A welcoming back sort of entry & my first marine industry association meeting.

Oh. My. Goodness. Hi Everyone! I’ve missed all of you while I’ve been away. So what’s up with me? Well, the reason I’ve been MIA is because in my personal life I have the theatre world and I have been insanely busy with that. In February, I was stage managing four different productions at one time while working full time, as well as creating this fabulous new writer’s group for my local theatre, and running a couple of other projects as well. My writer’s group performance is coming up Friday April 13th, and I am super excited to share with the public what talent we have. All 4 of the plays that I was stage managing are now over, and I am just focused on my writer’s group for a while, until the Summer One Acts start up in the middle of summer.

Because I have so much passion for this industry and the theatre, I am still fighting with how I’m going to manage both of them considering both take so much time, energy, dedication… and worst of all, most all of the dates coincide with one another usually during the international shows. I have not been able to travel for a while, and I really miss that. However, things are kind of falling into place…. so I guess what I really needed was to just let go and give it time and patience and… well… now it’s happening. So, we’ll see.

The last real boat show I attended was the St Pete Show back in December with the guys I work with (that was also my last entry on here), and then I just went for an hour or so to the Tampa Fairgrounds show back in March of this year. Not much to report there.

Also, this week, it has been exactly one year since I left Thunder. I can’t believe it. I miss my family like crazy but I’m in a completely different place now in life and work itself. I remember discussing my needs and wants with them as we said goodbye… and one year later, the universe has literally aligned to give me what I truly needed, which is what I have right now and moving forward. I’m crazy blessed and happy.

SO TODAY….. Marked a brand new milestone. I attended my first ever marine industry association. 

Before I go on, let me fill you in… a while back towards the end of last year, my guys at work and I were looking for an association for the Tampa Bay area by my own request. I couldn’t find anything, and it wasn’t until recently I was talking to Mike from The Mariner that I found out WE DO have an association for the area!!! OH MY. So I looked into it…. and found out that it’s hosted by the Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association.

My first marine industry association experience: it was surreal. 

Last year or the year before, I was only dreaming of joining… and now… I have, and it was really real… that I was sitting in a room full of industry professionals. Also, crazy, and amazing. Amazingly crazy.

They had a list of topics they were discussing and nearly every. single. one. of. them. were topics of things I wanted to help the industry become better at or fix!!!! I was like, ‘whoa… is this really happening?’ Yep. Totally meant for me to be there today, because IT WAS LITERALLY LIKE READING FROM MY VERY OWN LIST THAT I CREATED A YEAR AGO that I just kind of gave up in my old life, as things started changing for me. You know what they say… that butterfly theory – if you let it go and it comes back to you – it was meant to be yours after all. And so. We start there.

I signed my company up for a membership, and I am planning on getting involved in whatever realms I can for the time being. I have a lot of ideas on how I know can help (or want to help) and hopefully fill in some of their empty spots of needing someone to do that. Being there today completely meant everything to me because it has turned my world around… and I have felt more BSG than I have in a long time.

This is a new chapter for BSG, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Love you guys!
Until next time, Karen Maeby the Boat Show Girl

Day One of IBEX – BoatShowGirl shows up incognito!


Two years ago in 2014, I went to my first IBEX Show. I was at a different point in my life and career, so I was just taking in everything (just like I would an ordinary boat show). This year, I had an agenda, and I fulfilled it to a certain point.

Some pointers as to what happened….

  • Met the Boating Industry folks!
  • Talked to several different professionals who are with companies that might be able to help me in the future, and each one of them gave me great advice, great ideas, etc…
  • Randomly ran into two old friends and ended up walking around with them for a while.
  • Got to see a 3D printer live in action.
  • Met up with my Canadian friend later on and walked with him/his dad.


Once again, this experience was much different than 2 years ago. I will confess as I walked in the door, I was intimidated by the professionals I was surrounded by. If I’m defined by my work, I’m just an administrative assistant (with her hands in every single department) so I really didn’t belong there next to those who run departments, businesses and the like, however, everyone knows how much I want to be something in this industry so I am making my presence known.


Every single show I go to, I have to get a photo of quads. BOW DOWN TO THE POWER.


I was on a boat. *_*


The goods I brought back from IBEX 2016.

Favorite freebee item / gift: 3D prototype that was given to me (I’ll love that thing forever. It opens up & holds something small.) 

Second Favorite freebee: a flashlight pen by Starweather & Shepley.

Favorite product: 3D Printer

Favorite moment: walking up to ABBRA & seeing their booth where people who visited filled out a little tag with their name / company / something about the industry

Favorite “Fan Girl” moment: meeting the people behind the Boating Industry magazine. (Yes, I’m a serious industry nerd.) 

And, so far, that’s it. In the next few days, I’m going to write up some articles regarding today and I’ll post as soon as I am done!

– Karen Maeby

Two Year Anniversary

Today is the actual date of my two year anniversary at Thunder Marine. Yay! What a crazy and fun ride it’s been so far. Like I’ve told everyone, every day is like The Office, and I am more than blessed to be there. I’ve accomplished so much since having started working there, and I’m looking forward to many more years. Cheers!

We celebrated Friday with blackened shrimp tacos – super duper delicious.

shrimp tacos

&& Late Friday night I went to the mall and bought 2 Betsey Johnson jewelry pieces in celebration. Queen Pirate earrings and skull necklace. Both beautiful and perfect for me.


