Best Buy, long known for selling TV’s, Computers and Kitchen appliances entered into the marine electronics business about this time last year, and rumor has it that they’re going to roll out marine electronics services at some new locations around the US early this spring. As I mentioned last year, this initiative all began in Florida and has migrated throughout the gulf states. This year it looks like they may be moving into the Great Lakes area and California as well.
Its important for boaters to realize that Best Buy is really upping the game here. I’ve personally been involved with training of selected members of the Geek Squad (owned now by Best Buy) in the nuances associated with marine electrical systems and electronics. Besides requiring that their techs be certified in marine electrical by the ABYC, Best Buy is also requiring that the techs achieve NMEA (National Marine Electronics Association) certifications as well as proprietary training from the equipment manufacturers. This, mind you is on top of Best Buy’s internal basic electronic technician certification. In short folks, these folks are highly trained individuals. I would add, they take what they do very, very seriously.
Combine all of the above with a flat rate pricing scheme for any installs and the fact that they are selling well known and respected brands like ICOM, Raymarine, KVH, and Garmin and have a national presence and you have an unbeatable combination.
So, now that the holidays are over its time to start thinking about some new electronic gear for the boat. If you live in an area of the country that has a boating population, check out your local Best Buy and see what they can do for you in the area of marine electronics. You may get a very pleasant surprise.