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Gator Guards Wins IBI Export Excellence Award

Gator Guards Wins IBI Export Excellence Award

Dedication and Commitment Lead to first IBI Export Excellence Award

FARMINGTON, IL - Gator Guards® was recently awarded the inaugural International Boat Industry “Export Excellence Award” at the 2018 IBEX Show in Tampa, FL. An American family manufacturer of marine protection accessories with exemplary growth in international markets showed the judges that international trade is alive and well for small businesses who are up to the challenge. Matched against giants of the boating industry such as Mercury Marine, Correct Craft, and Dometic – all well deserving of the award – Ed Slack, IBI Editor, was impressed with the results.  “The judges praised, in particular, the dedication and commitment of Gator Guards’ small team. "Ultimately the judges felt that Gator Guards highlighted the fact that it’s possible to be the best, no matter what your size," said Slack. The seeds that have been planted are coming to fruition for this family company. The strategic moves to invest in a veteran of the EU market, add additional workforce and utilize the grants and support available from the NMMA, METS, and government organizations have helped jump start a small company on the world stage. The Gator Guards brand continues to grow and protect boats around the globe. “Roughly four years ago we made our move into the international marketplace in response to growing customer interest in protecting their watercraft” “Initially we had an incredibly difficult entry into the EU market due to the fact that our competitor was there before us. Our focus over the past three years on education, repeated visits, samples and product testing has won the trust and respect of our current international distributors. We are finally seeing brand recognition of our marine protection products and positive sales growth from these efforts,” says Sue Smith, President of Gator Guards.  

Behind the Company

The Smith family initially developed the flagship product, KeelShield®, in 1994. Becoming an industry staple in protecting hulls from beaching hazards. Since then the line has grown to protect skegs, non-skid material, paddle sports and more. All the while keeping production 100% made in the USA based out of rural Farmington, IL going on 25 years. The latest growth is fueled by the proprietary Gator Shield Polyurea Coatings – which provides OEM manufacturers an extremely efficient and durable coatings solution that speeds up the assembly process, improves fit & finish, and decreases costs. To learn more visit or call (888) 594-5335



Founded in 1994, the Gator Guards team has been dedicated to researching, developing and providing the best protective technologies and products to the marine industry. Our product lines include, KeelShield®, BowShield®, SkegShield®, GatorSkinz®, Hitch Guard®, Gator Shield Coatings, and Gator Patch®.

With almost 25 years in the business, supplying over 30 OEM manufacturers and thousands of satisfied customers, we proudly stand behind the best products in the industry. Made 100 percent in the USA. The entire lineup of quality marine protection products can be found across the globe through our distributor and dealer partners.

To learn more visit