Most people focus on a few key aspects when buying a boat. Things like:
What size boat do you need?
What type of boat fits your family?
What are you comfortable spending?
While these are all critical items that every buyer needs to weigh out – the big one that most people overlook is why their boat dealer matters.
You're Not Buying a Car
Most people think that owning a boat is like owning car. Whenever you need service you just bring it in to get fixed. While this is true there are some major differences in having a boat serviced vs a car that you need to understand.
Weekends are Limited: Summers are short and the number of weekends you can enjoy the boat are even less. This means that making the most of those days on the water is paramount. You want a good servicing dealer that can get you back on the water quickly. If your local dealer cannot fix your boat for the upcoming weekend trip that means the weekend is missed. A dealership with a good service department typically goes out of their way to try and insure you’re not missing a weekend.
Seasonality Means Busy Summers: In the summer, dealer service departments are busy. It’s not uncommon for a repair to take 2-3 weeks during peak season. The better your dealer is at turning boats, the faster you can be back on the water.
Other Options are Limited: If you buy a car and experience bad service there are typically several other options where you can have your vehicle serviced. In the marine industry this just isn’t the case. If your local dealer provides subpar service the next closest dealer for that brand is often 3-4 hours away. The overall boating industry just isn’t large enough to typically support multiple dealers of one brand in the same city.
Fixed the First Time: While getting you back on the water quickly is important – it is just as important that your boat is fixed correctly the first time. There’s nothing more frustrating than picking up the boat from a repair only to find that things are not fixed once you’re back on the water. A highly respected service department not only fixes things quickly but also correctly the first time.
They All Break: It doesn’t matter if you spend $300,000 or $30,000 on a boat – they all break at some point. The marine environment is harsh on anything man-made. Add in electronics, switches, gauges, pumps, etc. and you’ll quickly realize that there are lots of things that can fail on newer boats.
When determining your next boat, what dealer you plan to work with should be at the top of the list. The summers are short and you want to make the most of them. Having a dealership with an exceptional service department will help you make the most of those moments.