Sailors Wharf Yacht Yards’ Jopie Helsen awarded 2015 Member of the Year by SWFMIA

Our fearless leader, Jopie Helsen, was awarded the 2015 Member of the Year by SWFMIA. Jopie received the award for outstanding service to the marine industry. Hans Wilson, president of SWFMIA and also president of the State Association and Kevin Carlan, president of Mastry Engine Center, chairman of the Tampa Bay Section presented the award.

The award read as follows:

“Lead Me, Follow Me, or Get Out of My Way”, General George S. Patton

(or was it Jopie Helsen?)

Many people have great ideas and good intentions, but few have the focus and drive it takes to carry through. Fortunately for the Marine Industry, Jopie Helsen is one of those few. His success as a world- class racing sailor, a boat manufacturer, and since 1978, owner of St. Petersburg’s The Sailor’s Wharf Yacht Yard is well known. Jopie’s leadership and energy has been the catalyst in the growth of the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association in the Tampa Bay area. He has worked tirelessly to educate business and government leaders on the economic impact of recreational boating, the need to responsible manage Southwest Florida’s magnificent waterfront, and the importance of promoting the boating lifestyle to residents and visitors. Husband, Father, Business Owner, Marine Industry Veteran, and Friend.  Thanks Jopie for all you do.


Kevin Carlan in talking about Jopie and his passion for the marine industry on the Florida West Coast also, joking about what a pain in the ass he can be. We, who work with him at the Sailor’s Wharf, on a daily bases concur but we still love working with him!


About American Boat Builders & Repairers Association (ABBRA)

Founded in 1943, ABBRA is a national marine trade organization that represents, is dedicated to, and seeks to strengthen and encourage professionalism in the boat building, marine service, and boat repair industry.