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Old 05-11-2012, 19:30   #1
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West Marine

I'm heading to the US soon to prep my boat for a Pacific crossing. I had intended to spend a reasonable fist full at West Marine. I have their catalogue and it seems to me they are a solid business with reasonable prices and a variety of well known and respected chandlery bits and pieces.

However, reading through topics in this forum, I often see comments denegrating West Marine; 'Waste marine', 'Worst Marine' etc. are frequently used when describing the company.

Am I right therefore, to assume they are not a good company to deal with?
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Old 05-11-2012, 19:37   #2
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Re: West Marine

I don't find West Marine difficult to deal with at all. Sure, there are many parts that can be purchased elsewhere for less cost. But remember, the Big West in your neighborhood is nearby, most likely the item you want is in stock. Further their policy is to equal competitor's pricing. What more could you ask for.

There are many that come to mind that are now gone! One of the big stores was BoatFix found over at BoaterEd. You can only sell at or below cost for so long before you go belly up. I don't begrudge any business for at least attempting to make a profit.

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Old 05-11-2012, 19:43   #3
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Re: West Marine

They're fine mate... like a Big W for sailing gear: helpful, good return policy... not always the cheapest... and you know how it is trying to squeeze coin out of a cruiser Folks love to have a winge.

I have found it necessary to use a mix. The return and warranty doesn't do me as much good as I'm headed home to Oz... so I've used a combination of places. Defender Marine, West Marine, Svendsens (Alemeda, CA), and believe it or not Ebay for heaps of stuff from AIS to sat phone, USB GPS etc. I guess it just depends whether you have a place to ship stuff.

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Old 05-11-2012, 19:43   #4
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Re: West Marine

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Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
I'm heading to the US soon to prep my boat for a Pacific crossing. I had intended to spend a reasonable fist full at West Marine. I have their catalogue and it seems to me they are a solid business with reasonable prices and a variety of well known and respected chandlery bits and pieces.

However, reading through topics in this forum, I often see comments denegrating West Marine; 'Waste marine', 'Worst Marine' etc. are frequently used when describing the company.

Am I right therefore, to assume they are not a good company to deal with?
Most of the criticism you will have heard is due to their prices, which are higher than those of online-only retailers. Their customer service is pretty good, and they will price match most items.

The ones complaining most have unrealistic expectations concerning pricing.

Where are you heading to for your pacific crossing? If SF bay area, go to Svendsens chandlery, then to West Marine. If you have time to order stuff online, Defender are good and so are Jamestown Distributors for maintenance stuff.
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Old 05-11-2012, 19:46   #5
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Re: West Marine

Our local West Marine is excellent. They will price match with Defender and other online stores and they are two min's. away. Great staff and helpful. I support them as it's nice to know they are right here when something is broken.
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Old 05-11-2012, 19:49   #6
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Re: West Marine

Their prices are sometimes high, if you bring in proof of a competitor selling the same item for less they will match the competitors price. Must be the same item and in stock at the competitor's. I have done this often with no problem.
I think they are a good company, they have a good return policy also.
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Old 05-11-2012, 19:50   #7
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Re: West Marine

West's official pollicy (at least here) is to price match any on-line price listed by a legitimate competitor. I use this ALWAYS and save a lot. We also join the Gold card discount program, WEST ADVANTAGE. This gets you points for all purchases that turns into about an additional 4% rebate. Up your membership a few bucks and add unlimited towing.

Boat Parts, Boat Accessories, Sailing Gear and Boating Apparel from West Marine


West Advantage Program

In sotre pricing tends to be high and some things you will want to research on line.
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Old 05-11-2012, 19:57   #8
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Re: West Marine

If you are going to buy heaps of stuff, talk to the store manager about a special deal. If not, find a friend with a Port Supply account at West--they don't get much off electronics, but they get a lot off the everyday items.
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Old 05-11-2012, 20:00   #9
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Re: West Marine

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Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
However, reading through topics in this forum, I often see comments denegrating West Marine; 'Waste marine', 'Worst Marine' etc. are frequently used when describing the company.

Am I right therefore, to assume they are not a good company to deal with?
In a word, no.

It's a bit of an adolescent game, making up hurtful words. Somebody without significant sailing experience decides that a good parody for "Beneteau" might be "Bendy Toy," and suddenly it's plastered all over the internet. Forget the fact that boats made by Beneteau tend not to be at all that bendable--that's not what's important here in the Land of Slogans and Jingles.

I know the founder of West Marine, Randy Repass. He's smart, and he built a local marine rope dealership here in Palo Alto into a national chain by providing the best products at the best prices.

Let me give you an idea of how good "Worst Marine" is. When, right here on Cruisers Forum, it was demonstrated that a certain anchor manufacturer was selling anchors that hadn't been built to their published specifications, West Marine forced that manufacturer to refund all the anchors that had been built below specifications. Period. Bring it in and get your money back. Otherwise, WM wasn't going to carry their brand any longer. And the manufacturer caved, as many others have.

If you want to know how any retailer rates, check out their return policy. You won't find many chandleries that come close to WM. If you find better prices, as I often do, you can take those prices into WM and they'll match them.

I'm not saying that WM doesn't have its foibles. But in much of the USA, it's the best deal in town.
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Old 05-11-2012, 20:33   #10
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Re: West Marine

Yeah, we buy at "Worst Marine" all of the time. They price match and with a smart phone, try the shopsavy app. You can scan a barcode at the store, and it will find the best prices locally and online.
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Old 05-11-2012, 23:10   #11
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Old 05-11-2012, 23:40   #12
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Re: West Marine

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I have used their international service before and was always impressed. I am glad to see their service has not deteriorated and that the name calling is not serious, as it almost appeared to be.

My boat is in San Carlos in Mexico, and I understand there is a good West Marine store in Phoenix and, of course, San Diego. I have picked up the Defender catalogue also. I imagine a few trips across the border before I set sail and I expect to be in the US for Christmas.

The only concern is getting the WM purchases across the border to the boat. Any info in that regard will be much appreciated.
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Old 06-11-2012, 03:09   #13
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Re: West Marine

the stores are not all created equal, the one in San Diego is WAY better than pdx.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:24   #14
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Re: West Marine

I'm thankful to have West Marine around, especially with their price matching. Recently, I did a bunch of shopping at JMS online as they beat defender and jamestown prices.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:44   #15
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Re: West Marine

West Marine also has many "West Express" stores which are smaller versions of the big stores and not so much inventory but can usually get anything in a day or two at the most. Visit a big one to get the full picture. Ft Lauderdale store is over 50,000 sq. Feet. Quite the experience.

West has also has many very experienced older cruisers working for them. You might need to seek out the right person (s) but they are there. My store in Annapolis has 3 people working there that have a least 1 circumnavigation under their transom.

If you do your homework and get competitor pricing you will do well.

G'day & good luck mate!
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