DEALER FOCUS – Honda Marine Port Alfred
With each Newsletter we’ll be introducing you to the Honda Marine Dealer Network, letting you know where your nearest Honda Marine dealer is situated and also giving you background into how Honda Marine has been able to so effectively establish itself in the South African market.
Working our way around the coast and then inland, we’re now heading off to Honda Marine Port Alfred.
Here we find ourselves in discussion with Doug Kemsley, the Dealer Principal.
Why did you choose Honda in terms of wanting to be a Marine dealer?
Our main facility is exceptionally strategically located right on the water in the Royal Alfred Marina’s Small Boat Harbour and right next to the busy N2 highway between Port Elizabeth and East London, so we had the pick of all the outboard motor brands to choose from when we opened. They all approached us to deal in their products. However, having been in the motoring game for more than 40 years, I was well aware that of all the outboard brands, Honda’s quality and technology was by far and away the best. With the philosophy that customer satisfaction starts on the factory production line, and having been to the Honda factory in Japan to see the built-in quality at first hand, the opposition were therefore ‘non-starters’ in Port Alfred.
The Honda Marine Port Alfred Team also firmly believes in the future of the four-stroke as the way ahead for outboard motors. Also, the Team here simply loves a challenge and wanted to get in on the ground floor with Honda and help to build up the brand, because at the time Honda had only officially been back in South Africa for three years.
How long have you been a Honda Marine dealer?
For three years
Meet the Team at the Dealership
Doug Kemsley – CEO and owner
Lou de Bruin – Senior General Manager
Laurence Kemsley – Marketing and Sales Manager
Andrea Kemsley – Sales
The technical component of Honda Marine Port Alfred received a boost with
the recent appointment of LB van Oudtshoorn as Workshop and Boat Rigging Manager. He comes with extensive experience of ‘Organisation and Methods’ concepts in production facilities and installations, from having previously worked in Italy and Botswana. LB will direct Honda Marine Port Alfred’s workshop operations including the rigging of new boats, repairs and rebuilding of outboard motors and gearboxes, as well as building and repairs to hulls and boat trailers. He is a boating enthusiast and deep sea and river fisherman, and has his deep sea skipper’s ticket.
LB Oudtshoorn - recently appointed Workshop Manager
LB van Oudtshoorn – Workshop and Rigging Manager
Howard Ngabayena – Technician
Simphiwe Tsibani – Mechanic/Electrician
Shadrack Shweleni – Trailer and Jetty builder
Thembi Jerry – Boat Cleaning/Showroom/Petrol
Elenha – Housekeeping
With what Boat Manufacturers do you have direct tie-ups?
Benguela 530 from Austral Marine --- PHOTO: Leisure Boating Magazine
We have a four-year relationship with Austral Marine for its Angler Boats such as the Panache, Odyssey, Benguela, Harrier and Kestrel models. Our association with Austral stems from the superb quality, performance and design integrity of its products. We sell the El Shaddai Flamingo cabin cruisers, Infanta RIB inflatables, ButtCats and SuperCat deep sea fishing boats, Kowie Marine river barges and any houseboats – plus any specific custom boats that clients ask us to source and rig for them.
What types of Boat Packages are most popular in your area?
We are fortunate in Port Alfred in that we have equal numbers of customers who wish to buy deep sea fishing boats for the rough but bounty-full fishing locations, as well as those who require speed boats and cabin boats for use on the magnificent, scenic Kowie, Bushman’s, Sunday’s and Kariega rivers, as well as the many large lagoons in the area. The Kowie River in Port Alfred is navigable for up to 22 kms on a high tide. We have rigged mostly Odysseys, ButtCats and SuperCats for local fishermen, while Angler’s Panache 1450, 1750 and 1950 are by far our most popular inland craft for skiing, wakeboarding and cruising. For the deep sea fishing boats such as the Benguela 530 CAT, twin Honda BF60HP’s are absolute perfection. A single BF60HP also matches the Panache 1450 like a dream, and the same goes for the BF135 on the Panache 1750, and a BF150 or BF200 for the Panache 1950.
Panache 1450 powered by a Honda BF60HP
The sale of pre-owned boats is also important to us in these tough economic times and whereas our upcountry customers (with holiday houses here) can easily afford to buy new, the locals largely are content to go for something second-hand, even with a bit of DIY required, just to get onto the water. These include small cabin boats with cathedral-type hulls for river fishing, Scimitars with thumping great, gas-guzzling, two-strokes for the skiing fraternity, and gnarly old ButtCats for the best serious deep sea fishing work.
In what main areas does your Workshop specialize?
