The Top 100 … 2019 and beyond

This year we will be celebrating the 15th year of the Top 100. Since 2005, Boating Industry and the Leadership Alliance have recognized the best boat dealers in North America for their financial success, marketing, customer service, industry advocacy and overall business acumen.

The 2019 Top 100 will culminate with the annual Top 100 Gala, Nov. 24, at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Fla., on the final evening of the new Boating Industry Elevate Summit.

Elevate is our new conference that will focus on important business trends and economic issues facing the entire industry. Elevate is Nov. 22-24, 2019 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. You’ll be able to find more on Elevate as we firm up the schedule and details at 

While the industry has changed a lot in the last decade and a half, the goal of the Top 100 has not. The Top 100 not only honors the top dealers, but – more importantly – also shares their best practices with the rest of the industry. It’s about making the thousands of dealers in the industry better. We like to think of it as the industry’s biggest 20 Group. That reflects the mission of everything we do at Boating Industry – sharing the best ideas from the top dealers, manufacturers and service providers with the entire marine industry.

If you haven’t applied before, you might be surprised to learn how much better the process can make your company. Many dealers have told me over the years that simply going through the application has made them take a hard look at their practices and operations. 

One of my favorite stories along those lines is from Fred Pace, who was the managing partner of Legendary Marine when that company won Dealer of the Year honors in 2012 and 2013. 

Even after the company won its second Dealer of the Year award, and was no longer required to fill out the application, Fred had his employees go through the process just because of the improvements it had helped Legendary make in the past.

We’re happy to provide feedback on your application as well, whether or not you made the list, about how you stacked up compared to the rest of the Top 100.

We’re also continually looking to bring more benefits to the dealers who are part of the Top 100. Along those lines, this year you’ll notice an advertisement in every NMMA show guide that recognizes the Top 100 dealers as we work to increase consumer awareness of the program. 

Top 100 dealers will also receive a discounted admission to the Boating Industry Elevate Summit. We’ll continue to try to find new ways to bring value to the dealers, so keep an eye out for that.

The Top 100 application is now available at Applications will be due June 24, but getting an early start on the process is always a good idea. 

If you have any questions or issues as you start working on the application, be sure to ask for help. You can email me directly at and keep an eye out for more tips and advice throughout the year.

Jonathan Sweet is the director of the Boating Industry Top 100 program and former editor-in-chief of Boating Industry magazine. He can be reached at or 763-383-4419. 

Follow him on Twitter at @JonathanWSweet.


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