December 17, 2013

Why yacht stuff costs more

IT HAS BECOME something of a rite for sailing people to complain that anything labeled as having to do with a yacht automatically costs more. It’s true that some retailers deliberately raise their prices for what they perceive to be rich boating customers. I have been in a hardware store belonging to a large national chain where the identical 3M masking tape cost 10 percent more in the boating aisles than it did in the household paint section a few feet away. People tell the same story about paint, paint stripper, stainless-steel bolts, and many other items.

But that’s not the real reason why yachting gear costs so much. Price-gouging aside, there are two good reasons why it’s more expensive. Firstly, it mostly needs to be of higher quality, since everything on a boat works in the most atrocious conditions of high humidity, salt-laden air, galvanic action, ultra-violet rays, rain, and often snow and ice.

I’d feel much happier about trusting my life to the quality-tested shackle that’s pulling me up the mast than I would the cheap knock-off from the Far East.

Secondly, the boating market is a comparatively small one in which marine manufacturers don’t gain the same benefits of high-quantity production that others enjoy.

So when it comes to masking tape and paint stripper, buy cheap if you must. But when it has to do with safety or longevity, buy only the best yachting quality. Grin and bear it.

Today’s Thought
Cheat me on the price and I shall dislike you; cheat me on the quality and I shall hate you.
— Anonymous boat owner

You wouldn’t worry half as much about what people think of you if you knew how seldom people think of you.

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

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