Approaching a marine dealership, in person or even online, it’s natural to feel a bit nervous, pulse quickening amid financial considerations and dreams of adventure afloat with family and friends.
You can shake off that nervousness when you see displayed on the door, wall or website the logo attesting the business is a Marine Industry Certified Dealership.
That certification, issued by the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, makes a simple statement:
Here, you can buy your boat from someone you trust.
Well into its second decade, the Certification program helps dealerships acquire skills, and monitor and promote their commitment to boat transactions that inspire customer confidence. Regular continuous education ensures dealership skills are kept sharp and up to date.
Boat buying becomes pleasant, not intimidating. Ditto for boat ownership and the service that goes with it.
Forget the stereotypically impatient dealer, condescending and tossing around jargon meant to make you feel ignorant. The Certified Dealer knows there are no small boats, no small details, when it’s your boat, and those details can make or break your precious day afloat with family or friends.
Stephen Arcamore, of All Seasons Marine Works in Westport, CT, said his dealership has noted a younger component in their customer base – folks he said conduct much of their research and even deal-making online.
Arcamore said the Certification process has helped the company meet and master such new-tech challenges as video walk-throughs of the facility and boats, and generating and executing documents electronically instead of across a table. “Lots of times, the first time we meet the customer is on the boat, when they’re taking delivery.”
To returning customers, meanwhile, Arcamore calls Certification “a reminder that we hold ourselves to a higher level of work and service,” the Marine Industry Consumer Commitment.
Lou Cecchini, co-owner of Off Shore Marine, in Branchville, NJ, calls Certification a “pretty grueling” process, including educational opportunities for employees, who in turn complete anonymous surveys that guide owners to dealership improvements.
Of the displayed logo, Cecchini says, “I hope it tells the customer, we’re better than the guy down the street.”
The list of MICD requirements and standards is long, and meeting them tough. Five-Star Certification means commitment to friendly and knowledgeable sales staffing; transparency and honesty; flawless boat prep and delivery; clearly explained warranties and maintenance schedules; fair and accurate repair time and cost estimates; accurate and clearly explained invoices; inspection of damages and, if desired and practical, return of replaced parts.
Expect fair, open and honest treatment. Have confidence in confidentiality. Expect follow-up interest in you, your boat and your boating. You’ll feel there’s someone ready to help you if you need it.
This is about more than buying a boat. It’s about becoming part of the boating community. And your Marine Industry Certified Dealership is part of that community.
The Marine Industry Certified Dealership logo makes a strong statement: it’s a wink from someone knowledgeable, a hand on the shoulder, a fist bump that says: Here, you can buy your boat from someone you trust.
To find a Certified Dealer near you, search the Certified Dealer listing at Discover Boating.