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Focus Stories

Rothrock Marine & Boatworks

by Kevin Fritz

Featured Photo from Rothrock Marine & Boatworks

With a year-round boating season, it’s no surprise that the Sunshine State consistently ranks number one in the United States for annual boat registrations. Finding a boat is the easy part; the trick is buying a boat from a dealer you can trust.

“We sell boats one way,” says Captain Phillip Rothrock, founder of Rothrock Marine & Boatworks in Sanford. “The right way.”
Since 1996, Rothrock Marine has been serving Central Florida and beyond with boat and outboard motor sales and service, carrying only the finest equipment the industry has to offer and employing only the most skilled technicians.

A native of the Orlando area and an avid boater and fisherman, Phillip found his love for boats during his three tours of duty in the United States Navy. After buying and then selling his own boat, he recognized a need for a better new and used boat dealership in the area and never looked back.

Rothrock Marine features a pristine 10,000-square-foot indoor showroom, with dozens of sparkling, water-worthy vessels protected from the Florida climate. It’s enough to impress even the most experienced boat enthusiast.

What you won’t find at Rothrock Marine, however, are pushy salespeople. In fact, you won’t find salespeople at all. Phillip handles sales himself, his son Justin is the service manager, and Rothrock Marine’s team of technicians is hard at work in the back.

“This isn’t like a car dealership,” says Phillip. “By the time someone comes in here, they have been on a ‘price-and-build’ website. They bring a printout of what they want and they know how much it costs.”

The boating industry encourages shoppers to use the price-and-build sites to avoid being taken by an unscrupulous dealer who might try to sell a boat at an outrageously inflated price to an unsuspecting customer.

“Customers would never come back here if I tried to pull something like that,” says Phillip. “People are smart. I sell a boat to make a living, not to retire on.”

Repeat business, in fact, is paramount to Rothrock Marine’s success. Phillip says boats change hands on average every 32 months and repeat customers make up close to 50 percent of his sales. He also generates a high portion of his business from referrals. Rothrock Marine delivers boats to customers as close as Sanford and as far away as Australia.

“Boat owners are always trading up or trading down,” says Phillip. “I build a customer for life. I see the whole picture, not just selling someone a good boat.”

Rothrock Marine understands its clientele and provides everything a boat owner needs to enjoy life on the water. The company sells four lines of boats – Spyder Flats, Veranda Luxury Pontoons, Sea Born, and Sundance Luxury Skiffs – that consistently rank high in reliability and comfort. Phillip always special-orders his inventory, “tricking them out,” he says to create original and beautiful crafts.

The company also specializes in outboard motor sales and service and has been recognized as a Best in Class provider, a distinction not easily obtained in the industry.

“It is important for us to maintain that ranking,” says Phillip, “and it’s also important to me for my techs to be updated and certified.”

Rothrock Marine is a five-star certified dealer of Yamaha and Suzuki outboard motors and regularly sends its technicians to those company’s sanctioned schools.

“You can’t sell something unless you offer the service,” Phillip says. “And I know if I treat my technicians right, they will treat our customers right.”

But it’s not just the customers Phillip has to worry about. If the customer satisfaction index monitored by Yamaha and Suzuki falls below a certain level, they will remove their products.

 “It keeps dealers honest,” says Phillip. “It holds our feet to the fire.”

Not only can you walk away from Rothrock Marine with a gorgeous boat and trailer and a top-of-the-line outboard motor, if you are looking for something to tow that new toy home, pick up a truck before you leave. As a licensed auto dealer, Phillip sells about 40 trucks a year. He purchases gently used, low mileage Chevys, GMCs, and Nissans at auctions that have never been used for towing to help make his customer’s shopping experience complete, making Rothrock Marine a one-stop-shop in the truest sense of the words.

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