Yacht-Mate Products will host Triton Networking on the first Wednesday in February in Fort Lauderdale. Captains, crew and industry professionals are invited to tour the showroom of the water and air treatment company, enjoy a snack and beverage, and catch up with friends on Feb. 6 from 6-8 p.m. at Yacht-Mate Products, 3200 S. Andrews Ave., No. 105 (33316).
Until then, learn more about Yacht-Mate Products from owner Sandy Hoekstra Handrahan.
Q. So tell us about your company.
Yacht-Mate Products provides state-of-the-art water and air treatment equipment. We have a showroom and warehouse offering everything from simple water filters to small package sewage treatment plants. We sell, service and install all the products we offer.
Our main line is our water softening system, which is an easy and economical way of processing dock water We can outfit any size vessel and can install single- or twin-tank systems and semi- or fully automatic systems in both portable or installed systems.
We are also a dealer for the Spot Zero line of products.
Our total water quality program includes treating water from dockside sources to prevent hard water issues. We do that with our softeners or freshwater reverse osmosis systems from Spot Zero with dockside and installed systems. These systems are membrane-based so they remove all total dissolved solids to less than 10 parts per million. We recommend UV sterilizers or silver ion systems and drinking water systems for cooking and ice. This reduces bottled water storage, cost and waste onboard.
Q. 2019 is your 20th anniversary. Did you ever think you’d be in business 20 years?
Yes, but when the recession hit, we had to scale back and do the things we had to do as a company to make it through hard times. We took the attitude of “we will make it through” with our customer service and great products.
And here we are today. We just hit over $1 million in sales. A special thanks goes to Terri Strauss at BOW for her support, loyalty and true friendship during the economic downturn.
Q. Looking back, can you spot the turning point?
Yes. It was taking on the Ecomar products in 2009. The owner approached me at the Fort Lauderdale boat show with a translator to be his U.S. distributor. They manufacture sewage treatment plants and water makers for all vessels. After a couple years, it really took off.
Now builders such as Christensen and Ocean Alexander incorporate Ecomar in their new builds. Ecomar products are in many other builders on request by clients and many aftermarket installations. They have a small footprint and are easy to operate and maintain.
Q. You always seem to be bringing in new products. What’s new around here?
The latest thing we’re involved with — and we featured it at the Fort Lauderdale show — is FillFast, a pre-filter for freshwater tanks fills, water makers, water softeners, RO systems, and filling spas with metal-free water. It uses Periodic Products’ patented Chelok technology to extract 98 percent of the heavy metals out of dock water. Before this, only a membrane-based system could take out heavy metals.
Periodic has this system for pools and RVs, and I helped him redesign the system to work more efficiently on yachts. We’re now the exclusive distributor for the marine brand of FillFast.
We are now a dealer for Jowa, which has a silver-ion sterilization system that keeps bacteria from growing in freshwater systems without the use of dangerous chemicals and without changing the taste or smell of the water. It has a user-friendly interface and allows multiple modes of operation from manual to fully automatic. Set and forget. Costs for treatment average about 66 cents per 1,000 gallons of water.
Q. And what’s coming in 2019?
Jennifer Jiruska, a well-known colleague in our marine industry, has joined forces with Yacht-Mate Products to help increase our business on a global scale. Look for exciting new products and services for the marine industry from us this year.
Q. Doesn’t it make you crazy that yachts use bottled water?
Yes, but finally, people are catching on. In the last year, I’ve sold a lot more of these types of systems. It’s OK to have bottled water for guests, but not in the crew mess or the galley. Crew can absolutely drink the best, healthiest water onboard with one of our systems. Get off the bottle!
Q. Thanks for using Triton Networking to help celebrate your 20 years in business. What can our guests expect on Feb. 6?
We’ll have music, food and drinks, and some cool giveaways. I just want it to be fun, a big thank you to everybody for supporting us for 20 years. We’re looking forward to the next 20.
All Triton readers are welcome to join us for Triton Networking on Feb. 6 from 6-8 p.m. at 3200 S. Andrews Ave., Suite 105 (33316) to celebrate Yacht-Mate Products’ 20 years in business. No need to RSVP; just bring a smile and some business card. For more information on Yacht-Mate Products, visit www.yachtmate.com.