|East Marine expands to Ao Po Grand Marina|
East Marine is Southeast Asia's largest chandlery with over 10,000 items in stock. It represents and distributes over 100 brands of the finest yacht equipment including AWLGRIP, International Yacht Paint, West System, Epifanes, Aqua Signal, Groco, and much, much more.
Last October, the company expanded its business from its base in Phuket Boat Lagoon opening a new chandlery at Ao Po Grand Marina. The two outlets share similar product lines and the same operating hours (8am- 5pm; closed Sundays), though both have been known to stay open late. With professional staff, service and product knowledge East Marine provides you with quality and assurance.
East Marine offers a full range of services and support with its sister company Precision Shipwright Services. These services include: painting, antifouling, polishing, rigging, carpentry and plumbing by experienced technicians and tradesman. For watersports and toys, East Marine now have a new store, Ao Po Watersports, located 500 metres from Ao Po Grand Marina, next to 7-Eleven. It caters to all watersports activities including kayaking, towable toys, inflatable boats, sliders and more.
East Marine also sells leisure products such as BW waterproof bags (ideal for cameras and PCs), ranging up to 90 litres in bag size. Customers can install or use most of the products they buy from East Marine themselves, but with something like Muir's specialty winches, the Precision Shipwrights crew is mobile and can install them on your boat. Ian Lok, East Marine's Ao Po store manager says, "Our customer service is very important, our customers need advice: on how to use our products, where to use them, and most importantly, what to use. People must use the correct equipment in the right place."
The company has 34 distribution brands in its portfolio (not including direct distribution); they all serve different purposes for either sailing or motor yachts.
AWLGRIP is the company's flagship marine paint and recently East Marine acquired the Awlmix advanced color mixing system that AWLGRIP uses in its factories. Using the unique color code assigned to each custom color, it can now speedily, accurately and easily produce paint on-site to the same consistent high quality that has made AWLGRIP famous.
Randy Repass, the founder of West Marine recently dropped in at East Marine and said it was one of the best and most organized chandleries he had ever seen.
Scott Bradley is the founder of East Marine and its mother company Precision Shipwright Services. A trained shipwright, he started Precision Shipwright services in 1997 in Phuket Boat Lagoon; he had arrived five years earlier, when he came to join his father, who had sailed here. He then bought his father's boat, a 35ft cruising ketch called Gomorrah. In 1993, he used that boat to charter backpackers around to areas like Phi Phi and Krabi basing the boat out of Ao Po and Yacht Haven. He had to go in pubs and bars to get backpackers, they'd break things on board: it wasn't easy. Then in 1994, he took over from Chris Schaefer as the captain of the 75ft motor yacht called Elsa then Romi. It was a big turning point in his life, as it was a really good job, and he would have had to return to Australia if that hadn't materialized.
He used the money he made from running that yacht to start Precision Shipwright Services. Scott was trained to do high quality repair and refit work. His first repair job in Thailand was a tough job on the beach doing osmosis work on three hulls at once on a big trimaran. He started East Marine in 2007. He had been in business for a decade by then and had trained a lot of Thais in boat repair work, who then started their own businesses but they needed products & supplies so starting East Marine seemed like a logical progression.
Scott has invested everything he's earned from the past five years back into the company. Since he started his business, the tax on most leisure marine parts average has gone down from over 20% to 10% on most of the items that he sells, but the cost of freight and insurance is what drives his prices up. Scott says, "We are looking at drop shopping, or shipping directly from the manufacturer to the customer."
Scott recently bought Babe, a Sydney 40, refurbished her with a bright orange and metallic silver design, and renamed her Emagine. The boat has a long history, having won the Transpac as Bull back in 2001. Scott and his crew sailed her in the King's Cop and Royal Langkawi International Regatta and they won the recent Bay Regatta. She really stands out on the race course and turns a lot of heads. Scott is trying to kick-start a Twilight racing series out of Ao Po Grand Marina, which would see races kick off about 4pm, get back before sunset, celebrating with a few drinks afterwards.
Scott sees great potential for the area especially if the revamped Thai Marine Business Association (TMBA) working with the Thai government can make it easier for superyachts and their crews to visit and stay here. But he does say the area desperately needs a proper superyacht haul-out facility.
East Marine is open from 8am-5pm daily but is closed on Sundays: Precision Shipwright is open from 7am-6pm daily but is closed on Sundays. www.eastmarineasia.com