The staff of Marine
Electronics Journal greatly
appreciates the time and
effort contributed by
the following NMEA
members to maintaining
the magazine’s high
ComMar Sales Inc.
Marina del Rey, CA
George Ensley Jr.
Ensley’s Radio Co.
New Bern, NC
St. Pete Beach, FL
United Radio Service
Gordon West’s Radio School
Costa Mesa, CA
Bethel Marine Electronics
Secretary to British
Marine Electrical &
The National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) was formed in 1957 and efined by our IRS status a “Business League” or a group of members that share a common business interest. The association has three voting membership categories defined by NMEA bylaws as Manufacturers, Manufacturer Dealerships and Trade members.
The initial concept of NMEA was as a “Dealer Association” made up of manufacturer and dealership members that worked together to ensure that products
made by the manufacturers and sold by dealerships were supported via a dealer
network. In the 1980s, NMEA began working with manufacturers to develop
NMEA digital interface standards, making NMEA a dealer/manufacturer association. In the 1990s, NMEA began holding its annual conference.
Now we jump to the present where NMEA membership has evolved into an
“Industry Association” encompassing all aspects of the marine electronics industry.
This includes dealers with a storefront as well as independent installers, manufacturers, boat builders, distributors, students, sales representatives, and even the occasional technical end user.
A question asked frequently is “what does NMEA do for me as a member?” Being an NMEA member gives
you and your company opportunities—to get member discounts when attending the NMEA conference and
NMEA installer training events, and when purchasing NMEA standards. NMEA gives you the opportunity
to network with others like you in your industry. NMEA provides the forum and vehicle for you, but it is
your decision whether or not to jump onboard and get involved.
We cannot solve all of the issues within our industry. Some tend to partially blame NMEA for the industry
changes that might have affected their business.
At a recent American Society for Association Executives event I attended, the keynote speaker asked the
audience: “Toys R Us, a former toy giant, is going out of business. Who do you think put them out of busi-
ness?” A person in the crowd answered “Amazon.” One would think that is the correct answer, right? The
speaker kindly told the person they were wrong, explaining that, “Toys R Us put themselves out of business
because they did not adapt to the changes in the industry.”
That really hit home for me. Change happens. Some like it and some resist it. The exact changes in our
industry are happening in other industries. Will we adapt?
President & Executive Director
How your industry
association has changed