BROKER'S CORNER - Batton down the Hatches

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  • Trade-A-Boat

Steve “Batman” Batton is the larger-than-life driving force behind innovative luxury boat dealer SBM Maritimo Sydney. His team’s success makes a bold statement for those wise enough to listen. So what is it that keeps his customers coming back for more?

BROKER'S CORNER - Batton down the Hatches
<B>BROKER’S CORNER</B> - Batton down the Hatches

Steve Batton and the team at SBM believe in delivering total customer experiences. Obviously boat retailing isn’t all plain sailing anymore and to remain successful they had to step it up a notch.

"We can’t simply look at luxury boating as a standalone thing," Steve is quick to point out. "We’re not competing simply with those in the boating industry, but with every other leisure activity and indulgence. When you look at the other lifestyle purchases our customers are making, from travel to prestige vehicles to luxury homes, the smarter players are delivering a total experience that extends long before and well after the purchase process."

In a previous life, Steve was a trader in the financial world and even today he’s still very much involved in futures, yet from an entirely different perspective.

"Boating has to be considered as one of life’s true adventures," Steve loves to remind his customers. "I am often speaking to individuals who are sitting on their hands waiting for the great stock market recovery, or saving their good times for a rainy day. I like to say to them, ‘live now, make every day count and make the most of what you have because your friends and your family are precious gifts that you won’t have forever’."

What the SBM dealership does do to make every day count is provide customers with the services and the essentials they need to get the most out of their boating.

Rather than pay mere lip service to such disciplines of customer service, Steve Batton has set-up specific divisions within his dealership headed by industry specialists to deliver quality experiences. The SBM team not only assists boat owners with understanding and enjoying their new purchase but actively organises activities to turn a one-time purchase into a lifetime experience.

In a world where a typical luxury boat customer is cashed-up yet time poor, Steve Batton and the crew at SBM Sydney is building a strong customer base. The following activities are a mere appetiser for what’s in store. Best of all, for some of the events you don’t even need to be a current SBM customer or Maritimo owner to
join in.

Ever wanted to master the secrets of today’s sophisticated navigation systems? Perhaps you want to know how to look after your boat’s vital running equipment? The SBM Boating and Service Clinics will answer your most nagging questions, all in a rewarding and relaxed day — even some fishing tips and tricks to help you land the big one.

Experts from Simrad and Raymarine will explain the latest navigation systems and where they can take you, from plotters to sounders and radars. There will even be some fantastic deals presented by major manufacturers, so this could be your perfect opportunity to upgrade and save.

Like to know how to read a synoptic chart? What do those wiggly lines really mean? The Clinic will tell you what to look for and help you pick the best weather patterns for trouble-free cruising, while a general boat-handling tutorial is geared to suit everyone, especially women, to help manoeuvre the pride and joy.


A surprise visit from a master chef will demonstrate recipes for gourmet dishes you can cook when entertaining out on the water. In addition, SBM will be laying on a simple sausage sizzle, made even more special with Barbara’s home-made chutney.

After lunch, head of SBM Service, Jon Dodds, will help demystify boat servicing in this informative clinic. Learn how to maintain the boat on the outside, from practical advice on caring for gelcoat and stainless steel to cleaning a teak deck. Then it’s down to the engineroom to find out how to keep it in tip-top shape, including a section on filter, genset and essential battery maintenance to ensure you’ll get away to a good start every time.

The day concludes with an informal question-and-answer session. The only downside is that numbers are strictly limited, so boaties are advised to email: to become a part of these informative clinics.

The resurgence of the Mustang brand under the wing of Maritimo is a modern-day success story. So the SBM team will be rounding-up a corral full of Mustangs and their owners for the inaugural Mustang Muster. And from what some owners have told us, wild horses couldn’t keep certain owners away from this exciting, first-ever event.

The Muster is open to all Mustang owners, whether it’s one of the new generation built by Maritimo or the previous breed from Mustang Marine. The aim is for a day of fun on Sydney Harbour, including lunch at an idyllic waterfront restaurant where owners can get to know each other. The SBM crew are keen to bring together Mustang owners from far and wide to this fun-focussed event, so register now.

