No one likes to look foolish, especially in a boat. There is quite a bit of fun that can be had on owning a boat, but training and education is key. Few trailer-boaters are 100-percent confident and comfortable at the launch ramp, and everyone has nervous days on the water. Some dealers may simply hand off the keys and expect the buyer to be an instant yachtsman. It is essential that a dealer is there to be the mate on the buyer’s first voyage or two.
Being confident around the docks is vital to starting and ending a new owner’s fun on the water. A great dealer should be there when the boat is brought to port the first time, whether it is a center console, a runabout or a yacht.
Boating skills are really techniques, easily learned – with the right teacher. Too many boat dealers bypass this part of the sale. They offer to hitch the trailer to the truck and walk away after the sale. Some buyers resort to asking friends and family to teach them all about boating. Finding someone who has that information and the time to show the buyer is rare.
Continuing boater education is essential. Experienced dealers make great coaches and cheerleaders for new and existing boaters! At the very least, a dealer should know who in the community conducts classes in boating skills and safety, where there are adult education courses, U.S. Power Squadrons training or other classes available. Some really involved dealers may sponsor or host courses at their dealerships.
Go to school, because uncertainty on the water can be intimidating. A dealer can serve as a committed mentor to overcome the hurdles that a new buyer may not know about yet. They can teach the rules of the road, the knots and other seamanship skills and those all-important safety measures in a format that’s efficient and enjoyable. The lessons aren’t as hard and there aren’t as many of them as you may think. Classes in local communities can allow new owners to meet other new boaters and find they have a lot in common. These are bonds that can last a lifetime.