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Old    Austin (austin)      Join Date: Apr 2010       06-02-2011, 9:47 AM Reply   
I've never bought a boat before, but I hope to within the next few years. I have a few questions about buying boat brands with no local dealer. As far as I know, in St. Louis we only have two inboard dealers. One sells Mastercraft, and the other sells Malibu/Axis. Now if I don't want to do all my own maintenance and repairs, how much am I limited to buying just those three brands?

I assume, for example, that I could buy an 03 SAN and get it serviced at the Bu/Ax dealer. Is that correct? Would they possibly do a slightly or significantly worse job than if I bought an 03 VLX?

I also assume that if I rolled into the MC dealer with a brand new 2011 A20, they would tell me to GTFO. But what if I came in with a new F21 Tomcat? Would they be cool with that or no?

So to boil it down:
I'm trying to figure out if I'm limited or need to lean towards buying a brand sold by a local dealer.
Do dealers service brands they don't sell?
Do they do a better job servicing brands they sell than brands they don't sell?
Does it matter if the boat is new or used?
Does it matter if the boat is a brand sold buy a different local dealer (new or used)?
Old     (saberworks)      Join Date: Sep 2010       06-02-2011, 9:58 AM Reply   
Look for a local boat shop that's not a dealer.
Old     (moto817)      Join Date: Jan 2011       06-02-2011, 9:59 AM Reply   
Yes they service the same motor brand they sell. I have an 09 tomcat with a PCM ZR409 and have had it serviced by a nautique/centurion dealer in my immediate area because of convenience. Before I had my MB I had an 05' Sanger V230 with a mercruiser black scorpion motor and had warranty work done by the same dealer. I had good luck with them and couldnt imagine any dealer turning down or doing poor work on your boat simply because you didnt buy it from them. If anything I would think if you bought your boat and took it to a competitor dealer for service they would take that as a compliment that you trust them to work on your boat=-)
Old    Ian Brown (wakereviews)      Join Date: Sep 2006       06-02-2011, 9:59 AM Reply   
I can't imagine a dealer turning away service work. The only issue you might run into is they might not have a PCM tech. But for routine stuff I cannot imagine it would be an issue. Maybe I'm wrong though?
Old    David Stumpf (stumpf101)      Join Date: Jan 2011       06-02-2011, 10:15 AM Reply   
Most dealers will service any brand boat. The engines are very similar when it comes to servicing but it is up to them if they will do it or not. If they do you can bet you will behind anybody that bought their boat from the dealer. Try calling them and say you have a 2009 Axis or so and ask them if they can dewinterize it and see what they say.
Old    Alan Slabaugh (alans)      Join Date: Aug 2005       06-02-2011, 10:45 AM Reply   
My dealership will work on just about any inboard, however, I would not expect immediate, drop everything, service if you walk in with a 2011 boat from one of my local competitors.
Old    Shawn (helinut)      Join Date: Apr 2007       06-02-2011, 3:54 PM Reply   
My dealer has recently had some issues with keeping mechanics employed. They told me they were turning down work from people who weren't customers this spring. They don't want to turn down the work or put it out a few weeks, but they have to service their customers first.

But in normal times, they work on any boat that comes in the door.
Old    Nick Heckerson (kstateskier)      Join Date: May 2002       06-02-2011, 8:12 PM Reply   
Stateamind (Malibu/Axis/Tige/Sea-Ray) will service any inboard brand as far as I know and I assume some runabouts as well now that they sell Sea Ray. Every dealing I have had with them is top notch and they have done a great job. I don't have much experience with Dri-Port but have not heard fantastic things. I think the "local" Nautique dealer is now based out of LOTO now that Extreme PowerSports is no longer.

I would just make sure that the dealer is certified to work on whatever power plant you choose, i.e. Mercruiser, Indmar, etc. You will probably get in faster if you are using the dealer you bought your boat from as they of course have to take care of the people they are selling to, but most dealers will give you top notch service no matter where you buy the boat.

Last edited by kstateskier; 06-02-2011 at 8:13 PM. Reason: added info
Old    Jonathan Bay (john211)      Join Date: Aug 2008       06-03-2011, 7:17 AM Reply   
I have a nuatique in Ozark.

I have it serviced by a Cobalt dealership. They do a fine job.
Old    Joe B (sailing216)      Join Date: Oct 2007       06-03-2011, 9:34 AM Reply   
My experience is they will work on any brand, but like said, you don't get bumped to the top of the list on 4th of July weekend if you didn't buy from them. If you have warranty work, then this is when you are better off buying from that dealer. Older boat, just make sure they are certified on that engine.
Old    Austin (austin)      Join Date: Apr 2010       06-03-2011, 4:51 PM Reply   
Thanks for all the responses. It seems like for new boats it would be good to buy from a local dealer for the sake of warranty work, but for used boats it generally doesn't matter.

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