Final Check: Riggers
For all the quality control efforts put forth by a manufacturer, the final person responsible for that all-important first impression is a dealership’s rigger. David Bourgeois handles the job for Texas Cobalt dealer The Slalom Shop.
What They Do: Riggers not only remove the factory shrink-wrap, install batteries and drain plugs, add fuel and check to make sure shift and throttle cables are properly adjusted, but they also sea-trial the boat to ensure it performs as promised.
Who’s Responsible: Even the best manufacturers can’t catch everything. Steering wheel crooked at speed? A test-tank run might not have caught it, but you can bet a good rigger will during his test run.
Why They Matter: A boat may leave the factory in perfect condition, but a lot can happen on the road, even in the showroom. The rigger is the one who warranties any items that have broken or weren’t assembled properly. “When you spend this much on a boat,” Bourgeois says, “the last thing you want a customer thinking is ‘Somebody should have caught this.’”
Transporters By Land
While a boat may be meticulously crafted at the factory, and salivated over at a dealership, the chain of custody between the two locations is interrupted but once — in transport. That’s when companies like Carthage Marine Transport earn their pay, regularly hauling millions of dollars in cargo across the country.
What They Do: Truckers don’t just haul boats; they also play a key role in the loading of a vessel. Carthage patriarch Brooks Gubser says that preparing a boat for a long haul is much like building an erector set. The driver and loading dock personnel rely on plenty of steel, rigging, straps and ratchets to keep everything secure, eliminate pressure spots and avoid damage.
Who’s Responsible: Once on the road, the carrier assumes all responsibility, their contents covered under the terms of their cargo insurance. Good ones perform frequent checks of their cargo, stop in only secure truck stops and sleep in their rigs to avoid leaving boats unattended.
Why They Matter: Outside of the obvious, truckers act as unofficial ambassadors for the boat companies. Gubser says, “People definitely notice the boats…and are eager to talk about them.”