HONDA MARINE KNYSNA
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.
Why did you choose Honda in terms of wanting to be a Marine dealer?
It’s probably all my father’s fault because when I was 12 years old he bought me a Honda DAX (ST70) motorbike. We had great fun on this machine and after this I was hooked on Honda. In fact during my early years and being very engineering-orientated, there were two people whom I looked up to as heroes, one was Ferdinand Porsche, the other was Soichiro Honda. Both men did things their own way and at any given time you would find them taking existing engineering boundaries to new levels with exceptional innovation. I particularly liked Soichiro Honda’s policy on perfection and engine tolerances.
Fortunately Honda’s timing to move into SA came at exactly the same time that I’d sold my old business, so it was a no brainer to go and talk to them. I opened up a Honda Power Products shop in Knysna, knowing from the outset that this would be the stepping stone to pursuing my passion of being on the water, and ultimately of setting up a Honda Marine dealership.
How long have you been a Honda Marine dealer?
For five years.
Meet the Team at the Dealership
As the shop has grown, so has the headcount, and as Dave says,“it’s important to have dynamic people in key positions who are passionate, professional and knowledgeable in what they do”. Job titles are felt to be a little over-rated, so at the Knysna shop it works something like this:
BOAT SALES: Rhoodie Barnard now heads this up, with Dave and Derik Meintjes also very much involved.
SERVICE: Newly appointed Craig Caldwell runs the Workshop, ably supported by Fred, Dominique, Sakkie and Lewis.
PARTS & ACCESSORIES: With the setting up and recent launch of the Marine Lifestyle
& Accessories Centre, Dave is very involved here with Kim Muller looking after this aspect of the business on a daily basis.
SKIPPER COURSES/ CERTIFICATES of FITNESS: When not selling boats, Derik Meintjes runs these important areas, allowing the dealership to run as a ‘one-stop shop’ for all your boating needs.
ACCOUNTS: Carien Volschenk is the Accounts Department.
FRONT DESK: Newly appointed Odette Perry looks after the Front Desk, helps to run the overall office and will invariably be the first voice you hear when you phone the shop.
CLEANER: Then there’s Blendina keeping the shop and all the boats clean and tidy at all times, slipping the team some tea and coffee in between.
With what Boat Manufacturers do you have direct tie-ups?
We enjoy a strong personal relationship with Don Jarratt of Austral Marine in Durban who with his comprehensive range of Panache, Benguela and Odyssey boats has become our main supplier. On the inflatable boat side, we have strong ties with Infanta Inflatables in Swellendam who are only a couple of hours down the road from us and as a result can react quickly to our customers’ requirements. When it comes to bigger boats we have the World Cat agency for the Western Cape, as well as the Lee Cat agency for the Garden Route, so all in all we enjoy excellent relationships with a diverse group of boat manufacturers.
What types of Boat Packages are most popular in your area?
In Knysna we are fortunate to have the offshore waters of the Indian Ocean lurking just outside the infamous Knysna Heads, as well as having the calmer inshore tidal waters of the Knysna Estuary/Lagoon. As a result the demand through our Knysna shop covers a broad spectrum of boating options, from bigger Honda twin mount offshore boats such as the Benguela 530 CAT to the Benguela 19 Centre-Console and 5 to 7.6metre RIBs, whereas for inshore waters you’d be looking at smaller Honwave inflatables powered by Honda tiller arm outboards, up to bigger single mount RIBs, as well as the complete range of Panache speed boats starting at 14.5ft right up to 24.5ft.
The options are numerous, so the most important thing is to carefully identify the customer’s application needs and to come up with a boating solution that will best work for him or her.
In what main areas does your Workshop specialize?
We service only Honda outboards, and are able to offer a complete new boat rigging facility in which we take great pride. We can also anti-foul any type of boat, as well as offer both general and more specifically, fibre-glass repairs as and when required.
For all our customers we also put on a Boat Launch and Retrieve (and a full clean and engine flush) service which is charged out at very reasonable rates. We endeavor to assist our customers wherever we can, to ensure that they enjoy hassle-free boating.
With which Leisure Accessory companies are you involved?
With our new Marine Lifestyle & Accessories Centre now up and running, we believe that we can offer our customers one of the best accessories shops in the whole of South Africa. Whatever your boating need, there’s a pretty good chance that we’ll have it in stock.
Specializing in more upmarket watersports equipment, from skis to wakeboards to wetsuits, we also offer a range of life jackets, kayak vests, fenders, anchors, shackles, all types of ropes and of course an array of polarized sunglasses to keep out that glare when you’re 5 miles out to sea bringing in that big one!
On top of our marine activities, we’re also an authorized Honda Power Products dealer offering a full range of Honda Generators, Water Pumps, Lawnmowers, Brushcutters and Engines. Honda Power Products represent the most in demand, best known and highest selling power equipment throughout the World, and with them now being an integral part of our all-new Lifestyle Centre, it adds huge value to what we are already able to offer.
With which Navigational Equipment companies are you involved?
We currently have close ties with both Garmin and Lowrance where their GPS/Fishfinder combos are by far and away the most popular units for our waters. We also sell many of our lagoon-based boats with smaller Fishfinder/Depth Guage units due to the tidal conditions which are ever present.
With Knysna having a strong yachting community, we’ve also equipped several yachts with full-on NMEA compliant systems where all the electronic gauges, transducers and other equipment are all interlinked.
Do you sell Canoes/ Kayaks – if you do then what makes/ types are available?
Our main line of kayaks is fully imported from Wilderness Systems in North Carolina, USA, where innovative designs tuned for performance, premium outfitting, and stunning quality have made these boats among the most acclaimed paddling experiences in the world. From new entrants to seasoned experts, Wilderness Systems kayaks are designed to get you where you want to be, more often –and that’s on the water.
We’ve also just launched a range of SUP’s or Stand-Up-Paddle boards which have become quite the rage down here, particularly for those wanting to take a leisurely paddle in and around nearby Buffalo Bay. We also offer some Perception kayaks together with a range of smaller fibre-glass Whisper boats (made in Cape Town), as well as the full range of Honwave inflatable boats (made by Honda). One way or another, we will find a way to get you on the water!
Do you have a specific message for the readers?
Above all we must remember that we are delivering ‘Pleasure’ to our clients from the moment they walk into the shop, and for as long as they own that Honda powered product, and normally that’s a lifelong experience. We need to understand that it’s ‘Happy Money’ that they’re spending on their families and themselves, so we must try and make the whole experience a happy one from getting them into the right boat for their individual application, to getting the boat to perform at its absolute best and ultimately in delivering a high quality overall boating package. We are dealing with the best boat builders in South Africa, and we’ve chosen these partners carefully. We’re also selling the premier Brand 4 stroke so we are constantly trying to put packages together to match.
Overall we find that the majority of our customers become our friends, a part of the Honda Marine Knysna family, and this is without doubt the most satisfying and pleasurable part of our business.
Honda Marine Knysna – Contact Details: