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What is Your Boat Type?
By Barb Hansen
June 3, 2002

Psychologists talk about Type A's and Type B's, extroverts and introverts. Vic and I talk about Boat Types.

Vic is a boat buyer's broker. His job is to find a previously-owned boat that will make the buyer the most happy. That may sound easy but it's not. Often, the boat buyer doesn't know what kind of boat he wants either.

So, before Vic the broker searches for the buyer's boat, Vic the doctor must diagnose the buyer's boat personality. His patients tell him about their boating dreams. Occasionally, he interrupts to ask a probing question, like "I understand you like to fish for sharks with rotten meat. And what kind of boating does your wife enjoy?" Vic has earned a psychology degree in the school called making the sale.

We could write a book about this and the chapters would be the boat personality types we most often meet. We love 'em all, our patients, boaters till the end.

1. Vertigo Vinny.
When Vinny talks about boating, his head spins and his mouth emits fast, happy sounds. Vinny's problem is, he likes all boats. Slow boats. Go-fast boats. Deep draft. Shallow draft. He can see himself having fun in every boat. Vic tries to find out what kind of boat Vinny's wife prefers. The doctor now has an opportunity to test Vinny's professed love for all boats by asking what he thinks about THIS boat. Now that's a real head-spinner.

2. Armchair Arnie.
Like any good patient, Arnie has already figured out what's wrong with his life and what he needs to make it better. Like the patient who almost became a doctor, Armchair Arnie wanted to become a marine architect but went into the family business instead. He needs a certain type of boat, of course. He knows what he wants. He also needs a little affirmation. "You agree with me, don't you, Vic?" Vic conducts the patient interviews and, satisfied that Arnie has correctly self-diagnosed, goes in search of Arnie's boat. Arnie is a great customer.

3. Hi-Lo Lil.
Lillian is going to buy a boat but she can't decide when. Gung ho today; not so tomorrow. She has the boating fever today, chills tomorrow. Vic knows the patient has to be committed to a big decision, so the doctor nurses the process along until Lillian is ready to make the commitment. I believe I have heard him ask the buyer, "Now, Lil, are you sure you are ready to do this?"

4. Contrary Connie.
Every pursuit has its Devil's Advocate types. Such is Contrary Connie. She doesn't want a boat like your boat or my boat. She wants to own a boat that nobody else has, something unique, something different, something that says, "I'm Connie and I'm contrary." And that's fine. The doctor establishes mutual trust. He gets on the same wave-length, but keeps Connie pointed toward a vessel that is suitable for her cruising water. Knowing that the doctor is committed to the mutual process, the patient relaxes and enjoys the search.

5. Captain Courageous.
Courageous wants to cruise around the world in a little boat. The doctor is between a rock and a hard place here. Does he look for a boat that might take the Captain around the world or does he attempt to talk this risk taker down from the high wire? Doctor Vic's solution is the nautical equivalent of take two aspirins and see me in the morning. It usually sounds like this. "That is a fascinating goal and an immense challenge, Captain. Let's talk about this over coffee instead of gin and tonic."

All good people, they just approach the boat selection process in different ways. The boat broker understands this and works with each according to his or her Boat Type. Real psychologists could go to school on this guy.

The doctor is in.

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