First, I would like to say happy birthday to my middle brother Aaron!!!
Second, West Marine rocks!!!
They are a national chain, so I have been able to buy something in Houston, TX and have it replaced in Newport, RI. I have found their staff to be helpful and the customer service to be impeccable. Even the annual catalogue is invaluable with information.
The only downside is that they tend to be on the higher end with prices. The solution is to figure out what you need and find a cheaper price online. Take a print out of the lower price and West Marine will match it!!!! I do this on most things over $25 and I have saved countless dollars and still get the great benefit of being one of their Gold members.
The only times I do not try and use West Marine is when it comes to my diesel engines (I go directly to a Yanmar dealer to get exactly what I need) or times I can use non-marine grade items (ie – Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, ect). Other than that I am a loyal customer.
Thank you West Marine.