The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) has named Don Galey of Galey’s Marine in Bakersfield, California as the recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award. The US dealer association announced the inaugural award this week.

“Don Galey’s name has been synonymous with leadership in the marine industry, beyond just the dealership level, for decades,” said Matt Gruhn, MRAA president, in a statement. “Don has been a leader for the MRAA, for the boat brands and other partners he represents, for his community, and for his dealer colleagues across North America. He epitomises the type of individual MRAA seeks to recognise with this Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Galey has worked in the boating industry for more than 62 years. He grew up in his parents’ boat and motorcycle store and purchased the business after graduating from college. He did away with the motorcycle business and renamed it Galey’s Marine Supply, Inc.

Galey was part of several groundbreaking initiatives in the boating industry, including the creation of the MRAA, the launch of Spader Business Management/MRAA 20 Groups, and the introduction of floorplan financing for marine dealers. He has been a board member and chairman of both MRAA and the Southern California Marine Dealer Association. He has also been on several manufacturers’ advisory boards, and he found time to chair local organisations, including the Better Business Bureau, Bakersfield College Alumni Association and Ducks Unlimited.

At 81, Galey still works at Galey’s Marine beside his son and grandsons. Galey called the award an honor and reminisced about his early days in the boating industry. “I have many fond memories of the original six dealers working to create MRAA and the hurdles that we had to overcome,” said Galey. “It makes me very proud to see the incredible growth fueled by Matt and his crew. Thank you to MRAA, the dealers, and manufacturers that add their passion to the recreational boating industry.”

The MRAA Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented December 6 at the MRAA Opening Night Awards Celebration as part of the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo.