Boat dealers provide a trading platform for selling new and used boats. These traders must be familiar with the various types of boats on the market, and also possess a thorough understanding of boating business concepts and the laws governing boat use and ownership. A career as a boat dealer is suitable for people with solid business acumen and a passion for boating.
Competent boat dealers have an in-depth knowledge of the stylistic and mechanical properties of houseboats, cabin cruisers, motorboats, and many other types of commercial and recreational boats. The best way to acquire this knowledge is to pursue an associate degree in marine technology, such as the one offered at the New England Institute of Technology in Rhode Island. The program should also equip you with knowledge of marine business concepts and procedures.
Master the Skills
To be an accomplished boat dealer, you need the ability to pay close attention to details coupled with strong skills in cost estimation. For example, when a boat owner wants to sell you his vessel -- which you will resell -- you must inspect it, taking note of structural modifications and other features that can affect its cost, and determine its present market value. Strong customer-service and negotiation skills are also useful, as you should attend to clients with tact, and negotiate fair commissions and best boat prices. You also need basic market research skills to, for instance, study the changing vessel preferences of boat owners and determine the kind of boats that are in demand.
Enter the Industry
Early in your career you will start out as boat salesperson, working for an established boat dealership, boat retailer or manufacturer. In states such as Florida and California, you will need to obtain a salesperson license to sell yachts and other large boats. You can also secure membership in the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, or MRAA, to access sales resources and earn invitations to boating conferences and expos, where you can interact with boat owners and grow your client base.
Establish Your Own Dealership
After gaining vast work experience, raising sufficient capital and nurturing your business skills, you can establish your own dealership business. To get started, obtain a state-specific boat dealer license and meet other local requirements for establishing a business. Although the conditions for obtaining a boat dealer license vary by state, you generally need to pay a fixed surety bond and submit information about the physical location of your business. The MRAA offers a Marine Industry Certified Dealership certification, which you can obtain to improve your business' credibility and enhance your chances of attracting more clients.