Member Profile: National Marine Suppliers January 23, 2017
BETTER – of a more excellent or effective type or quality.
If there’s one word that describes Dean DuToit’s philosophy in relation to just about everything, it would be, better. Better service, better pricing, better relationships, better community, better health.
As a young man in the early 1980’s, Dean, who was born in South Africa and grew up in Miami, got his start by detailing, painting and varnishing yachts. His first job as a deckhand was aboard a 117’ Benetti motor yacht, Gulfstreamer, and he worked to become a first-mate, and then a captain, improving his skill, knowledge, and understanding of yacht needs along the way, and eventually meeting his wife, Mary, when they by chance worked together on Big Eagle, the Anheuser Busch yacht.
By 1989, his experience working on boats convinced him that there were abuses in supply pricing and there ought to be a better way to support the yachting industry, with a much more cost-effective supply chain, wholesale pricing, improved service, and consistent structure. So, he struck out on his own and opened National Marine Suppliers to offer a better experience to yacht owners, management companies, captains, and crew – including Mary, who carried on yachting as a chief stewardess.
As the industry grew, National Marine Suppliers grew too, from delivering supplies to 80 foot and 100 foot boats, to supplying the needs of 200, 300, and 400 foot mega yachts. After about 10 years, Mary joined Dean and brought her own expertise to the company, assisting in every aspect of the organization. Adjusting to the principles of supply and demand, National Marine Suppliers expanded resources, staff, and without a doubt, its facilities, moving multiple times as it grew until settling at its current 200,000 square foot facility, employing 140 people between its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale and strategic locations at Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Holland, and Italy.
From the beginning, the DuToits’ idea was to provide a better experience, and throughout the years that has included building amazing relationships within an industry that is a melting pot of nationalities, and turning fantastic customers into great friends. That better experience has also involved giving back to the yachting community and the community at-large in a meaningful way. Dean says there is no such thing as “no,” and describes every single day as a new opportunity to pull off a miracle.
For many years, National Marine Suppliers has hosted numerous charitable events, such as its infamous Poker Runs, Golf Tournaments, and Customer Appreciation Parties, and have supported groups like the Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, and Kids in Distress. Dean, Mary, and the entire National Marine Suppliers family are continually striving to give purpose to everything they do. With several personally affected employees, National Marine Suppliers has focused for the past few years on fundraising and supporting breast cancer research, raising more than $250,000 and working with Broward Health to build the mammogram van – impacting the health of 50,000 women and saving lives.
The most important thing for Dean and Mary as they look to the future, is taking care of family; an extended family that consists of their two children, the employees of National Marine Suppliers, the customers from the yachting industry of which they feel so honored and privileged to be a part, and the community we all share. It’s a responsibility they take very seriously as they continue to find ways to make the world a little better.