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What do you expect? It’s a boat

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It is not the leather or teak or technology that matters so much to the good folks on the water these days as it is a different kind of comfort. Call it the luxury of reliability, dependability and durability.

Those are three of the keys to the realm in this new normal. It’s a definition of luxury well suited to an industry where reliability has long been one of our Achilles heels. Systems that work. Systems you can count on. It’s hard to put a price tag on what that means to a builder or a dealer. For the owner, peace of mind is platinum.

With the price of new boats what they are, dependability should be a given. And to be fair, new boats have gotten a lot better. Want to attract first-time boaters and, just as important, retain them for the long haul? Make the product more bulletproof through better engineering and installation.

We’ve all be around boats long enough to have heard, for the umpteenth time, the phrase, “What do you expect, it’s a boat?” It’s still around because there’s still too much truth in it. I heard it on the docks this past weekend.

I’m running a newly refurbished 22-foot outboard-powered Down East center console these days. The boat is about 23 years old but looks like it just came out of a new-boat showroom. New paint, new Yamaha, new wiring, mahogany coaming. New everything. The works.

The only problem is a nagging fuel issue that causes the engine to shut down without warning. We’ve been chasing it since we launched the boat late last fall. We thought we found the culprit and made the fix during November winterizing, but it reappeared a few days ago, killing the power in a narrow channel between sandbars on a busy day.

I had it back up and running in about a minute, but the point is it shouldn’t be happening. And since we did all the installation and rigging, we have no one but ourselves to blame. Knock wood, it will be fixed before the weekend is out.

I was describing the problem to someone a couple of days ago. You can guess what he said.

“What do you expect? It’s a boat.”

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