Partners offer a boat, a tow and a place to go

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MarineMax, Sea Tow and Marinalife team up

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MarineMax's new partnership with Sea Tow Services International and Marinalife isn't just a win-win, but a win-win-win-win, the principals said at the deal's unveiling at the Miami International Boat Show.

MarineMax's boat buyers will be introduced to Sea Tow, the marine assistance provider, and to Marinalife, the online boating concierge and reservation service. Sea Tow members will be enrolled in MarineMax's Rewards Club, which offers discounts and access to Marinalife's services. Everyone in this partnership wins, says Sea Tow CEO Joe Frohnhoefer. The businesses win and the customers win.

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"At the end of the day, a lot of potential buyers consider boating to be a hassle," says MarineMax president and CEO William McGill. One purpose of the deal is to take the hassle out of boating and make it more fun. "The more hassles you reduce for consumers, the more boats you are going to sell and the happier [the consumers] are going to be."

The details

Here's how the partnership will work.

  • Everyone who buys a new boat from MarineMax gets a complimentary 95-day Sea Tow Gold Card membership, and everyone who buys a used or brokerage boat gets a 60-day Gold Card membership. The membership entitles holders to 24/7 towing assistance, free jump-starts and fuel drops, navigational assistance and sea-state reports. After the trial period they can buy a membership for $169 ($119 for lake service).
  • Everyone who buys a new, used or brokerage boat from MarineMax receives a free base-level membership in MarineMax's Rewards Club, which offers discounts on gear and repair services, and basic services from Marinalife - marina information and reviews, destination guides, port reports and nautical charts, a fuel locator and pricing, special offers and downloadable coupons for marinas and fuel, two free marina reservations anywhere in the country and a year's subscription to a boating magazine.
  • Any of Sea Tow's 160,000 members who wish to join MarineMax's Rewards Club also will receive a free base-level membership. The year-old rewards club has 6,000 members. Base-level members will be encouraged to ramp up to a $169.95-a-year premium rewards club membership, which includes Sea Tow membership (that by itself would cost $169), plus more MarineMax discounts and Marinalife's premium-level services, including unlimited marina reservations in the United States, online navigation tools, a mobile iPad/iPhone app to make marina reservations and a year's subscription to Marinalife magazine.

"We're trying to make it easy for people to use their boat," says Marinalife president and CEO Joy McPeters. The partners hope the package of services not only will do that, but also will convince new-boat buyers of the benefit of upgrading to the Rewards Club premium package.

MarineMax is the nation's largest retail chain, with 56 dealerships around the country; Sea Tow is one of the leading marine assistance providers, with 160,000 members; and Marinalife says it has 450,000 unique visitors annually at www.marinalife.com - a potent combination.

This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue.

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