, Engine Monitoring Unit, interfaced using NMEA2000.