My Life as a Boat Dealer – Cobalt Dealer Meeting, MDCE, and Boating Industry Top 100 Recap

My posts have been light which may have you wondering… where the heck has Abbey been?

Well, the answer is traveling A LOT for work! If you are just tuning in, I sell boats and yachts for Seattle Boat Company, a local leader in the boating industry here in Seattle. This past week, I was given the opportunity to do some work traveling representing our company SBC, this time to Orlando Florida. It was for a complete MARATHON of events, including MDCE (the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo), the 2017 Cobalt Dealer Meeting and 50th Anniversary Celebration, and the Boating Industry Top 100 Gala. Basically, we woke up in the morning and were working by 7:45am Eastern, attended countless keynote speakers and seminars only to head to our rooms to clean up for some kind of formal event in the evening. It was all exhausting, but at the same time a very special thing to be a part of.

Don’t worry, I won’t bore you on all the seminars! Though they were all amazing and full of great information for me as a salesperson, they are surely nothing anyone wants to hear about on a lifestyle blog. MDCE was ALL that, and if you are in the marine world and need to gain some industry-specific management/sales training, I would absolutely suggest sending staff.

However, there was plenty of other fun to be had!

The Cobalt Dealer Meeting was the first part of our adventure on the trip. We started off bright and early in the morning at a place called “Big Toho Marina” (on a lake I cannot pronounce) test driving new for 2018 Cobalt Boats and Yachts. My favorite of the bunch was an easy choice – a new 36-foot yacht that was very sleek, modern, and wonderful for entertaining. The Cobalt A36 Yacht will be a bit hit back in Seattle for sure, and it had me excited!

2018 Cobalt A36 Yacht 1
2018 Cobalt A36 Yacht… stunning!


Moving on to that evening, we were shuttled off to the Cobalt Boats 50th Anniversary Dealer Meeting at Sea World in Orlando. Trust me, I was not a fan of the venue (I honestly thought Sea World had been shut down after Blackfish was put out)… but their choice of hosting here was because of a last-minute curve ball coming from all the major hurricanes wiping out the resort it was originally planned at just a few months earlier this fall. Well, despite the controversy of the venue, my coworkers and I decided we would put our best foot forward.

Sadly for us, it was a whopping 40 DEGREES in Florida for our visit, so the event did start out cold! There were passed appetizers for a cocktail hour outside where we had the chance to admire all their Christmas lights and meet with some rescued wildlife like this little owl! We then moved on to the special for Cobalt ‘Shamu Show’… again – torn feeling but gosh they are amazingly intelligent and adorable creatures! To end the evening, we ended in a completely decked-out banquet hall in appropriately marine colors, where we sat through a few hours of dealer awards and presentations. We took home 3 incredible awards including Regional and Worldwide Top CSI awards, plus the largest single market dealer award… humbling to say the least! There was also a very emotional tone to the evening as it was the official farewell to Cobalt Boats founder Paxon St. Clair as he sells his company and retires. If you have an interest in boating and some free time I would encourage you to research Paxon and the origination of Cobalt Boats, as it is a true story of an incredible man with a vision living the American Dream. There were lots of farewells and few dry eyes, and it was a special event to be a part of.


Cobalt Boats Seattle Boat Co Awards

Fast forward through more keynote speakers and that brings us to the Top 100 Gala on the final night of the trip. Boating Industry Magazine has an event they have been running for the past 13 years where all marine dealerships in the United States are given the opportunity to submit an application and be ranked among their peers. Those who rank 20-100 all get honorable mentions in no specific order, but once you get into the top 20 you know you are someone special. If you win #1 two years in a row, you are inducted into the Top 100 Hall of Fame to give others a fair shot at obtaining the title. We were lucky enough to rank #4 in the nation, though we had our hearts set on #1.


2017 Boating Industry Top 100 Gala 2017 8

2017 Boating Industry Top 100 Gala 2017 11

Well there you have it! That is where I have been, and though I had fun and was honored to be a part of it all, the sleepless hotel nights and room-temperature plated dinners had me kissing the ground when I walked through the front door of my house.

I hope you enjoyed this little snippet into my life as a boat dealer! If you have any questions about what I do, my dealership, or just marine topics in general, you can always email me!

Thanks for reading!

X.O. Abbey Co.

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