I also talked about Thunder on World of Boating podcast. 14:30ish is where my segment starts.

If you’ve come here for new blog entries and there’s nothing new, I apologize. I’ve been wrapped up in the season of the boating world, and some new projects in my life that will keep me busy the rest of the summer. I’ve still been appearing on at least every other World of Boating podcast episode, so you can hear from me now. I’ll get back to writing here as soon as I can.

How the boat shows led me to becoming Boat Show Girl.

Now that I have (finally) attended all of the Show Management boat shows, I can say that every single one that I have been to since 4 years ago have all been different in their own way. And, that’s not the only thing that is different–my experiences have been too–and you wouldn’t expect that when a good portion of exhibiters are repeats in some of them especially when I’ve been to a couple of shows multiple times.

Four years ago when I started traveling around to the shows, it was mostly local and it was just an event in my industry for me to take photos, blog, learn of new boats/products and collect the boat literature so that I could write poetry. Then, I started going to the larger shows out of town. But in the last year, things have changed because of my career goals, and I started BoatShowGirl to become a standing professional in the marine industry.

From my previous work background, I usually tend to look at the pretty side of the boats, even though I currently work at a service center and know what it’s like on that end. With boats I tend to look for design, style and fonts of boat names/brands that really catch my eye. For products, if there’s something new and amazing I will sing praises about it, I will also do the same for accessory vendors because I’m big on supporting retailers. Oh, and I also choose my favorite “boat literature” look as well.

As Boat Show Girl I am realizing that the most important professional review that I can give is the overall look and feel of the show, including anything unique to the individual shows, new products and new boats. I also have my own review of how the show turned out for me personally. Those comments mixed together makes a review that would be from Boat Show Girl. I have to remember that I do not have an assigned area, I am assigned to the entire show.

From day one, boat shows have become my savior from stress. Let’s talk about the latest show at Palm Beach for instance. I had been so caught up in the day to day that my mind was been completely clogged, but as soon as I went to the show, my body/mind/soul just cleared out. Now that I’m home I feel like a different person, have a clearer mind for what I need to do, and ready to get to the next step.

The way I feel leading up to going to the boat shows, while there, and the feeling that I come home with–I really do belong at boat shows. I know I have a little ways to go before I perfect my intentions on going there but all of this is a learning experience. The people (new friends), boat brands, products, and industry companies that I have found because of the show have been amazing. The journey going from just an attendee to exhibiter to having my own badge with BSG on it has been the most unbelievable… and it’s all happening pretty quickly.

I am so ready to get started on my next goal for Boat Show Girl and cannot wait until the next show which is Suncoast! See you there!

My true start in the industry.

I feel that I need to write this entry so that people will know my back story of how I became so involved in the boating industry.

Yesterday I visited the new location of where TJSS will continue to do business, and I’ve never been happier to see where they landed.

The (shortened) story: My then boss and I started the company from ground up. Literally. September of 2011 I replied to an ad posted on Craigslist inquiring about a job to sell items on eBay. Since I had two years of selling professionally on eBay, I knew I’d be good for the position. So he hired me.

He would give me about 20 cards with information and I had to put it online along with my photos. Each week, we’d increase the amount put online. Let me tell you, learning jet ski parts was the death of me, but I somehow struggled through. Once [we] realized we were onto something, that’s when we started looking into opening a business.

When it was just me… I did the cleaning of parts, photography, typing/posting on eBay, customer contact (non-tech issues), beginning graphics and marketing. And, I designed the logo.

February of 2012 we found a retail spot and then added a few employees to help with the daily operation. We needed some more parts, so my boss looked into buying a large salvage lot from Thunder (where I work now). Side note: When I walked into Thunder Service, I just had this feeling that I’d be working there sometime in my lifetime, and I was right. 

The rest of that year we spent improving our daily tasks, upping our items on eBay and spiffing up text, customer service, processes and just making our new retail space the happening place.

In February of 2013, two of us went to the Miami Boat Show to take a look around and see what new products we could potentially sell at our business. This is the show that started my love for boat shows. I had an epiphany while there and that kept to me all that time. After that I attended show after show after show… even though I was disappointed after going to smaller shows after seeing Miami setup. I came back wanting to do something with our boating parts, but could never really figure it out.

2013 brought a lot of changes with new employees, direction and jobs. More things changed, improved, we seemed to have direction, and was building a reputable customer list and business contacts. It was getting busier and busier.

In the summer of 2013, I ended up leaving my full time position at TJSS to pursue my own dreams of opening my own business to do graphics/marketing for other companies. I did that for a while, as well as taking care of their graphics, and then we parted ways in early 2014.

I started to miss the marine industry pretty badly, so I called and talked to Thunder at the end of 2013 and early 2014. (Even though I knew of and researched so many companies, that was the company I wanted to work for.) I interviewed / talked to them a few times before something opened up at service, and May of 2014 I finally got hired in at what I call my dream company.

I learned A LOT and will always be thankful for every moment of TJSS. I found my love of the industry from there, I learned a lot of different skills (related and unrelated to the work), became experienced in a ton of things and found a love for start up businesses. And, even though I’m no longer there, I still have a family to support and wish all the best to especially with a brand new start at a brand new location that seems more appropriate for the business anyway.