You cast your votes, and here are the Southern Boating’s 2023 Readers’ Choice Award Winners!
Every vote was counted, including the write-in candidates, and tallied in a secure location without any bias…or stuffing of the ballot box.
Readers voted for their preferences in 41 categories from favorite center console to express cruiser and must-have galley item to favorite fishing rod. Safety products, best boatyard, favorite marina (both domestic and international), engines, binoculars, and foul-weather gear are a sampling of what’s included in this year’s choices.
In some categories, first and second place were separated by only a few percentage points, but overall, there was a definite winner.
Thank you to all our readers who participated. Once again, your input made this event a
Favorite Boating Resort (U.S.)
Florida’s 60-acre Hawks Cay Resort, located halfway between Key Largo and Key West, boasts hundreds of guest rooms and villas, a full-service marina, six restaurants, a saltwater lagoon, five swimming pools, a spa, and plenty of water activities.
Favorite Boating Resort (Non-U.S.)
With 40-beachfront acres and a prime location within Marsh Harbour, Abaco Beach Resort offers guests access to a variety of activities ranging from island-hopping and diving to shopping and dining.
Favorite Power Catamaran
With models ranging from 28 to 70 feet, every Aquila Power Catamaran delivers exceptional performance and reliability and offers best-in-class features, such as the expansive fordeck on the Aquila 70.
Favorite Cruising Itinerary
From fishing to diving to ecotourism, the Bahamas is still a fan favorite. Comprising 700 islands and more than 2,000 rocks and cays, the archipelago is easy to reach from the East Coast. There are plenty of places to explore, so boaters can make a cruising itinerary for a few days or a few weeks.
Favorite Cooler Brand
Yeti’s hard- and soft-sided insulated coolers are extremely durable and ready for any outdoor adventure. Available in a variety of sizes and colors, like the Hopper M20 Backpack (right), they are built to be by a boater’s side for each catch or cruise.
Lauderdale Marine Center, recently acquired by Safe Harbor, is the largest recreational yacht service facility in the U.S. The 60-plus-acre complex can handle vessels up to 200 feet with a maximum hauling capacity of 485 tons.
Favorite Water Toy
1st Place: Jet Ski/WaveRunner
It’s no surprise that a Jet Ski/WaveRunner is the favorite water toy. These very reliable personal watercraft offer hours of fun and the ability to reach high speeds while remaining very easy
2nd Place: Stand-Up Paddle Board
Favorite Personal Locator Beacon
ACR Electronics designs and manufactures cutting-edge rescue beacons and survival equipment for the marine market and more. Personal Locator Beacons, such as the new ResQLink AIS (right), aid in rapid response.
Favorite Boating Snack
1st Place: Beef jerky
Relaxing on your boat can give you the munchies. From salty to sweet, there are many types of snacks, but our readers chose beef jerky as their favorite treat.
2nd Place: Chips
3rd Place: Pretzels
Must-Have Boating Item
1st Place: Sunglasses
Don’t get onboard without your sunglasses! They are the best protection for your eyes from sun glare. Polarized lenses can help when identifying shallows, reefs, and hazardous objects.
2nd Place: GPS/Fish Finder
3rd Place: VHF Radio
Zodiac inflatable boats, like the Medline 6.8 (left), provide the ultimate on-the-water experience for any water sport. Benefits include stress-free docking, lightweight towing, reduced drag, and better fuel efficiency.
Must-Have Galley Items
1st Place: Coffee Maker
That cup of joe is important any time of the day, so a coffee maker is most definitely a must-have galley item!
2nd Place: Blender
3rd Place: Microwave
Tito’s Vodka is America’s original craft vodka. Produced in Austin at Texas’ oldest legal distillery by Fifth Generation Inc., it is distilled from corn using old-fashioned pot stills. Tito’s Vodka is naturally gluten-free.
2nd Place: Bud Light
Favorite Motor Yacht
With more than 90 years of yachting excellence, every Hinckley is the perfect composition of epoxy-infused carbon, exquisite detailing, and refined performance. The Hinckley Talaria 57 (below) delivers ease of operation, style, and innovation.
Favorite Vacation Destination
With crystal-clear blue waters, gorgeous white-sand beaches, and plenty of islands to explore, there’s no doubt the Bahamas is the No. 1 vacation destination!