Every year, a dedicated panel of judges appointed by the Australian Marine Industries Federation takes on the monumental task of choosing Australia's Boats and marine products of the Year.
And when the 2006 Sydney International Boat Show arrives at Darling Harbour for that eagerly awaited, six exciting days in August (3-8), show visitors will be able to inspect the judging panel's choice for themselves.
Standing unchallenged as the largest recreational boating exhibition staged in the Southern Hemisphere, the Sydney International Boat Show this year will attract more than 350 exhibitors and feature the largest marina display on Cockle Bay in the show's 39-year history.
More than 300 vessels, among them many multi-million dollar craft capable of cruising the world, will make their home on the specially constructed marina, sure to be one of the more spectacular highlights of the show.
The prestigious Boat of the Year awards are judged over many categories; Cruiser, Trailerable and Non-trailerable, Fishing, Trailerable and Non-trailerable, Dayboat, Custom-built, Ski/Performance and a section covering imported vessels, power and sail.
In addition to selecting the category winners, the judges also nominate Commendation Awards in those categories where the judging bordered on being too close to call.
If course, trailer boats represent the industry's 'bread and butter', and as is the case in the United States Australia's most popular (read largest selling!) boats come in the half cabin/bowrider/runabout outboard-powered range.
Visitors to the 2006 Sydney International Boat Show will be able to inspect first hand the craft judged top in their class, both locally built and imported.
The Haines Group can always be relied upon to come up with a winner and the company's latest bowrider, the Signature 580, named 2006 Dayboat of the Year, is sure to gather its share of admirers.
TR Marine, headed by well-known high performance identity Ian Tricker, will be displaying the Fishing Trailerable Boat of the Year, the Haines Hunter 490 Pro-Strike, together with the Quintrex Freedom Sport, awarded a Commendation.
The dealership will also exhibit one of the top imports, the stylish Crownline 240EX, almost identical, but slightly larger than the Crownline 220EX, named Imported Trailerable Powerboat of the Year.
Waterski enthusiasts are sure to gather at the Force Boats display where the star of the exhibit will be the Force F21, honoured as the Ski/Performance Boat of the Year.
Big boat fans will gather at the Cockle Bay Marina, largest on-water display in the Sydney International Boat Show's 39-year history.
Arch-rivals, The Riviera Group and Maritimo will be hosting impressive displays, each showing craft granted Commendation Awards in the Cruiser of the Year categories.
The Riviera Group will be hosting a world release of its stylish 47 Sport Yacht, while Maritimo's eagerly awaited 48 flybridge will be seen for the first time on NSW waters.
One of the largest boats at this year's show, the awesome Predator 72 by Sunseeker, was named Imported Non-trailerable Powerboat of the Year and it's an absolute stunner.
Sadly, no Australian sailboat manufacturer 'made the cut' at the Australian Marine Awards, but for sailboat fans the Imported Sailboat of the Year, the sleek and efficient Swedish yacht, the Hallberg-Rassy 43 will attract plenty of interest.
Being among the first to see all the craft named top in their field is just one of a score of reasons to visit the Sydney International Boat Show.
Organiser, the Boating Industry Association of NSW, is always mindful of the need to offer a galaxy of entertainment to heighten visitor interest and 2006 is certainly no exception.
The Yamaha Fishing Clinic, daily fashion parades, Better Boating Workshops, Strictly Sail and the Discover Sailing Centre, a fantastic display of memorabilia featured in James Bond movies and, on the Saturday of the show the always amusing (and educational) Boat Building Competition.
There is so much on, so much to see and do that boating enthusiasts, anglers, water skiers, and scuba divers in fact, all who love the great outdoors view the Sydney International Boat Show as an event that cannot me missed.
While at the show visitors can renew boating licences and boat registration, talk insurance or finance and check out the latest in boating equipment and accessories.
Marine electronics, engines, fishing tackle, it's all there at the Sydney International Boat Show for 2006.
Proudly sponsored by Club Marine Insurance and NSW Maritime, the show will be open 10am to 8pm (halls and marina) daily.
Admission charges are $17 (single adult), $40 (family ticket admitting two adults and up to three children aged 6-17 years), $15 (Seniors Card holders), $11 (Pensioners) and $9 (children aged 6-17 years).
Children under 5-years admitted free.
For those unfamiliar with Darling Harbour, no venue could be more easily accessed with numerous parking stations within a few minutes walk of the main entrance and all manner of public transport serving the complex, from ferries and monorail to buses and the suburban rail network.
And Darling Harbour is only a short downhill stroll from the city's central business area.
Can you afford not to be there?
For further information visit the show's website, www.sydneyboatshow.com.au