We service all Honda outboards, rig new boats and fit equipment, launch and collect from anywhere, clean, repair and carry out general maintenance. What’s more we are also able to repair any type of outboard motors, four or two-stroke. We have large boat storage facilities in a handy location near the Marina, which has proved extremely popular among upcountry customers.
Importantly these days, we manage sea and river worthy inspections on clients’ boats, and provide all the necessary equipment, right down to affixing the registration decals. Customers find this a particularly tedious exercise when they are on leave and trying to have an annual holiday. We also provide boaters with convenient waterside refuelling facilities – crucial these days with so many craft having inboard fuel tanks – from where they can also buy lubricants and refreshments.
Furthermore, we have a large-capacity slipway dolly which can handle craft up to 40 tons. It is thus perfect for the quick, easy and safe removal of any boat out of the water, whether to repair it, clean it or to anti-foul it. This facility also brings us work from the Government, Rhodes University, Lightley’s Houseboats and big craft from Port Elizabeth, St Francis Bay and East London. It is also perfect for cleaning, servicing and anti-fouling the many barges on the river. In recent times the dolly has also ‘saved’ two boats because we were able to get them onto the dolly and out of the water before they sank!
Honda Marine Port Alfred's much used 'Dolly'
We also undertake repair work to trailers and jettys and are also the SA agents for the premium quality US-made, JetDock jetty and docking systems. Among their many advantages are that they have a (limited) lifetime warranty, require no maintenance and are modular for maximum flexibility when it comes to jetty and docking system configurations. They are also non-permanent structures, so if you want to move locations, you simply take your JetDock with you. JetDock drive-on models are becoming very popular, leaving your boat high and dry, out of the water when not in use, but beware of cheap JetDock imitations!
With which Leisure Accessory companies are you involved?
We sell a full range of watersport and boating leisure equipment including OBrien, Fuel and Connelly skis, kneeboards, wakeboards, tubes, ski and tube ropes and Zero life vests. On the fishing front, we have a very busy and fully stocked fishing equipment and bait department. Drop-shot and fresh bait is available as are flies, lures, line, hooks, sinkers and all other fishing requirements. Shimano, Rapala, Daiwa, Berkley and Penn are among the major brand names stocked
With which Navigational Equipment companies are you involved?
Our boat shop is extensively stocked with most marine parts and equipment, from stainless steel split pins, nuts, bolts and other items, through to safety equipment, and boat parts sufficient to keep everyone on the water. We stock both Garmin and Lowrance electronics such as GPS/Fish finders, depth sounders and radar. We find the Icom VHF radios to be most popular as their quality – they are submersible for up to 30 minutes – and reliability is beyond question. For the serious deep sea fishermen we also sell satellite ‘phones, EPIRB systems and life rafts. HMPA is also a South African agent for the US’s West Marine with its unbelievably large range of imported marine and allied goods and equipment.
Do you offer sell Canoes/ Kayaks – if you do then what makes/ types are available?
Being on the river and on the sea, the Eastern Cape is a canoe and kayak paradise as well. We find the Fluid Designs brand most suited to our conditions and we sell the entire range from the one-person Buddy through to the two-person Synergy, with rod holders for fishing or without, for pure fun. We can arrange for the supply of any other brand of kayak or canoe, should the customer require it.
In the case of Customer Emergencies or Problems, do you offer a Call-Out service? How much do you charge?
HMPA offers a 24-hour emergency call out service for either deep sea or for the river.
We also work very closely with the NSRI station in Port Alfred in emergency and problem solving – its soon-to-be-launched new craft will be fitted with two Honda BF225s. The Harbour Master, Keryn van der Walt, also has the Outdoor Focus SuperDuck with new twin Honda BF90s. We work as a co-ordinated unit to assist boaters.
Do you have a specific message for the readers?
All-new Honda BF250 will be available from Honda Marine Port Alfred early in 2012
Our emphasis is on total, one-stop customer convenience, starting from the fact that we are located right in the middle of Port Alfred’s and the Eastern Cape’s boating hub and being open seven days a week. We hate ‘comebacks’ and unhappy customers and therefore sell only superior quality new products and don’t tolerate cheap and nasty items – they bring problems in the long term. Our message to readers is that we find so many people purchase the wrong boat for their purposes, so do proper research when buying a boat package. Carefully consider what the boat is to be mostly used for and go for the best in class for that use. We try to guide customers to think at least three years ahead in terms of their needs on the water. Speak to the experts on the subject, buy only quality and look after your craft and in 10 years you will be able to sell it at a profit.
Honda Marine Port Alfred – Contact Details:
Tel: +27 46 624 1189
Fax: +27 46 624 2791