Southwest Florida Yachts


Observations of the Season

By Barb Hansen
December 2017

This is the time of year I particularly enjoy, but for reasons different than most. Sure, I like the holidays and the opportunity to spend time with family and friends, as well as gift getting and receiving. However, there are a couple of other things that take place at this time that I also look forward to.

One has to do with the holiday buying habits of boaters for both large and not so large purchases. Over the years, I have noticed the boat comes first. That is, before stuff for the home and even the captain and crew – the boat comes first. And that makes sense.

When you want to cruise, the boat has to be ready so equipment purchases, upgrades and regular maintenance are priorities. If you’re a boater, the latest coffee/latte/beverage maker, a new sofa or drapes or what have you, plays second fiddle to what the boat needs so there will be no delays when cruising time comes, whenever that may be.

Ditto for wardrobe items and even things non-boaters can’t do without. I’m talking about beauty treatments and the like for both him and her. Good looking brightwork beats Botox and non-skid deck cleaner surpasses cosmetics. For some that may be blasphemy, but for boaters it’s no big deal. Wardrobe items fit in here, too. Boaters simply don’t need the latest fashion wear, especially if such purchases take away from boat readiness.

In addition to holidays, this time of year is also boat show season, the second seasonal thing I really enjoy. Vic and I go to several shows on both coasts of Florida. Regardless where the show is taking place, there are always lots of beautiful boats, people and constant excitement. For boat-buyers, especially first-timers, it’s like dating.

We know that because our years in the business of chartering have made us marriage counselors, of a sort, for a number of our clients. They own boats, but charter from us because they aren’t happy with the boat choice they made. In other words, that “marriage” is not going well and they are seeking guidance for improving that relationship.

We have determined that some of the most common problems impacting those relationships stem from hasty courtships that didn’t leave sufficient time for buying the right kind of boat. A day cruiser was selected when more overnight cruising was on tap. Maybe the size and operational complexity of the boat was beyond the buyer’s skill set. Perhaps a boat club membership or charter would have been in order since upkeep, maintenance and the like are handled by the owner and not the responsibility of the user. And, those options also enable them to try different types and sizes of boats before settling on a purchase.

Frankly, we also think it might be important for boat buyers to mull over the prospect of a “separation” when making their purchase. That is to say they should give thought to the challenge of selling their boat sometime in the future and what needs to be considered. There’s a lot more we’ve seen over the years, but come to think of it there might be an opportunity here for cruising’s answer to Dr. Phil.

If you come to a boat show in Florida next season, look for “Confidential Cruising Counselors – Matchmaking Boaters and Boats.” We’ll probably take appointments in advance on the web!


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Southwest Florida Yachts
3444 Marinatown Lane N.W. • North Fort Myers • Florida 33903
(239) 656-1339 (800) 262-7939 Fax (239) 656-2628

Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W

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