West Marine, Inc. announced that the Company will acquire BoatU.S. retail stores, catalog sales and wholesale operations for $72 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities.

Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatU.S.) will continue to operate its Association which represents the interests of, and offers numerous services to, boaters across the country. In making the announcement, John Edmondson, CEO of West Marine, said, “This acquisition marks a major milestone in the evolution of the boating products industry.”

Edmondson characterized the deal as “a long-term strategic alliance that will enable both West Marine and BoatU.S. to maximize their respective strengths in order to better serve the boating public.” According to Edmondson, “We intend to continue to operate the BoatU.S. stores under the BoatU.S. name. BoatU.S. has an excellent reputation and a loyal customer base. It is our intention to have no disruption in the level of service that their customers have come to expect.”

Richard Schwartz, founder and chairman of BoatU.S., said, “BoatU.S. will now concentrate its resources on developing new programs of value for boat owners to complement the Association’s marine insurance, towing, boat financing, consumer advocacy, and government representation programs.” According to Schwartz, “The market for marine equipment has changed markedly in the past two decades. Marine outlets have become more readily available and West Marine, the largest boating equipment supplier in the world, has proven its ability to deliver quality merchandise at competitive prices while sustaining an impressive growth rate of stores around the country. The time is right for us to partner with West Marine.”