Distinguished Service Award

Nominations Now Open For 2022 Award

The Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award is an annual honor bestowed on a sailor who has distinguished him or herself through outstanding and selfless service to the overall advancement of the sailing industry.

The awardee receives an inscribed Anniversary 8-Day Ship Bell Clock on a mahogany base that is a limited edition precision timepiece donated by Weems & Plath.

Created by the Annapolis Boat Shows in 2014, the objective is to inspire members of the sailing community to strive for high standards of excellence, service, and commitment. 

Nominated by their peers in the sailing industry, the final selection for the Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award will be made by a panel of judges who represent high standards of excellence in sailing.

The annual award will be announced at the Sailing Industry breakfast at the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, MD on October 14, 2022.

Click Here To Place A Nomination

2021 – Sally Helme awarded the Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award  

The seventh annual Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award was presented to Sally Helme. 

“Sally has been involved with the sailing industry since she graduated from Princeton University,” said Bonnier Corporation Associate Publisher Ted Ruegg. “Her tireless work has produced the annual Sailing Industry Study which she started at International Marine in order to provide data on the sailing industry that did not exist at the time.”

A strong supporter of US SAILING, past president of Sail America, and a leader for the National Sailing Hall of Fame, Sally’s “commitment to sailors and those who work in the industry is without question,” said Cruising World Editor Mark Pillsbury. “She has helped welcome countless newcomers to the sport and worked to ensure that sailing companies thrive.” 

Press Release

2019 – Robert Lipkin awarded the Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award  

The Annapolis Boat Shows announces Robert Lipkin, aka Bob Bitchin, the winner of the 6th annual Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award. Trading in his Harley for sails, Robert became a dedicated sailor that has sailed the globe. To share his passion, Bob created Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine, which also became the first and only nationally televised series about the sailing lifestyle. Today, he continues to inspire others to sail by hosting numerous Cruiser parties, seminars, and through his nine sailing novels.

Press Release

2018 – Gary Jobson Awarded the Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award 

The fifth annual Annapolis Boat Shows’ Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award was presented to Gary Jobson. “For more than forty years Gary Jobson has been a tireless promoter of sailing across the United States and around the world,” said Paul Jacobs, president of the Annapolis Boat Shows. “He promotes sailing and the sailing lifestyle through lectures, tours, personal appearances, books, articles, television, and film. He has written 19 books and narrated or produced thousands of films on sailing. He has been the voice and face of sailing for decades on ESPN and NBC.” 


2017 – Olaf and Peter Harken Presented with the Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award

The fourth annual Annapolis Boat Shows’ Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award went to not one person but two. Olaf and Peter Harken, founders of Harken, Inc. an international manufacturer specializing in performance sailing hardware. Harken designs, engineers, manufactures, and distributes cutting-edge, innovative and practical solutions for the global sailing community.  Read more


2016 – Margaret Podlich Wins Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award 

absfall2016thursday15_cMargaret  is a lifelong sailor who began her career at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and then moved to the Ocean Conservancy. The Clean Water Trust (later absorbed by the BoatU.S. Foundation) recruited her in 1994 to launch a clean boating program. In 2005, she was promoted to the position of vice president of government affairs, and in 2011, Podlich became president of BoatU.S. After a long and storied career she left BoatU.S. in late 2016. Read More

Spin Sheet

Press Release

2015 – Annapolis Boat Shows Honors Inspirational Sailor, John Arndt

John Arndt is the associate publisher of Latitude 38 and the founder of the global sailing celebration Summer Sailstice. Read More

Spin Sheet

Trade Only Today

Scuttlebutt Sailing News

2014 – Alistair Murray Recognized with First Annual United States Sailboat Show Sailing Industry Distinguished Service Award

Alistair Murray was recognized for his many contributions to the sailing industry and his ability to blend the sport of sailing with business. Read More

Spin Sheet

Trade Only Today