How To Choose A Boat Dealer

Marine Industry Certified Dealerships Guarantee Satisfaction, Boost Confidence

Buying a boat is an investment in an exciting and rewarding lifestyle, filled with countless opportunities for bonding with friends and family. And as we’ve written, blogged and spoken about time and again, one of the most important aspects of buying a boat is choosing the right dealer. Because let’s face it: You’re buying more than just a boat; you’re buying an experience. And the dealer you choose to give your hard-earned money to can most certainly make — or break — that experience. After all, the most fastidiously built and rigged boat, powered by the most reliable engines, will eventually require service.

Of course, service is not the only reason choosing a good dealer will make for a better boat ownership experience. The ability to make confident accessory equipment decisions, maintain financial peace of mind, and solicit assistance to pick the boat that best suits your boating style all depend, in large part, upon choosing the right boat dealer.

But how can you determine a good boat dealer from a great boat dealer? Naturally, we heartily recommend asking fellow boaters for recommendations. You can also choose a dealer with confidence by looking for one that is Marine Industry Certified.


Marine Industry Certified Dealers have more than just a pretty logo on display. They also have posted on the premises, in writing, a pledge to abide by what is called the Marine Industry Consumer Commitment. You can read the Marine Industry Consumer Commitment in its entirety, but suffice to say that the principles the Commitment embodies mirror those that Boating has always advised readers to look for when choosing a boat dealer.

For instance, few things are more frustrating than working with a salesperson who is not knowledgeable about the boat, the buying process, or the delivery procedure. Naturally, no one can be expected to know everything; but when making a commitment as large as buying a boat, it’s nice to be able to carry on a fluid conversation and eliminate more than one question or concern at a time. Marine Industry Certified Dealers pledge to provide knowledgeable and courteous staff who can speak confidently about not just the boat, but also boat ownership and the boat buying process.

Another point that drives us nuts—and you too, according to the emails we receive—is poor service. And it’s not so much the cost of things, but the mystery that surrounds some service calls. Marine Industry Certified Dealers assure, in writing, that repair and maintenance will be patiently explained, an estimate of repair time will be provided, and any changes to the repair estimate will be approved by the boat owner prior to the work’s completion. Additionally, they pledge that marine technicians will be up-to-date on the industry’s most advance training and will conduct themselves in a courteous and patient manner.


That these “customer first” principles, along with a commitment to fair dealing, non-discrimination, and truthful advertising practices, among others, are in writing—and on display—really means something. Additionally, Marine Industry Certified Dealers are recertified every two years, so you can rest assured that they keep up with the standards, requirements, education, and business practices they promise to adhere to as part of program participation.

Here, we’ve highlighted just a few points that best embody the Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program. Just as we encourage you to “do your homework” and read our boat tests and equipment articles before buying a boat, we also encourage you to be as selective about choosing a boat dealer as you are when selecting a new boat. Choosing a Marine Industry Certified Dealership can help you do just that.

Learn more about Marine Industry Certified Dealerships by visiting


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