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NYBA Board of Directors: Seattle-Based Yacht Broker Byron Shirley Gets Elected

Sarah Nadler | January 19, 2024

Denison broker Byron Shirley has been elected to the Northwest Yacht Brokers Association Board of Directors.

Yacht broker Byron Shirley has been with Denison Yachting for ten years, helping to open the Seattle office and giving a decade of service to the Pacific Northwest market. He brings a fresh perspective to help grow the local boating industry as it evolves, especially with his specific understanding of the younger generation. A large part of his focus is creating a new generation of boaters with a major emphasis on quality of life and building memorable experiences. Trying to bring back the “charm” and even romanticism of boating, he also draws from his other business experiences, including a lot of marketing, relationship-building, and customer service. This perfect mix of experiences has made a unique career for Byron. But last month, he took it up a notch.

Seattle-Based Denison Yacht Broker Byron Shirley

In December, Byron was elected to a seat on the Northwest Yacht Brokers Association (NYBA) board of directors. The organization is composed of several committees with one goal in mind–promoting boating as one of the premier activities in the Pacific Northwest. NYBA runs local boat shows, attains qualified leads for its members, mediates between customers and brokers, and even solves broker-to-broker conflicts. Byron’s new role will be a three-year term in which he and his five fellow board members will oversee many important tasks in the local yachting industry in Seattle and its surrounding areas.

Byron has been a NYBA member for ten years, and, in 2022, he joined its Boat Show Committee in order to contribute to improving the Seattle Boats Afloat Shows that take place in April and September. “In the process of that,” he shares, “I understood that I could also contribute in a larger role at NYBA.” He quickly built his way to his new position. One of the main functions of NYBA is to manage the finances of running two local boat shows a year. The board also oversees the local yacht broker industry and responds to any complaints from customers and conflicts between brokers, as well as providing general support to those in the industry.

On an even larger scale, the board deals with politics–its members work on policy-making to help encourage the yachting industry with the local government in the Pacific Northwest and the state of Washington. “We have a lobbyist that we hire and an attorney,” Byron explains, “and we push to pass legislation to protect and grow the local yachting industry.”

When it comes to his “territory”, Byron is passionate. “I’ve been boating in a lot of different territories in the world, and I think that the Pacific Northwest is secretly one of the best boating grounds in the world. What we have is an internal sea and multitudes of islands. There are lots of options for boating and you can go boating year-round, unlike in the Northeast. So, there are many options that won’t get old because there is always something new and it’s not repetitive.”

Seattle-Based Denison Yacht Broker Byron Shirley and his son

Byron started boating in his youth, but one of the biggest experiences of his life was spending a year cruising and living in the Caribbean, which really modeled what he was going to do in his life. Often brokers get into boating because of their families. Boating is definitely a family business for Byron. His stepfather, Jean-Marie Cabri, is also a West Coast yacht broker with Denison, based out of Los Angeles. “It’s because of his support over the years that I am a yacht professional,” Byron proudly states.

Family is everything to Byron. “Today, I’m married, with a three-year-old son who I love taking on outings on boats,” he says. “For me, I’m giving him little experiences in the same way that I had them, so that piques his interest as well. I have no doubt that he, too, will want to go boating. My boating experiences in my youth modeled my future and I want the same for my son. So this isn’t just a job. I think of boating as a full family experience; I want my wife involved and my son involved, and that’s what’s important to me.”

Interested in touring boats with Byron? Contact him with any questions you may have.

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