I once read in a sailing magazine something like the following: “It’s boat show time, so let’s take a look at some of the products they are trying to foist on us poor unsuspecting boaters”. As a marine vendor I was incensed to read that, and vowed never to advertise in that publication. I never did, and eventually it folded. Go figure ....
There has long been a feeling that stuff sold for boats was generally overpriced simply because it has a “marine” tag. This seemed to be more prevalent in the 80’s and 90’s, so maybe back then there were indeed a plethora of cheap and tacky items labeled as marine that would have been better suited for the kiddies backyard camping or a day at the beach.
Or maybe it’s because nowadays the internet is playing devil’s advocate and unscrupulous manufacturers just can’t get away with things like they once could. Today’s efficient means of communication ensure that when even minor issues are reported, they require a good customer service oriented response.
Now that replacement parts can be easily sent to remote locations seemingly beyond the edge of beyond, a worthwhile warranty is also increasingly important. Imagine a business getting a call from a customer on a satellite phone in mid-ocean, fretting that his fridge is running longer than it used to. “We’ve got ourselves another fridge-fretting sat-phoner” is the common cry. Oh yeah, it happens.
At Coastal we see and hear many tales of woe
from boaters who opted for lesser known, less expensive boat gear only to then suffer buyer’s remorse. When selling our high-grade, marine solar panels we are often asked if we will take the customers’ existing residential-type panels off their hands. (By the way - No way!) These have often been purchased as a cheaper alternative, but their deficiencies when employed in a marine application were soon brought to light (ho, ho!).
In light of the above (ho, ho, ho!), at Coastal we have adopted the mantra: “Do It Once - Do It Right”. Yes, you will no doubt be paying more for the right product, a lot more sometimes, but generally the price reflects the quality and will include efficient customer support and a worthwhile warranty.
Putting it bluntly, if Brand X costs half as much as Brand Z, then either Brand X is poorly constructed and/or performing and a poor copy of the real thing, or it is actually the real McCoy and Brand Z is ripping its customers off. Some time spent researching both products and the companies offering them will usually point favorably towards Brand Z, which will more than likely be a long-established company in good standing and with a good reputation. (BTW: Coastal Climate Control has just celebrated it's 25th year in business, so Happy Silver Anniversary to us. Ooh, thank you!)
The origin of the product alone is not generally indicative of quality, but taken together with the asking price, the prospective customer now has the means to help decide if a lower priced item is good value for money or a cheap product that may or may not do the job and last more than five minutes in action. We see many marine products produced in far-away lands (Xi marks the spot) and also purchase some from time to time. Some are excellent value for money; some decidedly not, although at first glance all of them may seem highly attractive and reasonably priced.
So before slapping down your hard-earned cash for an important or essential super-dooper boat gizmo, don’t let cost be the main or only factor. Carrying the “marine” tag bears a lot more responsibilities these days for the manufacturer than it used to.
When making a purchase, consider quality, suitability, warranty, customer service, and the manufacturer’s company profile, before letting price alone be the deciding factor.
Do It Once - Do It Right