Consider that in the early colonial days, pretty much all transport, trade, and communication in the Chesapeake region was done by water, since roads were few, far between, and often dangerous. Three centuries later, our unique waterways still play an outside role in our lives: Just as sailing vessels have become recreational, the Bay and its scenic tributaries have become largely watery playgrounds, offering more beauty and unique ports of call than you’ll find anywhere in the nation. But back to the boat: Without one, you can’t experience a lot of that.
The first thing we ask boat buyers is always, “Tell us what is your ideal day on the water”?
Think of boats as your porthole on fun: From the cobblestone streets of Annapolis and charming Chesapeake City on the C&D Canal to the bright lights of the Inner Harbor, there’s a wealth of things to see and do such as, touring historical sites, shopping, and visiting great restaurants. But half the fun should be getting there—and sitting in traffic or in a Bay Bridge backup is no one’s idea of a good time.
Now with multiple options in types of boats, marina and docking facilities, and technology that makes getting from here to there a breeze, it’s easier than ever to become a boater—even for first-timers. For landlubbers who want to make the leap, your approach can be tailored to your needs—and your budget. Which is why we consulted an expert, Michael Gisch of MarineMax, to find out more about getting in on the fun.
What are some of the factors a potential new boater should consider, i.e. sail/power, experience, boat size, etc.?
The first question is always, “tell us what is your ideal day on the water”? Do you plan to have a large or small group onboard? Do you intend to spend weekends or are you looking to take longer journeys? Where do you plan to keep your boat?
What are some of the most popular destinations you hear customers talking about?
Saint Michael’s is always a popular stop for both our customers and employees, while Salomon Islands are a good place to stop for a night on the way to D.C. for the weekend. Annapolis, of course, is boating history. It’s a great place to grab a Sunday brunch or to just cruise Ego-alley. But no boater’s list would be complete without a stop at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Whether docking at Nick’s Fish Shack for lunch, experiencing a weekend at the newly renovated Harbor East Marina with all its shops and restaurants, or spending the evening at the Pendry in Fells Point, the Baltimore Harbor won’t disappoint.
What about service options?
There are many options throughout the Chesapeake Bay. At our location in Baltimore, we have a deep-water travel lift and over 10 technicians, full yard staff, three service advisors, one warranty administer, and a parts team. We also have multiple mobile technicians that can come to you if needed.
Tell us about some of your most popular models and why buyers like them?
The Scout 255 Dorado has been a solid performer and clients really love the versatility it has to offer. It’s a family runabout and an offshore fishing machine built to the highest standards. Another is the Sea Ray 310 SLX: It hits a sweet spot in our market—it’s big enough to run the Bay but small enough to handle with minimal effort. Galeon offers the 510 Sky, the perfect combination of coupe styling with bridge amenities. The new Azimut 60 Fly has been a hit, too, since its release because of its impeccable Italian design both inside and out.
There are plenty of ways to buy a boat. What are the advantages of using an established dealer?
Our strength is knowledge, customer support, and holding ourselves to the highest standard. All our employees have a passion for the water and it shows. We lead customers on getaway trips, hold Women on Water classes, and offer demo days. Our main goal is to get you and your family on the water so you can enjoy the boating lifestyle as much as we do.
Tell us about MarineMax.
MarineMax has locations from Boston to Miami, so wherever your boating adventure takes you, we take care of you. Headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, MarineMax (HZ0) is the nation’s largest recreational boat and yacht retailer. Focused on premium brands in the Maryland market, we represent Sea Ray, Azimut Yachts, Ocean Alexander, Galeon, Scout, Aquila, and Aviara. MarineMax sells new and used recreational boats and related marine products and services, as well as providing yacht brokerage and charter services.