Saturday, February 18, 2012

West Marine is Nuts...

... but I'm guessing you already suspected as much. 


This, for $89.00...

or this for $13.95. And the Petzel biner is anodized too. Additionally, Whicard missed the UIAA safety memo advising that auto-lock biners not be used in dusty sea coast areas. Must have been busy raising the price.

West Marine must get some really stupid--pardon me, non-climbers and folks with way too much money--customers, at least from time to time. These are nearly identical in design, meet the same same specifications, and use the same materials of construction. In actuality, the Whichard biner ($89.00) is just a common climbing biner with a silly price.

No, I didn't buy it. I have a life-time supply of biners. I was looking for something else (shackle) which they didn't stock. They only stock the very high-end shackles; you have to special order the more reasonably priced ones....

I am so glad a nice hardware store with an emphasis on marine stuff opened in Deale. They don't have everything, but their fastener selection is fantastic, far better than WM. I got out for less than $5.00 (2 small plastic cleats for a lazy-jack modification), which I always feel good about. The hardware store had the rest.


I've got an article on climbing gear for sailing coming out at some point. Marine prices forced the issue:
  • 1" climbing webbing. $0.30/ft vs $2.47/ft.
  • Climbing harnesses, relabeled, both by Petzel. $87.00 vs $245.00.
  • Slings. $7 vs $35, both Spectra.
I could never afford climbing, not priced the boat store way.


  1. I wish we had a local hardware store that put at least a little bit of emphasis on marine stuff. We live in a waterfront community, but the hardware stores haven't scooped up on the opportunity. We're stuck with West Marine, but only shop there when absolutely necessary.

    BTW, I just subscribed to Practical Sailor and looking forward to receiving it!

  2. Yeah, Home Depot and to a slightly lesser extent Lowes are "home improvement centers", not hardware stores. Big boxes of stuff.

    The store in Deale, MD is one of the "Best Deal" chain, which makes the sign into something of a visual pun. They were smart enough to add a marine aisle, boost the SS fastener department, and add to the plumbing in key spots. Not too many hardware stores carry Shields fuel line and sanitary hose!