NMEA Conference and Expo Poised to Attract More Marine Technicians


The National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) has released the program for its upcoming International Marine Electronics Conference and Expo. The event is set to take place at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando in Florida from September 26 to 29.

The NMEA believes the program will help attract more attendees to the event this year, including marine electronics technicians from Canada. According to Bruce Angus, NMEA's Interim Executive Director, last year the event attracted 359 registered attendees including staff for the event's 54 exhibitors. This year, Angus hopes to grow attendance by 20 percent. Angus says that more than 50 of the association's 620 members are based in Canada.

"There is a tremendous amount of interesting things going on at the event this year,' says Angus. "We're going to have factory training on the Saturday. If you're a technician and you want access to individual factory courses, you need to make sure you're available when they come to your area and sometimes you're not always able to attend them. Well, we're going to have 12 two-hour sessions. So, for example, if you want to go to a Garmin, Furuno, Raymarine and Navico training session, you could do it all sequentially in a day and receive a huge amount of training value in one event.'

Currently scheduled to provide dedicated two-hour technical training sessions at the conference are Navico, Raymarine, Furuno, Garmin, Intellian, KVH, Sea Tel, Gemeco, FLIR, Egersund Marine Electronics, Johnson Outdoors and SI-TEX.

Other highlights of this year's conference will include:
•  Three education tracks with in-depth information on business, systems design, and NMEA 2000 installation topics
•  Comprehensive factory training sessions by a dozen manufacturers
•  NMEA training and certification for MEI (Marine Electronics Installer), Advanced MEI, and NMEA 2000
•  A first look at exciting new products for 2013, over three exhibit days

The NMEA conference will also include the NMEA Product Awards. This year the awards will have a new category and, for the first time, all NMEA members will be eligible to vote for the products. In the past, only dealers could vote.

This year the event is being held at the same venue and during the same week as the 2012 Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM) Annual Assembly Meeting and Conference. The RTCM conference will begin earlier in the week, running from September 23 to 28. "The idea is we put these two events together to reduce the cost for those who might be attending both events and consolidate some activity,' explains Angus. "Members of the Canadian Coast Guard who attend the RTCM conference will have the opportunity to attend the NMEA sessions as well.'

For non-exhibitors, full registration for all four days of the NMEA International Marine Electronics Conference and Expo will cost NMEA members US $350 prior to August 1.

To see the full schedule click here