For those who want to venture a little farther, the Jervis Bay Jam will allow owners of all powerboats, not just Maritimos and Mustangs, to enjoy the SBM experience. So as November brings warmer weather and gentler winds to our coastline, the Jervis Bay Jam will let you enjoy spring cruising with a fleet of fellow boating enthusiasts.

The event will also serve as a compulsory warm-up for the Lord Howe trip, providing boat owners greater experience of ocean cruising. By going in convoy, the less-experienced skippers will gain greater confidence in dealing with conditions similar to what they may encounter en route to Lord Howe.

Jervis Bay boasts some of the cleanest waters and whitest sandy beaches on the NSW coastline and is a popular spot for whale watching, fishing, diving, in fact almost every on-water activity.

The event kicks off on Thursday night with Spanish tapas at the restaurant at the SBM marina, allowing boaters to meet their fellow cruisers and enjoy a meal together. Boats leave early the next day to arrive in Jervis Bay around 11.30am that morning. Then once in Jervis Bay, the weekend will bring a mix of wakeboarding, waterskiing and fishing followed by an evening barbecue. This will be a great way to experience the exhilaration of open-water cruising, surrounded by likeminded skippers and their families.

This is destined to be one of the most ambitious and enterprising boating events ever staged by a Sydney boating dealer. The SBM Lord Howe Island rally offers a rare opportunity for the more passionate boaters to undertake what could be the powerboat journey of a lifetime, all with the safety and support of being able to cruise in convoy. Starting boats will cruise first to Port Macquarie and refuel in readiness for the 315nm journey to Lord Howe Island.

The beauty of this journey is that there is no set itinerary, allowing individual owners flexibility in how they join-in and enjoy the event. Once at Lord Howe it is envisaged that most boat owners will want to leave their boats at the island for two to three weeks and fly back to Sydney for work, returning to enjoy the island for a few days before joining in the convoy back home.

Much of the preparation will begin well before the journey, with the Jervis Bay weekend and two boating workshops serving to give skippers some valuable experience with navigation, understanding weather patterns and ocean cruising.

The date and final itinerary is still a work in progress, but what is for sure is that the event promises to be one of the truly great boating adventures. So if the prospect of wind in your face and the lure of the open sea proves too much to bear, better talk to the SBM team about the finer details of joining the party.

Many boat owners want to do even more with their boats, especially if that means helping those less fortunate. So around three years ago, the SBM team did something about it. Teaming-up with Cure Our Kids, the cancer division of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, they came up with Cruise for a Cure.

What it means is that children suffering cancer get to go out for a day aboard some of the city’s finest boats. So for one sunny day in February the boating fraternity gets together to give sick children and their families some much needed R&R on the water.

Leaving from two Sydney locations, Cruise for a Cure has been covered by Channel 9’s Today Show and many other media organisations. The cruise also raises the profile of Cure Our Kids and much-needed funds for cancer research, individuals and corporates having the opportunity to sponsor a boat and provide financial assistance in addition to the fun. In fact the money raised was four times expectations, while more than 30 boats attended the event.

Previous years’ events departed from two ports in Sydney Harbour and Middle Harbour, and had a common destination, the pursuit of fun. This successful theme was evident by the flood of thankyou letters and emails from boat owners and sick children alike.

In 2013, Cruise for a Cure will be in its third year and there’s already a growing list of boat owners keen to lend support. So it’s worth getting in touch with SBM Maritimo Sydney now to get involved. Register now by emailing:

Team SBM in their natural environment (right).

What boating clinic would be complete without a lesson on the finer touches of mud crab preparation (above). Or perhaps snags are more your style (below).

Above and below: Jervis Bay boasts some of the cleanest waters and whitest sandy beaches on the NSW coastline and is a popular spot for whale watching, fishing, diving, in fact almost every on-water activity.

Jervis Bay is just a taste and Lord Howe Island (this photo) is the main course.

If you can help at Cruise for a Cure give Steve a call.

Boat berthing looks more challenging than it is. Steve’s team prove the point.

From Trade-a-Boat Issue 432, Oct-Nov 2012. Story by Helen Heidenriech. Photos: Supplied.


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